ADV – Leaderboard

Lortel Special Awards, artEquity BIPOC Leadership Circle, InterAct’s Philly Cycle

A roundup of prizes, fellowships, and other recognitions.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Ars Nova, and Dominique Morisseau.

NEW YORK CITY: The 39th annual Lucille Lortel Awards ceremony will take place Sun., May 5 at 7 p.m. at NYU Skirball. Tickets will be available for purchase starting April 4. Produced by the Off-Broadway League and the Lucille Lortel Theatre, with additional support provided by TDF, the awards recognize outstanding achievement Off-Broadway and serve as a benefit for the Entertainment Community Fund.

In this year’s special awards category, Ruben Santiago-Hudson will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, Dominique Morisseau will be inducted onto the Playwrights’ Sidewalk, and Ars Nova will be recognized for their Outstanding Body of Work.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson is an actor, director, and writer whose career spans stage, television, and film. His Broadway directing credits include Jitney, Skeleton Crew, and his own Lackawanna Blues. He has also directed at many Off-Broadway and regional theatres. His screenplay for Lackawanna Blues garnered numerous awards including the Humanitas Prize, National Board of Reviews, NAACP Image Award, the Christopher Award, and nominations for an Emmy, Golden Globe, and WGA Award for best adapted screenplay. He most recently adapted August Wilson’s award-winning Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for Netflix. His acting credits include Broadway’s Jelly’s Last Jam, Seven Guitars, Gem Of The Ocean, Lackawanna Blues, and Stick Fly.

Dominique Morisseau is the author of the Detroit Project (a 3-Play Cycle): Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company/Broadway), Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre), and Detroit ’67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, and NBT). Her other plays include: Confederates (Signature Theatre), Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theatre/Signature Theatre), Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre), and Follow Me to Nellie’s (Premiere Stages). Her Broadway production of Skeleton Crew (Manhattan Theatre Club) was nominated for a Best Play Tony, and she is also the Tony-nominated book writer on the Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Imperial Theatre). She has served as co-producer on the Showtime series Shameless. She’s currently developing projects with Netflix and Maceo-Lyn, and wrote the film adaptation of the documentary STEP for Fox Searchlight.

Ars Nova is an Off-Broadway nonprofit theatre company based in Hell’s Kitchen. The company seeks to discover, develop, and launch singular theatre, music, and comedy artists in the early stages of their professional careers. Ars Nova’s programming ranges from one-night discovery performances to world premiere Off-Broadway productions.

LOS ANGELES: artEquity has announced the members of the fourth cohort of its BIPOC Leadership Circle. This hybrid series brings together BIPOC leaders of art, theatre, and cultural institutions over four months to provide support, strategies, and systems of accountability in creating new leadership models that center BIPOC history and experiences. The series launched with a welcome session earlier this month and will continue with virtual sessions and small-group meetings, culminating in an in-person retreat in L.A., June 10-14.

This year’s cohort includes 39 BIPOC leaders representing 47 organizations from 18 states and Ontario, Canada. These leaders work within various art sectors including the performing and visual arts, arts councils, arts service organizations, and foundations. The 2023-24 cohort includes Carlton V. Bell II (Birmingham Black Repertory Theatre Collective), Shaunté Caraballo (CSU Dominguez Hills), Marisa Carr (independent artist), Ching-In Chen (University of Washington Bothell), Liyen Chong (Arts Accountability Houston), Jamelyn Ebelacker (independent producer and consultant), Amber Espinosa-Jones (Sundance Institute), Bertrand Evans-Taylor (Performing Arts Alliance), Estefanía Fadul (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Jacqueline Flores (Latinx Theatre Commons), Emily Goes (The CRAFT Institute), Blanca Herrada (Lawrence Arts Center), Marissa Herrera (4C LAB), Eugene Hutchins (East West Players), Jasiah Jackson (Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center), Naomi Kawamura (Densho), Hillary Kempenich (Grand Forks Children’s Museum) Clara Kent (Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council), Amiyah King (The OYÉ ASÉ Culture Group), Melike Konur (Dance/NYC), Marleah Makpiaq LaBelle (Turning Pages Consulting), Sharrell D. Luckett (Black Acting Methods Studio), Samantha Alexis Manuel (Arts for LA), Andi Meyer (Tradewind Arts), Sam Morreale (Soho Repertory Theatre), Loida Maritza Perez (AfroMundo), Tuyet Pham (Everyman Theatre), Liz Player (The Harlem Chamber Players), Lylliam Posadas (Your Neighborhood Museum), Amy Sazue (Remembering the Children Memorial), Clayton Shelvin (Freight & Salvage), Juan Silverio (LACE [Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions]), Joshua Streeter (Emerson College), DeLanna Studi (Native Voices, Autry Museum of the American West), Cynthia Tate (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Andrew Aaron Valdez (Yale Repertory Theatre), Morgana Wilborn (Kansas City Repertory Theatre), Kevin Matthew Wong (Why Not Theatre), and Abdirahman Yussuf (Somali Cultural Center).

The goal of the BIPOC Leadership Circle is to create a national shift in leadership values and practices in the arts and culture sector. The program embraces a nuanced definition of what it means to be a leader in the field, ultimately defying narrow understandings that define a leader solely as someone with positional power, a definition that often fails to acknowledge the significant work offered by BIPOC leaders both individually and as part of collaborative efforts.

artEquity is a nonprofit that provides tools, resources, and training at the intersection of art and activism. The organization aims to build a base of individuals and organizations with a shared analysis so they can contribute effectively to organizational culture change, sector change, and social change.

Antu Yacob and Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay.

PHILADELPHIA: InterAct Theatre Company has announced two of the three playwrights who will participate in the Philly Cycle, a commissioning project that empowers playwrights to write about a Philly community that is underrepresented on local and national stages. Antu Yacob will write about Philadelphia’s African American Muslim community and Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay will write a play about members of the city’s Southeast Asian community who have been displaced by war.

Supported by a five-year grant award from the William Penn Foundation, InterAct’s Philly Cycle will commission, develop, and produce three new plays, with the goal of generating plays about Philadelphia, expanding narratives about the city, engaging and developing new audiences for theatre, and advancing a model for theatres to engage diverse communities in cities across the country. The commission comes with a $15,000 award along with unlimited administrative and dramaturgical support from InterAct, and culminates in a production. The process for each play will involve research and immersion within partner organizations in the community. Yacob will work with CAIR Philadelphia and Vongsay will work with Laos In The House, VietLead, and the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia.

Antu Yacob is an actor, filmmaker, playwright, and producer. Now based in New York, she was born in Ethiopia and raised in California and Minnesota. A graduate of the acting MFA program at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, Yacob’s plays have premiered at Kampala International Theatre Festival in Uganda, Project Y Theatre, Theatre167, Mile Square Theatre, and the Tiny Barn Festival.

Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay is a Lao American poet and playwright. She is best known for her play Kung Fu Zombies vs Cannibals. Her other plays include: Kung Fu Zombies vs Shaman Warrior, and HmongLao Friendship Play. Her work has been presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Theater Mu, Lower Depth Theatre, Asian Improv Arts, and elsewhere.

InterAct Theatre Company is an arts organization in Philadelphia. The company seeks to to commission, develop, and produce new and contemporary plays that explore the social, political, and cultural issues of our time.

Support American Theatre: a just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. Please join us in this mission by making a donation to our publisher, Theatre Communications Group. When you support American Theatre magazine and TCG, you support a long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism. Click here to make your fully tax-deductible donation today!

ADV – Billboard