NEW YORK CITY: The League of Professional Theatre Women has named Tonya Pinkins the recipient of the 2020 LPTW Rachel Crothers Leadership Award. The award, given to a theatre woman who has distinguished herself in exemplary service and sacrifice for a common cause, will be presented in a virtual ceremony on Dec. 7, 7-9 p.m. ET.
The Rachel Crothers Leadership Award honors the legacy of Crothers, the first female playwright and director to achieve commercial success on Broadway. From 1906 to 1938, Crothers had one play per season produced on Broadway. She also led a group of theatre women in the establishment the American Theatre Wing in 1917, which started as a service organization providing war relief for soldiers in World War I.
“Now in its second year, we are very excited by the opportunity the League has to award a theatre woman on the front lines; one who deploys her gifts and talents to address a national or local issue affecting the quality of life of all Americans,” said co-chairs Yvette Heyliger and Margot Astrachan in a statement.
Pinkins is a Tony, Obie, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Award-winning actor, among other awards and honors. She has appeared in nine Broadway shows, including the original Merrily We Roll Along, Caroline, or Change (Tony nominee), and Jelly’s Last Jam (Tony Award, Best Supporting Actress). In addition to her extensive work in the American theatre, she is a veteran of daytime television, most notably for her role as Livia Frye on All My Children. She has also appeared on a variety of television shows including Gotham, Fear the Walking Dead, Wu Tang-American Saga, and Madam Secretary. Pinkins is also an educator, a motivational speaker, and the author of Get Over Yourself: How to Drop the Drama and Claim the Life You Deserve. Her podcast, You Can’t Say That, can be heard on the Broadway Podcast Network. Pinkins produced, directed, and co-wrote Truth & Reconciliation: Womyn Working It Out! She is currently writing, producing, directing, and starring in a sociopolitical horror film Red Pill.
In addition to Pinkins’s professional achievements, she was selected for the LPTW Rachel Crothers Leadership Award because of her anti-racist work in theatre and her #BlackPerspectivesMatter activism. In a statement, LPTW says, “Throughout her career, Pinkins has been outspoken and unapologetic about the ways in which she feels the American theatre mirrors institutionalized racism. There are many paths to righting the wrongs of the epidemic of racism in our country. Due to the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, Pinkins continues to champion individual action, often at great expense and sacrifice to herself.”
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