Mom Theatre Blogger: Celebrating Women in Theatre by Robin Gorman Newman
The League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW), a not-for-profit organization committed to promoting visibility and increasing opportunities for women in the professional theatre, held an event this week in NYC recognizing the talents of five inspiring women: Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Kathleen Chalfant, Sandra A. Daley-Sharif, Rachel Dickstein, and Donyale Werle. The awards were presented at the League’s 2015 Awards Celebration & Big Mingle, emcee’d by Broadway’s Kristine Nielsen (I’m a huge fan), at The Pershing Square Signature Center on 42nd Street (a fabulous space).
Another Broadway gal, Tony-Award winner — Katie Finneran –is serving as Auction Celebrity Chair– for their online shopping for a cause opportunity. The auction runs til end of day March 17 at BiddingforGood.com. Special prizes include tickets to Broadway’s It’s Only a Play (with a backstage visit with Finneran) and a personalized voicemail recording from Hugh Jackman. The auction is open to the public.
The Ruth Morley Design Award was initiated in 1998 in honor of costume designer Ruth Morley, one of the profession’s leading designers for theatre and film who also served on the LPTW Board of Directors. It is given annually to an outstanding female theatre designer in the field of costumes, scenery, lighting, or special effects. This year the award was presented by Anna Louizos to set designer Donyale Werle, 2012 Tony-Award winner for Peter and the Starcatcher.
In April 1999, the LPTW received a bequest from the Lucille Lortel estate to establish a fund which would be given annually to “an aspiring woman in any discipline of theatre who is showing great creative promise and deserves recognition and encouragement.” This year’s award was given to Rachel Dickstein, Artistic Director of Ripe Time by Ellen McLaughlin.
The Lee Reynolds 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. Mary-Mitchell Campbell, one of Broadway’s top music directors and orchestrators, was presented with the award for the work she does with Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP).
The Josephine Abady Award is given in memory of Josephine R. Abady, a stage and artistic director, and leader of the nonprofit theatre movement in the United States. The award is given annually to a woman emerging theatre artist who has created work of cultural diversity. This year’s recipient is Sandra A. Daley-Sharif, Obie Award Winner for 48 Hours in Harlem. She was presented with the award by Dael Orlandersmith.
After the one hour award ceremony, presenters, recipients and attendees partook in a lively BIG MINGLE reception. It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with others in the theatre industry, always a warm, welcoming group — in this instance mostly women — but there were some male supporters in attendance. Being the ardent theatre lover that I am, this was a special evening, and I hope to participate in future League events and would encourage you to do the same.
The League offers a array of membership and support opportunities and activities through the year. Next up is a ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: WRITING PLAY BY, FOR, OR ABOUT WOMEN. Monday, March 23, 6 – 8pm. It is free to members, and $15 for non-members. Light refreshments will be served. It’s being held at TheatreLab, 357 West 36th Street, 3rd Floor. Phone: 1-866-811-4111. Visit http://theatrewomen.org.