President Barack Obama presented National Medals of the Arts, the highest award given to artists by the federal government, in July. Among the recipients in the field of theatre were the Brooklyn Academy of Music; Chicago arts patron Joan Harris; choreographer/dancer Bill T. Jones (pictured, with President Barack Obama); composer John Kander; and Julia Alvarez, many of whose novels (including In the Time of the Butterflies) have been adapted into plays.
Stages Repertory Theatre‘s production of Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man was the biggest winner in the Houston Press of Texas’s third annual Houston Theater Awards in August. The show captured prizes for best play/production, best actor for Shawn Hamilton, best set design for Jodi Bobrovsky, best lighting design for Renee Brode and best director to Seth Gordon. In addition, the Alley Theatre won for best season and Studio 101 won for “best gem of a theatre.”
At a luncheon this month, five designers will receive the Henry Hewes Design Awards for their work on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway shows. The winners—in the respective categories of scenic design, costume, lighting design and notable effects—are Bob Crowley (The Glass Menagerie), Linda Cho (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder), Justin Townsend (Mr. Burns, a post-electric play), and G. Lucas Crane and Keith Skretch (This Was the End).
The New York International Fringe Festival announced the winners of its 2014 Fringe NYC Overall Excellence Awards. Honorees included Absolutely Filthy by Brendan Hunt (winning overall play, acting from Hunt and TheaterMania’s audience favorite); King of Kong by Amber Ruffin, Lauren Van Kurin and David Schmoll (for musicals); and Gary Busey’s Hamlet (for solo performance).
New Dramatists in New York City has announced the new members of the playwright company, who were selected from 504 applicants. The eight writers are Eric Dufault, Matthew Freeman, Aditi Brennan Kapil, Basil Kreimendahl,Matthew Paul Olmos, christopher oscar peña, Lynn Rosen and A. Zell Williams. They will be in residence at New Dramatists through 2021.
John Strand has joined Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., as the company’s resident playwright for its American Voices New Play Institute. He will be at the theatre through June 2015, and his play The Originalist will receive a world premiere at Arena.
Playwright Kimber Lee is the 2014–15 Aetna New Voices Fellow at Hartford Stage in Connecticut. As part of her fellowship, given to playwrights of color, Lee will be working on the commission of a new play, as well as readings, workshops and community development.
The American Circus Educators Association has awarded Master Lu Yi with the Lifetime Achievement in Circus Education Award. Yi is the founding artistic director of the San Francisco School for Circus Arts, now called the Circus Center.
The Public Theatrein Lewiston, Maine, has been named the “best theatre in Maine” by the Maine-based Down East Magazine’s readers’ poll. This is the second year in the row the theatre has won the designation.
Brian Isaac Phillips, producing artistic director of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in Ohio, has been named one of the Forty Under 40 winners from the Cincinnati-based newspaper the Business Courier. The list recognizes community leaders and innovators.