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SDC Davidson Award, Waterwell New Works Lab, Artios Awards, and More

A roundup of prizes, fellowships, and other recognitions.

Anne Bogart.

NEW YORK CITY: The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF), the not-for-profit foundation of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), has announced that director and theatre visionary Anne Bogart will receive its 2023 Gordon Davidson Award. Named in honor of the founding artistic director of Los Angeles’s Center Theatre Group and one of the visionary leaders of the resident theatre movement, the Gordon Davidson Award recognizes a director or choreographer for lifetime achievement and distinguished service in the national not-for-profit theatre. The award will be presented to Bogart at a ceremony in the spring.

The selection committee was chaired by Neel Keller, former associate artistic director of Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. “We are thrilled to honor Anne Bogart with this year’s Gordon Davidson Award,” said Keller in a statement. “Like Gordon, Anne has a passionate curiosity and inexhaustible belief in the power and potential of our beloved art form. For over five decades, Anne has been a relentless, joyous researcher, experimenter, provocateur, and practitioner. She has delved deeply into the nature of theatre-making and has shared her discoveries with us through productions, books, a codified system of expressive movement and generous mentorship. From small living rooms to regional theatres to large opera houses and beyond, Anne has made theatre as a way of exploring storytelling, community, collaboration, and education.”

In a statement, Bogart said of her selection, “Gordon Davidson was, and remains, for me, a lighthouse. A lighthouse is something or someone outside of oneself, an example, a point of orientation, a beacon of hope or a guiding light, a focal point symbolizing strength, support and even a safe harbor. In the proximity of these lighthouses, we remember that we are not separate entities. For this reason, receiving the Gordon Davidson Award is especially meaningful to me. Gordon’s passion and his stubbornness, even from 3,000 miles away when he was alive and now continuing after his departure from this earthly coil, continue to serve as an example, a model, and a constant source of encouragement and inspiration. I am grateful to tie the knot with him publicly, and to be part of the roster of extraordinary artists who were previously endowed with this award.” 

Keller was joined on the selection committee by Sheldon Epps, artistic director emeritus of Pasadena Playhouse; Michael John Garcés, artistic director emeritus of Cornerstone Theater Company; Tom Moore, who was mentored by Davidson and directed shows at the Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theatre; Laura Penn, executive director of SDC; Lisa Peterson, resident director at the Mark Taper Forum from 1995 to 2005; and Warner Shook, who directed Davidson’s final Taper production. Rachel Davidson, daughter to Gordon Davidson, served as an advisor. The Gordon Davidson Award has previously been presented to Oskar Eustis (2018), Lisa Peterson (2019), Seret Scott (2020), Emily Mann (2021), and Donald Byrd (2022).

Anne Bogart is a theatre and opera director. She served as co-artistic director of SITI Company, which she founded with Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki in 1992. She is a professor at Columbia University where she runs the Graduate Directing Program and is the author of six books.

Founded in 1965, Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF) celebrates, develops, and supports professional stage directors and choreographers throughout every phase of their careers.  

LOS ANGELES: The L.A. Theatre Works audio drama Exodus: The Shanghai Jews won a 2024 Audie Award in the original work category. L.A. Theatre Works commissioned Kate McAll’s docudrama, which tells the story of eight refugees who escaped Nazi persecution to Shanghai. Felica Day’s Third Eye, published by Audible Originals, won in the audio drama category. The Audie Awards are a program of the Audio Publishers Association and recognize distinction in audio books and spoken-word entertainment.

Diane Exavier and Josiah Davis.

NEW YORK CITY: Waterwell has announced playwright Diane Exavier and director Josiah Davis will lead their 2024 New Works Lab. The New Works lab commissions a full-length play annually, pairs playwrights with student actors in the Waterwell Drama Program at the Professional Performing Arts School, and works with emerging directors and designers in the new-work development process. They will develop the world premiere of Cats for Change. Exavier is a 2023 NYSCA/NYFA artist fellow in poetry, and her playwriting has been produced with the New Group, the National Black Theatre, BRIC Arts, Dixon Place, and more. Davis, a director, choreographer, designer, and actor, is a New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellow and a Clubbed Thumb directing fellow. His recent directing credits include Mary Gets Hers with the Playwrights Realm.

NEW YORK CITY: The Casting Society of America held their 39th annual Artios Awards last week with ceremonies in New York, Los Angeles, and London. The New York ceremony was hosted by comedian and Broadway performer Alex Edelman. The Artios Awards recognize work in theatre, film, and television. Theatre winners for New York included the Broadway production of Leopoldstadt, with casting by Jim Carnahan and Maureen Kelleher; the Broadway production of Into the Woods, with casting by Craig Burns, Geoff Josselson, and Bernard Telsey; the Off-Broadway production of Downstate at Playwrights Horizons, with casting by Alaine Alldaffer and JC Clementz; and New York Theatre Workshop’s Merrily We Roll Along, with casting by Carnahan and Jason Thinger. The Los Angeles theatre award was presented to The Inheritance: Part 1 & Part 2 at the Geffen Playhouse, with casting by Phyllis Schuringa. The regional theatre award was presented to casting director Stephanie Klapper for A Chorus Line at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and to casting director David Capa for What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank at the Old Globe. The special theatrical performance award was presented to location casting directors Tara Rubin, Merri Sugarman, and Becca McCracken for Fiddler on the Roof at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Finally, the touring award was presented to casting directors Rubin, Peter Van Dam, and Kevin Metzger-Timson for the touring production of SIX. Additionally, the Casting Society recognized the Drama Book Shop with the Marion Dougherty New York Apple Award.

Don X. Nguyen and Rachel Bonds.

HOUSTON and NEW YORK CITY: Don X. Nguyen‘s The World is Not Silent and Rachel Bonds‘s Jonah have received the 2024 Laurents / Hatcher Foundation Award. Established in 2010, the annual prize recognizes an unproduced, full-length play by an early-career American playwright. The playwrights will each receive $50,000, and the producing theatres, Roundabout Theater Company and The Alley Theatre, will receive $50,000 towards each premiere production.

Developed in the Alley All New Reading Series, Nguyen’s semi-autobiographical play explores how language divides and unites us. The premiere production of The World is Not Silent plays Fri., March 22 to Sun., April 14 in the Neuhaus Theatre.

Jonah follows two students who cross paths at a boarding school, one of whom is not who he appears to be. The premiere production at the Laura Pels Theatre closed on Sunday.

The foundation also awarded Citations of Excellence to Abe Koogler for his play Staff Meal, which will be produced by Playwrights Horizons, and Shayan Lofti for What Became of Us, which will be produced by Atlantic Theater Company.  Koogler and Lofti will each receive $25,000.

Don X. Nguyen is a Vietnamese refugee, born in Saigon and relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska at the age of three.  He studied theatre at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and served as the artistic director of the Shelterbelt Theatre in Omaha from 1999-2003.  He is currently based out of New York City. His other plays include The Supreme Leader, Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth, Sound, Red Flamboyant, The Commencement of William Tan, and The Man From Saigon.

Rachel Bonds is a playwright, screenwriter, essayist, and writer for scripted podcasts. Her other plays include Goodnight Nobody, The Lonely Few, Sundown, Yellow Moon, Curve of Departure, At the Old Place, and more.

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