Actors’ Equity Foundation Honors Darius de Haas, Michael Patrick Thornton, Alex Newell, Bonnie Milligan, Linda Lavin and Francis Guinan with 2023 Foundation Awards
Last Edit: Official_Press_Release 07:40 pm EDT 05/17/23
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 07:31 pm EDT 05/17/23

Actors' Equity Foundation Honors Darius de Haas, Michael Patrick Thornton, Alex Newell, Bonnie Milligan, Linda Lavin and Francis Guinan with 2023 Foundation Awards

Awards will be presented June 26 in New York City

New York – The Actors' Equity Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization supporting the professional theatre community, has announced its award recipients for 2023.

The St. Clair Bayfield Award, honoring an outstanding performance in a supporting role in a Shakespearean play in the New York metropolitan area, will be awarded to Darius de Haas for his role as Duke Senior in As You Like It at Shakespeare in the Park.

The Joe A. Callaway Award, celebrating performances in classical plays from before the 20th century in the New York metropolitan area, will be presented to Michael Patrick Thornton for playing Doctor Rank in A Doll's House on Broadway.

The Clarence Derwent Awards, which highlight the most promising performances in supporting roles, will recognize Alex Newell for their role as Lulu in Shucked and Bonnie Milligan for her role as Debra in Kimberly Akimbo.

Finally, the Richard Seff Award for veteran performers in supporting roles in a Broadway or off-Broadway production will honor Linda Lavin for playing Callen in You will get Sick and Francis Guinan for playing Fred in Downstate.

The Foundation will present these awards, as well as the previously announced 2021 Paul Robeson Award, at a ceremony on June 26 held at the New York offices of Actors' Equity Association. More information, including how to watch a livestream, is forthcoming.

About the Recipients

Darius de Haas is an award-winning actor and singer whose career has spanned from Broadway to concert stages around the world. His Broadway credits include Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Carousel, Rent, The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm, Marie Christine, Shuffle Along as well as the anniversary concerts of Dreamgirls and Hair (both for the Actors Fund). Other notable theatre includes the premiere productions of Running Man (Obie Award), Children of Eden, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, I Was Looking At The Ceiling and Then I saw The Sky and Public Works' As You Like It. Notable TV credits include Dietland, In The Life and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. He is also a critically acclaimed concert and recording artist. De Haas is a proud founding member of Black Theatre United which serves to educate, empower, and inspire through excellence and activism in the pursuit of justice and equality for all Black artists.

Michael Patrick Thornton is the co-founder of Chicago's renowned The Gift Theatre and served as its artistic director for twenty years. He has appeared on stages throughout the world, including Broadway for the Sam Gold production of Macbeth and the current Tony-nominated production of A Doll's House, directed by Jamie Lloyd. Thornton won the 2006 Jeff Award for Solo Performance for The Good Thief, a monologue that marked Thornton's return to the stage after two spinal strokes nearly killed him in 2003. He also performs improvised theatre. He directs and teaches. As a writer, Thornton has written plays and a novel.

Alex Newell first garnered attention on the screen in FOX's critically acclaimed series Glee as transgender student, Wade "Unique" Adams. Breaking barriers and challenging gender norms at a time when the conversation around gender identity was not widely accepted, Alex has remained one of the leaders in the quest for equality. In 2023, Alex made history as the first nonbinary-identifying actor to receive a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor for their role as Lulu in Broadway's Shucked. Alex also has an impressive list of TV credits including Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, along with the Emmy-nominated Christmas special on Roku, as well as Our Kind of People, and Fox's Empire, and Glee. Alex has received several award nominations including Critics Choice, Gold Derby, Screen Actors Guild, and Hollywood Critics Association. While part of the cast of Once On This Island Alex earned a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theater Album and won a Tony for Best Revival of a Musical.

Bonnie Milligan is a current Tony Award nominee for Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as Aunt Debra in Kimberly Akimbo. She won the Lucille Lortel Award and was nominated for a Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League award for last year's Off-Broadway production at the Atlantic Theater. Broadway: Head Over Heels (Theatre World award winner, OCC and Drama league nominations). Tour: Kinky Boots (original Pat). Off-Broadway: Promenade, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater (Encores!); Gigantic (Vineyard); Jasper in Deadland (Prospect Theater); TV: Search Party (HBO Max), Escape at Dannemora (Showtime), Chicago Fire (NBC), Happy (SyFy), New Amsterdam (NBC), And Just Like That (HBO Max).

Linda Lavin most recently starred in The Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Noah Diaz's You Will Get Sick. She has won a Tony Award, as well as a Drama Desk, Outer Critics' and Helen Hayes Award for her performance in Broadway Bound in 1987. She is a six-time Tony Award nominee and 2011 inductee into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Her television career includes two Golden Globes and an Emmy nomination for her starring role on Alice. Lavin was born in Portland, Maine and is a graduate of the College of William & Mary, which recently conferred on her an honorary doctor of arts degree where she endows a theatre program.

Francis Guinan has been an Equity member since 1979, the same year he joined the Steppenwolf Ensemble in a production of Say Goodnight, Gracie. He has performed in numerous Steppenwolf productions, notably A Lesson from Aloes, True West, Balm in Gilead, August: Osage Country, Grapes of Wrath, Coyote Ugly, The Seafarer, The Libertine and Downstate, several of which have transferred to New York. He has also worked in a number of other Chicago theatres such as Northlight Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare and Timeline Theatre. He has numerous film and television credits, including several appearances in various Star Trek iterations.

About the Awards

About the St. Clair Bayfield Award
This award was established in 1973 to honor an actor giving the most outstanding performance in a supporting role in a Shakespearean play in the New York metropolitan area. The winner is chosen by a panel of critics and members of the theatre community.

About the Joe A. Callaway Awards
These awards were established in 1989 to honor actors for the best performances in a classical play in the New York metropolitan area, selected by a panel of critics.

About the Clarence Derwent Awards
Established in 1945, the Clarence Derwent Award is awarded to two actors for the most promising performance in a supporting role, as selected by a panel of critics. Derwent's will stipulated a Trust Fund for the Actors' Equity Foundation to fund the awards. The Derwent Award is given at the end of the theatre season in June.

About the Richard Seff Award
In 2003 the Actors' Equity Foundation established the Richard Seff Award, an annual award to be given to a male and female character actor, 50 years old or older and who has been a member of the Actors' Equity for 25 years or longer, for the best performance in a featured or unfeatured supporting role in a Broadway or Off-Broadway production. These actors may not be stars as determined by Equity, and an actor may only be the recipient of this award one time.

The Actors' Equity Foundation recognizes that the era of gendered awards is coming to a close. The board of the Foundation is currently working on developing a new model for these awards for the future.

THE ACTORS' EQUITY FOUNDATION was created in 1962 to aid and assist the members of the acting profession and to promote the theatre arts. It is separate from Actors' Equity Association and is funded by estate bequests and individual donations.

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