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C-N alumnus sees work nominated for Tony Award

Joseph Robinette

Joseph Robinette

The work of Joseph Robinette, a 1960 graduate of Carson-Newman University, was featured during the June 9 Tony Awards on CBS. Robinette’s adaptation of the film favorite “A Christmas Story” earned him a nomination in the category of “Best Book of a Musical” at this year’s honors. The adaptation was turned into a musical that premiered on Broadway last November and played through the Christmas season.

A musical scene from the production was also part of the award show’s evening entertainment.

“Joe is one of the most creative persons I know,” said retired C-N Professor Dr. John Lee Welton, who became friends with Robinette while both were attending graduate school at Southern Illinois University. “He has done a tremendous service in bringing live theatre to young people. I have been delighted to follow his career over the years since that time and take great pride in his nomination for the Tony Award.”

The Jasper, Georgia, native is the writer or cowriter of 55 plays and musicals. Robinette has seen twelve of his plays translated into foreign languages. His plays have been produced by Lincoln Center, Pittsburgh Playhouse, Barter Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, Goodman Theatre and the BBC, among others. His career has provided him with such opportunities as working with E. B. White on the theatrical version of “Charlotte’s Web,” and with composer Charles Strouse on the musical version.

Earlier this year, Robinette received Carson-Newman’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, which he added to an already impressive honors collection. These include: the Charlotte Chorpenning Cup, the Children’s Theater Foundation of America Medallion Award, and the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award.

He and his wife Helen Marie Seitz have five children.

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