NEW YORK: Baayork Lee has received the 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award, presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation. The award will be presented at the Eastern Regional Membership Meeting of Actors’ Equity on Friday, October 10, 2014 at 2 p.m.
A native of New York City, Lee is an Asian-American actor, dancer, singer, choreographer, director and author. During her career, Lee has striven to create more diverse representation on American stages, and taken on the task of creating more opportunities for Asian-American performers to play roles they might not otherwise be considered for, by establishing the National Asian Artists Project in 2009 with Steven Eng and Nina Zoie.
She also originated the role of Connie in Michael Bennett’s original production of A Chorus Line in 1975 and supervised all major productions of the musical, including choreographing 35 international productions and the 2006 Broadway revival. She also authored the book On the Line: The Creation of A Chorus Line.
The Paul Robeson Citation Award was created in 1971. According to a press release, the award “honors individuals or organizations that best exemplify and practice the principles to which Mr. Robeson devoted his life: dedication to the universal brotherhood of all humankind, commitment to the freedom of conscience and of expression, belief in the artist’s responsibility to society, respect for the dignity of the individual and concern for and service to all humans of any race or nationality.”
Lee now joins a long line of previous recipients of the Robeson Award, including Ruby Dee, Pete Seeger, Harry Belafonte, Lena Horne, Joe Papp, Maya Angelou, Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier, among others.
The Actors’ Equity Foundation, a philanthropic and humanitarian nonprofit organization, was created in 1962 to aid and assist the members of the acting profession and to promote the theatre arts. It is separate from the Actors’ Equity Association.