Lee Reynolds served on the League of Professional Theatre Women’s board of directors. She was an award-winning producer and a mentor to and developer of writing talent. The award is given annually to a woman or women active in any aspect of theatre whose work for, in, about, or through the medium of theatre has helped to illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural, or political change.
Recent award recipients include:
LIESL TOMMY (Director) is an award-winning stage director. Her credits include the Broadway and Public Theater productions of Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed starring Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o (Tony Award Nomination for Best Director), Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s Appropriate at the Signature Theatre and Tracey Scott Wilson’s The Good Negro at the Public Theater. World premieres also include: Kid Victory, Party People, A Melancholy Play. Other credits: The Urban Retreat, Les Misérables, Hamlet, A Raisin in the Sun, The Piano Lesson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Ruined. She has worked at DTC, California Shakespeare Theater, Center Stage, Sundance East Africa, among others. Tommy is Associate Director at Berkeley Rep and serves as a Program Associate and Artist Trustee at Sundance Institute Theatre Program. She facilitated the inaugural Sundance East Africa Theatre Director’s Lab. Awards: Obie Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Pioneer of the Arts Award, Lillian Hellman Award, Alan Schneider Award, Susan Stroman Award, an NEA/TCG Directors Grant and NYTW Casting/Directing Fellowship.
Lisa Kron & Jeanine Tesori
Lisa Kron has been writing and performing theater since coming to New York from Michigan in 1984. Her work has been widely produced in New York, regionally, and internationally.
Her plays include the musical Fun Home, a musical written with composer Jeanine Tesori and based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel; The Ver**zon Play, which premiered 2012 Humana Festival; In The Wake which received Lortel and GLAAD Media Award nominations, was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, named a “Best Play of 2010” by TimeOut and Backstage, and was included in the Best Plays Theater Yearbook 2010-2011; Well, which premiered at the Public Theater, was named a “Best Play of 2004” by the New York Times, the Associated Press, the Newark Star Ledger, Backstage, and the Advocate, included in the Best Plays Theater Yearbook of 2003-2004, and moved to Broadway where both she and Jayne Houdyshell received Tony nominations for their performances. 2.5 Minute Ride, which had its New York premiere at the Public Theater, received OBIE, L.A. Drama-Logue, New York Press, and GLAAD Media Awards, and continues to be performed by Lisa and others all over the world; 101 Humiliating Stories, which received a Drama Desk nomination for its PS122 premiere andwas a part of Lincoln Center’s 1993 “Serious Fun!” performance series.
Lisa is a founding member of the legendary OBIE and Bessie Award-winning collaborative theater company The Five Lesbian Brothers whose plays, Oedipus at Palm Springs, Brave Smiles, Brides of the Moon and The Secretaries have all been produced by their theatrical home, New York Theater Workshop, and have been performed widely throughout the country both by the Brothers and by other companies. Their plays are published by T.C.G. in the anthology, “Five Lesbian Brothers/Four Plays” and also by Samuel French.
Lisa has received playwriting fellowships from the Lortel and Guggenheim Foundations, Sundance Theater Lab, the Lark Play Development Center, and the MacDowell Colony, the Cal Arts/Alpert Award, a Helen Merrill Award, and grants from the Creative Capital Foundation and New York Foundation for the Arts. She was a resident playwright at the American Voices New Play Initiative at Arena Stage.
As an actor, Lisa’s professional career as began in 1983 when Michael Kahn chose her as member of the ANTA Company, which toured three plays in rep for a season. Since then she has acted in her own plays and the plays of the Five Lesbian Brothers, and also seen in such productions as the Foundry’s Good Person of Szechwan at LaMama, The Normal Heart at the Public Theater, Spain at M.C.C., and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, at NYTW.
Jeanine Tesori is an American musical theatre composer, arranger, pianist, and conductor. She has been thrice nominated for Tony Awards® for her Broadway scores:Twelfth Night (1998) at Lincoln Center, Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002) at the Marquis, and Caroline, or Change (2004) at the Eugene O’Neill. Her first musical, Violet, produced off-Broadway in 1997, was nominated for seven Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding New Musical and won the Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical, the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical, and a Special Obie Citation for Tesori’s music. In the field of film, she has composed new songs for The Emperor’s New Groove 2: Kronk’s New Groove (2005), Wrestling With Angels (the 2006 documentary about Tony Kushner), Shrek the Third (2007), and three animated Disney DVDs (Mulan II, Lilo and Stitch II, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning). She also wrote the scores for Show Business: The Road to Broadway (2007) and Nights in Rodanthe (2008).
Mary-Mitchell Campbell has conducted and played for Kristin Chenoweth, Carole King, Alicia Keys, and Katy Perry at the Dolby theater in Los Angeles alongside Quincy Jones. As a Broadway Musical Director her credits include: Company (for which she won a Drama Desk Award for Orchestrations); The Addams Family: Carrie; Hello Again ( for which she received a Drama Desk nomination for Orchestrations); In Transit; Sweeney Todd; Road Show; Next to Normal (Second Stage); First Lady Suite; and Sweet Charity (Lincoln Center). In addition to her musical career, Mary-Mitchell is the founder of ASTEP-Artists Striving to End Poverty (www.asteponline.org) and is passionate about arts education and poverty reduction. She has been featured on the television show “Giving,” and was NY1’s New Yorker of the Week for her philanthropic work. She has served on the faculties of NYU, Boston College and Juilliard. She holds degrees from Furman University and North Carolina School of the Arts.
JOANNA SHERMAN, Bond Street Theatre
JOANNA SHERMAN is the Artistic Director of Bond Street Theatre. As director, choreographer, musician and actor, she has participated in company performances and projects globally. The company primarily works in post-war and disadvantaged communities, collaborating with local artists, and working for the benefit of women, children and others through theatre. Current focus areas: Afghanistan, Haiti, Myanmar, Lebanon. Ms. Sherman has directed and taught internationally, and is a frequent speaker and advocate for Theatre for Social Development. Under her directorship, the company received a MacArthur Award for its intercultural programming. She has been an advocate and speaker on the role of the arts in peacebuilding at the United Nations, National Council on Women, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, UN Conference on Women in China, universities, and other forums, and featured on CNN, BBC, NPR, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and published in American Theatre magazine. Ms. Sherman has a BFA from Cooper Union, and an MA in Theatre & International Studies from New York University. Ms. Sherman also plays saxophone with the Shinbone Alley Stilt Band.
Kia Corthron‘s plays, including A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick, Light Raise the Roof, and Breath, Boom, have been produced by Playwrights Horizons, The Play Company, Culture Project, EST Marathon, ATL Humana, New York Theatre Workshop, Minneapolis’ Children’s Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, London’s Royal Court Theatre, Yale Rep, Huntington Theatre, Atlantic Theater Company, New York Stage and Film, Baltimore’s CenterStage, London’s Donmar Warehouse, Goodman Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Hartford Stage, Delaware Theatre Company, American Place Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre and elsewhere. Awards include Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Residency (Italy), Dora Maar Residency (France), MacDowell Colony, Siena Arts Institute Visiting Artist (Italy), McKnight National Residency, Wachtmeister Award, Columbia College/Goodman Theatre Fellowship, MacLean Foundation Award, AT&T OnStage Award, Daryl Roth Creative Spirit Award, Fadiman Award, NEA/TCG, Kennedy Center Fund, New Professional Theatre Award, Callaway Award. She serves on the Council of the Dramatists Guild and is a New Dramatists alumnus.
PearlDamour: The performance making team of Katie Pearl and Lisa D’Amour
An OBIE-award winning collaborative team with a 14-year history of creating work for theaters and non-traditional sites in New York, Austin, Minneapolis, and New Orleans, PearlDamour is known for combining theater with installation to create performances that are intimate, mysterious and often interactive. PearlDamour’s devised body of work is attentive to the performer / audience relationship, and searches for new approaches to narrative through the accumulation of textual, imagistic, physical and architectural elements. PearlDamour’s durational performances include a 24-hour event on the Stone Arch Bridge across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, a 14-hour system of evolving tableaus in a grove of trees on the side of a busy road in Austin, TX designed to be seen by the passing cars, and their performance installation How to Build a Forest, commissioned by and presented at The Kitchen in NYC, during which they assemble and disassemble an entire forest on a stage over the course of an 8-hour work shift. They have made work in abandoned office suites (Bird Eye Blue Print), corporate atriums (LIMO), and forgotten places and private spaces throughout New York City (SLABBER). Their works on stages have been presented by Walker Arts Center, The Kitchen, FuseBox Festival, PS122, HERE Arts Center, the Contemporary Arts Center and Ogden Museum in New Orleans, RISD, Brown University, University of Illinois @ Chicago. PearlDamour has received commissions fromPS122 (Terrible Things) and the Whitney Museum’s Performance on 42nd Series (LIMO), are 2-time winners of the Rockefeller MAP Fund grant, and are 2009 recipients of a Creative Capital Award for the research, development, and production of How to Build a Forest—for which they are receiving this award.
Lynn Nottage is a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and a screenwriter. Her plays have been produced widely in the United States and throughout the world. They include the upcoming Sweat at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, By The Way, Meet Vera Stark (Lily Award, Drama Desk Nomination), Ruined (Pulitzer Prize, OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Audelco, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award), Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Play), Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award), Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Las Meninas, Mud, River, Stone, Por’knockers and POOF!. She is currently developing a new play and multimedia performance installation based on two years of research and interviews conducted in Reading, PA. (w/ Oregon Shakespeare, Arena Stage & Labyrinth Theatre Company). In addition, she is working with composer Ricky Ian Gordon on adapting her play Intimate Apparel into an opera (commissioned by The Met/LCT).
She is the co-founder of the production company, Market Road Films, whose most recent projects include The Notorious Mr. Bout directed by Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin (Premiere/Sundance 2014), First to Fall directed by Rachel Beth Anderson (Premiere/ IDFA, 2013) and Remote Control (Premiere/Busan 2013- New Currents Award) Over the years, she has developed original projects for HBO, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Showtime, This is That and Harpo.
Nottage is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship, Steinberg “Mimi” Distinguished Playwright Award, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize, Lilly Award, Helen Hayes Award, the Lee Reynolds Award, and the Jewish World Watch iWitness Award. Her other honors include the National Black Theatre Fest’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, a Guggenheim Grant, PEN/Laura Pels Award, Lucille Lortel Fellowship and Visiting Research Fellowship at Princeton University. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, where she has been a faculty member since 2001. She is also an Associate Professor in the Theatre Department at Columbia School of the Arts.
Nottage is a board member for Theatre Communications Group, BRIC Arts Media Bklyn, Donor Direct Action, Second Stage, The New Black Fest, and the Dramatists Guild. She recently completed a three-year term as an Artist Trustee on the Board of the Sundance Institute.
Caridad Svich received a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and NNPN rolling world premiere for Guapa, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based on the Isabel Allende novel. She has won the National Latino Playwriting Award (sponsored by Arizona Theatre Company) twice, including in the year 2013 for her play cSpark. She has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama four times, including in the year 2012 for her playMagnificent Waste. Her works in English and Spanish have been seen at venues across the US and abroad, among them San Diego Repertory Theatre, Gala Hispanic Theatre, Denver Center Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, 59E59, The Women’s Project, Repertorio Espanol, Salvage Vanguard, Teatro Mori (Chile), Artheater-Cologne (Germany), Ilkhom Theater (Uzbekistan), and Edinburgh Fringe Festival/UK. Recent premieres include The Hour of All Thingsat Ensemble Studio Theatre/NY under William Carden’s direction; Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (based on the Mario Vargas Llosa novel) at Repertorio Espanol in New York City, In the Time of the Butterflies (based on Julia Alvarez’ novel) at San Diego Rep; JARMAN (all this maddening beauty) at Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington D.C., and Upon the Fragile Shore at Summerworks Festival in Toronto, Canada.
Among her key works are 12 Ophelias, Any Place But Here, Alchemy of Desire/Dead-Man’s Blues, and Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell That Was Once Her Heart (a rave fable). Seven of her plays are published inInstructions for Breathing and Other Plays (Seagull Books and University of Chicago Press, 2014). Five of her plays radically re-imagining ancient Greek tragedies are published in Blasted Heavens (Eyecorner Press, University of Denmark, 2012). Her works are also published by TCG, Broadway Play Publishing, Manchester University Press, Playscripts, Arte Publico Press, Smith & Kraus, Alexander Street Press, StageReads and more. Among her awards/recognitions are: Harvard University Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship TCG/Pew Charitable Trusts National Theater Artist Residency at INTAR, NEA/TCG Playwriting Residency at the Mark Taper Theatre Forum Latino Theatre Initiative.
She has edited several book on theatre including Innovation in Five Acts (TCG, 2015), Out of Silence: Censorship in Theatre & Performance (Eyecorner Press, 2014) and Trans-Global Readings: Crossing Theatrical Boundaries(Manchester University Press, 2004). She sustains a parallel career as a theatrical translator, chiefly of the dramatic work of Federico Garcia Lorca as well as works by Calderon de la Barca, Lope de Vega, Julio Cortazar, Victor Rascon Banda, Antonio Buero Vallejo and contemporary works from Mexico, Cuba and Spain.
She is alumna playwright of New Dramatists, Drama Editor of Asymptote literary journal, associate editor of Contemporary Theatre Review (Routledge,UK), contributing editor of TheatreForum, and founder of NoPassport theatre alliance and press (www.nopassport.org), which recently published Todd London’s collection of essays The Importance of Staying Earnest. She is a Lifetime Member of EST, and is on the advisory board for the US-Mexico Exchange at the Lark Play Development Center in New York City. She holds an MFA n Playwriting from UCSD.
Mia Katigbak is a founding director of CAATA and chaired its Strategic Planning Committee. She was one of the organizers of the 1st and 2nd National Asian American Theater Festivals in 2007 and 2009.
Having acted extensively in New York City with Ma-Yi, Target Margin, Intar, New York Theatre Workshop, the Public Theater, Women’s Project, Pan Asian Rep, New Federal Theater, Henry Street Settlement, and in several productions with NAATCO, it is not hard to imagine that she’d be presented with the LPTW Lucille Lortel Award and accompanying grant. In April 1999, the LPTW received a bequest from the Lucille Lortel estate to establish a fund, which would annually provide a grant to an aspiring woman in any discipline of theatre who demonstrates creative promise and deserves recognition and encouragement. This not-for- profit organization, “committed to promoting visibility and increasing opportunities for women in the professional theatre,” gets it right!
The mission of NAATCO is to develop an Asian-American audience and encourage Asian-Americans to become a significant part of the diverse audience in American theatre and to cultivate an appreciation of Asian-American contributions to the theatre arts in America today.
In efforts to reflect the face of America today, NAATCO performs European and American classical and contemporary works, as written, the goal is not to force the face of Asians.
Since the 1970s, fearless conceptual artist Karen Finley has been foregrounding taboo issues surrounding sexuality, violence, celebrity, and the positioning of women in society in her no-holds-barred work. Known primarily for her searing performances, she also works in a range of other media, including music, writing, painting, and installation, choosing the method best suited to her ideas. Among the most famous of her many career-defining moments was her involvement in a lawsuit against the NEA, whose “decency clause” was invoked to cut funding of her work in 1990. Her projects, from subversively raunchy punk music rants to a public exploration that paired “sexting” with art consumption, provoke controversy and dialogue. For Finley, that means she is doing her job right: “I think that what the artist does is to subvert a thinking, to offer a different perspective,” she says.
Gigi Bolt is a theatre and musical theatre program and philanthropy consultant. The Director of Theater and Musical Theater at the National Endowment for the Arts from 1995 till 2006, Ms. Bolt advised the agency on policy, was responsible for the review of applications from theatres and musical theatres across the country, and created or worked with discipline-based initiatives including the NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights, the NEA/TCG Career Development Programs for Directors and Designers, Shakespeare in American Communities, American Masterpieces Musical Theatre, and the NEA/USC Theatre Arts Journalism Institute. In 2006-2007 she served as Interim Executive Director of Theatre Communications Group. Prior to joining the Endowment she was the Director of the Theater Program at the New York State Council on the Arts. Her tenure at the Council was preceded by work as an actor including five seasons as a member of the company of the Cleveland Play House. Recent projects include work with NAMT’s National Fund for New Musicals and administration of the Wasserstein Prize for TDF and EFA. She has served on the boards of TCG and the American Arts Alliance and serves currently on the board of the SITI Company, the William Inge Festival Foundation, the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat Sounding Board, the University of Kansas Theatre Advisory Board and Ford’s Theatre’s Advisory Council.
Marcia Salvatore is the past director of the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative (PTI), a program of the Pew Charitable Trusts designed to support artistic development within Philadelphia-area nonprofit professional theatres. Prior experience includes that of Director of the Theatre and Literature Programs of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and Executive Director of Theatre Association of Pennsylvania. Before becoming a full-time administrator, Marcia worked as an actor and director with professional, university, and community theatres throughout the country and as a teacher in English, speech and theatre departments on the secondary, college, and university levels. She strives to serve some small role in the fostering, promoting, nurturing, and developing of theatre of the highest quality.
Gretchen Cryer & Nancy Ford
Gretchen Cryer was born in Dunreith, Indiana, and attended DePauw University as an English major. In one of her music classes, she met Nancy Ford, and the two forged a friendship that eventually lead to a number of professional collaborations as the only female composer-lyricist team in New York theater. Their first work, For Reasons of Loyalty, produced by Boston University, was written while the two were graduate students at Yale University.
Their first professional New York production was Now Is the Time For All Good Men (1967), a highly political piece about Gretchen’s pacifist brother that was panned by the critics. Undaunted, they mountedThe Last Sweet Days of Isaac – with Austin Pendleton and Alice Playten – in 1970, winning not only rave reviews, but the Obie, Drama Desk and Outer Circle Awards as well. From there they moved to Broadway.
Cryer and Ford’s most notable success was I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road(1978), based on Cryer’s life experiences. Gretchen not only co-wrote the piece, but performed in it as well. Producer Joseph Papp moved it from his Public Theater in lower Manhattan uptown to the Circle on the Square theater, where it ran for three years.
Gretchen’s additional work as a performer included roles in Little Me (1962), 110 in the Shade (1963) and1776 (1969). A musical adaptation of Anne of Green Gables written by Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford opened in March 2007 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in NYC, and a national tour began in September 2007.
Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford’s musical, Einstein and the Roosevelts, premiered at DePauw University in October 2008. Einstein and the Roosevelts was performed at Denison University in November 2011 while Gretchen was the Jonathan R. Reynolds Playwright-in-Residence at Denison.
Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford’s latest musical, Still Getting My Act Together, premiered at the York Theatre in New York City in June 2011.
Dorothy Olim has lectured around the country on the subjects of “How to produce Off-Broadway” and “economics of the theatrical industry.” She is a former president and current board member if the League of Advertising Agencies, of which her agency, Krone-Olim Advertising, Inc., is a member.
Tisa Chang is a Chinese American actress and theatre director from Chongqing. Her father was a diplomat and her family moved to New York City when she was a child. Chang was interested in theatre and decided to study acting at the High School of Performing Arts and at Barnard College. Soon afterwards she started her career as an actor performing in Broadway plays and musicals, including Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen and The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. She also appeared in a few films such as Ambush Bay and Greetings.
Chang turned to directing theatre in 1973, when she began working at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. With money earned from her Broadway acting she established the theatre group Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in 1977, with the intention to make Asian American theater more popular and to open up for Asian Americans actors to find non-stereotypical roles. Chang has received several awards for her work, including a Theatre World Special Award in 1988. She remains active as artistic director with Pan Asian as of today.
Estelle Parsons is an American stage, film and television actress, Today Showtelevision series host, and stage director.
After studying law, Parsons became a singer before deciding to pursue a career in acting. She worked for the television program Today and made her stage debut in 1961. During the 1960s, Parsons established her career on Broadway before progressing to film. She received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Blanche Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), and was also nominated for her work in Rachel, Rachel (1968).
She worked extensively in film and theatre during the 1970s and later directed several Broadway productions. More recently her television work included playing Beverly Harris on the sitcom Roseanne. She has been nominated five times for the Tony Award (four times for Lead Actress of a Play and once for Featured Actress). In 2004, Parsons was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
Phyllis Newman is a Tony Award-winning actress, a director, a writer and truly a Broadway baby. In June 2009 she received her second Tony Award, the newly created Isabelle Stevenson Award for creating the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative of the Actor’s Fund in 1996.
She got her start in show business at 4 years old imitating Carmen Miranda in theatres and clubs. It was her electrifying portrayal of Martha Vail in the Jule Styne/Comden and Green musical Subways Are For Sleeping – costumed only in a bath towel – that earned her a Tony Award.
Additionally, she appeared on Broadway in Bells Are Ringing, The Apple Tree, On the Town, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Awake and Sing, and her one-woman musical The Madwoman of Central Park West, which she co-authored with Arthur Laurents. She garnered a Tony Award nomination for her highly-acclaimed performance in Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound.
While Newman is best known for her work in the theatre, her impressive career doesn’t end at the footlights. Her television credits capture the history of the medium itself, ranging from Playhouse 90, in the days of live television theatre, and appearances on the legendary Ed Sullivan Show, to serving as the first woman to host The Johnny Carson Show. She has worked extensively in TV – starring opposite Alan Arkin in 100 Centre Street, Oz; Murder, She Wrote; thirtysomething and The Jury.
Her films include The Human Stain, It Had To Be You, For the Time Being, Fish in the Bathtub, A Price Above Rubies, The Beautician and the Beast, Only You, Mannequin, To Find a Man, Bye Bye Braverman, and Picnic.
Her own experience with breast cancer inspired her to raise awareness of women’s health issues and needs in the entertainment industry, and in 1996 she launched The Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative. Since 1996, The Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative has disbursed millions of dollars to women in need. The group also sponsors health fairs and runs support groups.
Marlo Thomas is best remembered for her starring roles in television hits like That Girl and Free to Be…You and Me. She serves as the national outreach director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which was founded by her father, Danny Thomas.
In 1974 she made her Broadway debut in the Herb Gardner playThieves, appearing in the film version in 1977. She made another Broadway turn in the 1986 domestic comedy Social Security, directed by Mike Nichols and co-starring Olympia Dukakis and Ron Silver, and later appeared in the one-act play George Is Dead (2011).
Thomas continued to make occasional screen appearances throughout the ’70s and ’80s. She won another Emmy in 1986 for Nobody’s Child. In the TV film, Thomas portrayed real-life figure Marie Balter, an institutionalized woman who was able to find her way to sanity and a healthy life. The esteemed Thomas won another Emmy for 1989’s Free to Be… a Family, which revisited themes of the 1974 Free to Be program and specifically forged social links with the children of Russia.
From the ’90s into the new millennium, Thomas appeared as a guest star on shows like Roseanne, Frasier, Law & Order: SVU and Ugly Betty. She also received yet another Emmy nomination for her role as the mother of Rachel Green in the hit sitcom Friends.
In 2010, Thomas launched the AOL/General Mills online program Mondays With Marlo.
Beyond her Emmys and Golden Globe, Thomas has earned a Peabody and a Grammy and was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. For her activism, Thomas has received an array of honors, including the Helen Caldicott Award for Nuclear Disarmament, the American Women in Radio and Television Satellite Award and the William Kunstler Racial Justice Award.
Emily Mann has overseen 150+ productions in her 26 seasons as McCarter’s multi-award winning Artistic Director and Resident Playwright. Recent productions directed: Five Mile Lake; Antony & Cleopatra; Proof; A Delicate Balance. Recently directed world premieres: The Convert; The How and the Why; Miss Witherspoon; Me, Myself & I. Broadway productions: A Streetcar Named Desire; Anna in the Tropics; Execution of Justice; Having Our Say. Her plays: Having Our Say, adapted from the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth; Execution of Justice; Still Life; Annulla, An Autobiography; Greensboro (A Requiem); Meshugah; Mrs. Packard. Adaptations: Scenes from a Marriage; Uncle Vanya; The Cherry Orchard; A Seagull in the Hamptons; The House of Bernarda Alba; Antigone. Awarded a Princeton University Honorary Doctorate of Arts; 2015 Helen Merrill Distinguished Playwrights’ Award; and 2015 Margo Jones Award given to a “citizen-of-the-theatre who has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to the encouragement of the living theatre everywhere”.
Lynne Meadow & Anne Hamburger
Lynne Meadow has been Artistic Director of Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) since 1972, where she has been responsible for directing and/or producing over 450 New York and world premieres. Lynne has brought MTC to the forefront of American stage and created one of the nation’s most acclaimed not-for-profit theatres.
Plays developed at MTC under her leadership include Love! Valour! Compassion! (with Nathan Lane), Putting It Together (with Julie Andrews), Sylvia (with Sarah Jessica Parker and Blythe Danner), Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Crimes of the Heart, Pretty Fire, Fuddy Meers, The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Proof (with Mary Louise-Parker) and Doubt. Other New York and world premieres include The Miss Firecracker Contest (with Holly Hunter), Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (with Kathy Bates), Playland (with Kevin Spacey), Other Places (with Dianne Wiest), Rabbit Hole (with Cynthia Nixon), Blackbird (with Jeff Daniels) and plays by Arthur Miller, Marsha Norman, Simon Gray, Lee Blessing, Sybille Pearson, and Israel Horowitz.
Lynne’s directing credits include Amanda Peet’s The Commons of Pensacola, Richard Greenberg’s The Assembled Parties and Our Mother’s Brief Affair, Margaret Edson’s Wit, Donald Margulies’ Collected Stories, the 2001 Tony Award-nominated production of The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife on Broadway (starring Linda Lavin, Michele Lee, and Tony Roberts) at MTC and the U.S. national tour (with Valerie Harper), the Broadway production of A Small Family Business (with Brian Murray); Donald Margulies’ The Loman Family Picnic, and the Obie Award-winning Ashes by David Rudkin, as well as productions for The New York Shakespeare Festival, the Spoleto Festival and the O’Neill Theatre Center. She has twice been nominated for best director at the Drama Desk Awards: in 1996 for Leslie Ayvazian’s Nine Armenians and in 1988 for Alan Ayckbourn’s Woman in Mind with Stockard Channing.
Among Lynne’s other directing credits during her tenure at MTC are Melissa Ross’ Off Good Stock, Charles Busch’s Our Leading Lady, David Greig’s The American Pilot, Neil Simon’s Rose’s Dilemma (with Mary Tyler Moore), Ron Hutchinson’s Moonlight and Magnolias, Three Sisters (with Dianne Weist, Sam Waterston, Christine Ebersole and Jeff Daniels), Golden Boy, Marsha Norman’s Last Dance, David Edgar’s The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs, Principia Scriptoriae, The Wager, Absent Friends with Gillian Anderson and Brenda Blethyn, The Pokey, Eleemosynary, Vikings, Bits and Pieces, Blur (with Polly Draper), Biography (with Piper Laurie), Park Your Car in Harvard Yard (with Ellen Burstyn and Burgess Meredith), Captain’s Courageous (with Treat Williams), Artichoke (with Amanda Plummer), Catsplay (which transferred to the Promenade Theatre), Chez Nous, Simon Gray’s Close of Play and Sally and Marsha (with Christine Baranski and Bernadette Peters).
Lynne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, where she served on the Board of Trustees. She attended the Yale School of Drama and was named to a Herbert Brudkin Fellow. She has taught at Circle in the Square Theatre School, Stony Brook University, Yale University, Fordham University and New York University.
She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lee Reynolds Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women, the Manhattan Award from Manhattan Magazine, the Person of the Year from National Theatre Conference, the Margo Jones Award, the 2003 Mr. Abbott Award, the 2011 Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2011 Lily Award for Lifetime Achievement, The Louis Auchincloss Prize, and is a 2013 Theatre Hall of Fame Inductee.
Anne Hamburger is a serial cultural entrepreneur and the Founder and Executive Producer of En Garde Arts, founded in 1985. At the center of everything she does is bringing people together not normally in conversation and providing opportunities to reach the uninitiated. En Garde creates multi-media, documentary theatre, site-specific theatre and immersive work. Hamburger has a 360 degree approach to producing shows where content, form, place and community and audience are all interwoven into the producing process. Her specialty is putting together artistic and production teams and developing shows from the ground up with some of the theatre’s most esteemed writers, directors, composers and designers. A description of current projects under development can be found on her web page www.Engardearts.org.
She was Executive Vice President of Walt Disney Creative Entertainment from 2000–2008, the global organization which was founded with her arrival to the Disney Company. She spearheaded the creative development of all the major stage shows, parades and daytime and nighttime spectacles for all the parks worldwide. She brought a whole host of well-known theatrical artists into the theme parks for the first time in Disney history, creating Broadway caliber productions around the world including Diane Paulus (“Hair”, “Porgy and Bess”); Robert Lopez (“Avenue Q”, “The Book of Mormon”); Eric Schaffer (“Million Dollar Quartet”). Her production of “Aladdin” directed by Francesca Zambello recently celebrated its 10,000th performance in the 2,000 seat Hyperion Theatre in California.
Prior to joining The Walt Disney Company, Hamburger was the Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse in 1999–2000. Thoroughly Modern Millie the musical began production under her tenure and later transferred to Broadway and won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2002. She also was one of the original producers for the Tony Award winning Spring Awakening, giving the creative team their first workshop in 2000.
Called “an invigorating urban presence” by The New York Times, En Garde Arts is the recipient of six Obie Awards, two Drama Desk Awards and a special Outer Critics Circle Award. Hamburger was recognized with the Edwin Booth and Lee Reynolds Awards for the impressive body of her work. She graduated with an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
Betty L. Corwin
Betty L. Corwin was the founder and former director of the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT) at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, foremost collection of live theatre performances in the world. Previously script reader and production assistant to theatre producers and ASCAP lyricist. She has addressed and made video presentations about TOFT to education and theatre groups in the U.S. and abroad. In 1998, 1999 and 2001 was a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes for Drama, for several years was a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee and is currently a judge for the Clarence Derwent Award, the St. Clair Bayfield award, the Joe A. Callaway Award and the Richard Seff Award. Has been honored with an Obie Award (1993), a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of New York (1993), awards from the Drama Desk (1998), The Villager (1982), Women in Communications (1984), the Broadway Theatre Institute (1996) and the Westport, Connecticut Arts Center for Lifetime Achievement (2001).
Ruby Dee grew up in Harlem and joined the American Negro Theatre in 1941. She is well known for collaborations with her husband, actor Ossie Davis. Dee’s film career spans a generation and includes 1950’s The Jackie Robinson Story, 1961’s A Raisin in the Sun and 1988’s Do the Right Thing. In 2008, Dee received her first Oscar nomination for playing Mama Lucas in the hit film American Gangster.
Around this time, Dee joined forces with her husband to appear in the playPurlie Victorious. Davis wrote this southern comedy and he and Dee co-starred in it together. The pair reprised their roles for the 1963 film adaptation. Over the years, the couple worked on a number of projects together. They were also very active in the Civil Rights Movement, participating in marches and speaking out for racial equality. Both Dee and Davis were friends of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
In 1968, Dee worked behind the scenes, co-writing the screenplay for Up Tight!. She also starred in this drama. On the small screen, Dee appeared on the popular primetime soap opera Peyton Place, and later had her own series on public television with her husband: With Ossie & Ruby.
Through the 1970s and ’80s, Dee gave a number of stellar performances. She picked up Drama Desk and Obie awards for the 1970 play Boesman and Lena, and an Emmy Award nomination for her role in the 1979 miniseries Roots: The Next Generation. That same year, Dee starred in a family theatrical effort. She wrote the book and lyrics for the musical Take It from the Top!, for which her son, Guy, composed the music. Her husband directed the production.
In the early 1980s, Dee starred as author Zora Neale Hurston in the play Zora Is My Name, which later aired on PBS. She and her husband both won positive notices for their work with director Spike Lee on his film Do the Right Thing (1989). In 1991, Dee won an Emmy Award for her work on the television movie Decoration Day.
In 1998, Dee and her husband published With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together, a look at their life experiences during their 50 years of marriage. The book received warm reviews for its humor and candor. Dee also wrote and performed the one-woman show My One Good Nerve around this time.
Dee suffered a tremendous loss in 2005, when her husband, Ossie Davis, died unexpectedly. That same year, Dee and Davis won a Grammy Award (best spoken word album) for the audio version of With Ossie and Ruby.
On June 11, 2014, Dee died of natural causes at her home in New Rochelle, New York, at the age of 91.
Zelda Fichandler was an American stage producer, director and educator.
At age 4, she moved from Boston area to Washington D.C. as her father accepted a job at the National Bureau of Standards. Aged 8, she performed as Helga in Helga and the White Peacock at the Rose Robison Cowen’s Studio for Children’s Theatre.
Zelda Diamond’s husband, Thomas C. Fichandler, along with Edward Mangum, a statistician and economist, was a cofounder of the Arena Stage theatre in 1950 in Washington, the city’s first integrated theater, in a tiny former art-film cinema. As audiences grew, the theatre moved to “The Old Vat Theatre” which the company created in an abandoned distillery on the Potomac riverside. The Fichandlers were able to build a new theatre complex. Zelda served as Arena’s artistic director from the theatre’s inception until her retirement at the end of the 1990-91 season. During that time, Arena Stage became known as one of America’s premier regional theatres. Under her leadership, the Arena won the first regional Tony award in 1976, became the first American theatre to tour the USSR (1973), as well as the first regional theatre to transfer a show to Broadway.
Fichandler directed numerous plays at Arena Stage including Death of a Salesman, Uncle Vanya, A Doll’s House and Six Characters in Search of an Author. Several of her Arena Stage productions toured internationally, including Inherit the Wind and The Crucible.
From 1984 until 2009 Fichandler was chair of the graduate acting program and Master Teacher of Acting and Directing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. From 1991-94, she was artistic director of The Acting Company.
Her honors and awards include the Common Wealth Award for distinguished service in the dramatic arts (1985); the Helen Hayes Award for directing The Crucible (1988); and the National Medal of Arts in 1996. She was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1999, the first artistic leader outside of New York to be so honored.
Fichandler died in her home on July 29, 2016, in Washington, D.C., due to complications from congestive heart failure. She was 91 years old.
Joanne Woodward is an American actress who made her first TV appearance in 1952 and worked in theatre, where she met future husband, Paul Newman. Woodward won a Best Actress Academy Award for The Three Faces of Eve (1957), and then co-starred with her husband in a string of films over the next few decades. Emmy Awards wins included See How She Runs (1978) and Do You Remember Love? (1985). Woodward continued to collaborate with Paul Newman until his death in 2008.
In recent years, Joanne Woodward focused most of her attention on the stage work, performing and directing plays. She has served as the artistic director at the Westport Country Playhouse. Woodward also works closely with Newman’s Own and The in the Wall Gang Camp, which is for children with terminal or serious illnesses.