Two Women’s Theater Groups Hold Galas on March 10
On March 10, two New York City women’s theater organizations honored their members with gala award celebrations. At the Mandarin Oriental, the Women’s Project Theater celebrated their 29th Annual Gala Celebration paying tribute to Dorothy Fields. And across town on the same evening, the League of Professional Theatre Women Awards Ceremony was held at the Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center.
"Each year, Women’s Project Theater takes pride in celebrating the extraordinary accomplishments of women from the worlds of entertainment and business," said Julie Crosby, the producing artistic director of Women’s Project Theater.
Presenters David Hyde Pierce and Stanley Zareff gave awards to honored philanthropist and Teddy Share founder Sharon Bush; Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington; and playwright and director Joan Vail Thorne.
The event included a musical tribute to Dorothy Fields, featuring Veanne Cox and Doug Wamble. Fields was a librettist and lyricist who wrote 400 songs and worked on 15 musicals. She is remembered for the words still sung in such standards as "I Can’t Give You Anything But Love," "On the Sunny Side of the Street" and many more.
Past recipients include Joanna Coles, Donna Kalajian Lagani, Sheila Nevins, Charlotte St. Martin, Thia Breen, Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, Mindy Grossman, Bebe Neuwirth, Kathleen Turner, Dame Judi Dench, Gloria Steinem, Tina Brown, Eve Ensler, Whoopi Goldberg, Annie Leibovitz, Estelle Parsons, Laurie Anderson, Suzanne Vega and Joan Osborne. In 1999, the late Gerald Schoenfeld of the Shubert Organization became the first and only male recipient of the award.
Women’s Project was founded in 1978 by Julia Miles to address the significant under-representation of women in the American theater, and has since built a tremendous legacy. Although even today women playwrights and directors severely lack parity in pay and opportunity, the extraordinary women artists who have broken through the glass ceiling have all first crossed the threshold at WP, including Eve Ensler, Lynn Nottage, Maria Irene Fornes, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sarah Ruhl, Paula Vogel, and Anna Deavere Smith, among the many. Throughout its 36-year history, Women’s Project Theater has produced and/or developed more than 600 plays and published 11 anthologies of plays.
The artistic heart of Women’s Project Theater lies in the Lab: a two-year residency program for women playwrights, directors and producers. The Lab provides members with a vital professional network, entrepreneurial and leadership training, rehearsal space, and most significantly, tangible opportunities for the development and production of bold new work for the stage.
Recently acclaimed plays produced by Women’s Project Theater prior to last season include "How the World Began," "Milk Like Sugar," "Freshwater," "Aliens with Extraordinary Skills," and more.
For more information, visit www.wptheater.org
League of Pro Theater Women Hold Gala Early
Across town on the same evening, the women’s theater community came together at The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center for the League of Professional Theatre Women Awards Ceremony, held in March this year, instead of June.
The emcee for the evening was the talented Tamara Tunie, with Audra McDonald on hand to present the Lifetime Achievement award to Zoe Caldwell. Caldwell is an Australian actress who has won four Tony Awards for her Broadway shows, as well as critical acclaim for her movie roles in films like Woody Allen’s "The Purple Rose of Cairo."
The LPTW Awards Celebration and Big Mingle kicked off at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed at 7:15 p.m. by the awards presentation. Music for the evening was curated by Jill DuBoff.
The League’s new event puts awards center stage with a number of other awards, including the Ruth Morley Design Award, presented this year by Gregory Boyd to costume designer Judith Dolan. It is presented annually to the female theatre designer in the field of costumes, scenery, lighting, or special effects in memory of the theatre and film costume designer, and League member, Ruth Morley.
Cynthia P. Schneider presented The Lee Reynolds Award to Bond Street Theatre’s Artistic Director Joanna Sherman.
The award, in memory of producer and League member Lee Reynolds, is given annually to a woman or women active in any aspect of theatre, whose work through the medium of theatre has helped to illuminate the possibilities for social, cultural or political change.
Meiyin Wang, Director of the Devised Theater initiative and Co-Director of the Under the Radar Festival at The Public Theater, took home the Abady Award, presented by Susan Feldman. And The Playwrights Realm Artistic Director Katherine Kovner walked away with the Lucille Lortel Award.
The League of Professional Theatre Women’s Lucille Lortel Award was founded in 2000 with a bequest from Lucille Lortel. The award and accompanying grant is given annually to "an aspiring woman in any discipline of theatre who is showing great creative promise and deserves recognition and encouragement."
And Mary Miko presented a special award to actor, author and League member Sondra Gorney , for her dedication to the values and the mission of the League of Professional Theatre Women.
For more information, visit http://theatrewomen.org