jakub | May 19, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | Actors’ Equity Foundation Names 2023 Awardees


Darius de Haas, Michael Patrick Thornton, Alex Newell, Bonnie Milligan, Linda Lavin and Francis Guinan.

NEW YORK CITY: Actors’ Equity Foundation has announced its 2023 foundation award recipients. The foundation will present these awards, as well as the previously announced 2021 Paul Robeson Awards, at a ceremony on June 26 held at AEA’s New York offices.

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. 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, and Shuffle Along, as well as the anniversary concerts of Dreamgirls and Hair. De Haas is a proud founding member of Black Theatre United.

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. Thornton is the co-founder of Chicago’s The Gift Theatre and served as its artistic director for 20 years. He has appeared on stages throughout the world, including Broadway for the Sam Gold production of Macbeth. 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. As a writer, Thornton has written plays and a novel.

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.  Newell first garnered attention on the screen in FOX’s critically acclaimed series Glee as transgender student Wade “Unique” Adams. In 2023, Alex made history as the first nonbinary-identifying actor to receive a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor for their role in Shucked. And 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. She played Pamela in the Broadway production of Head Over Heels and Pat in the original U.S. tour of Kinky Boots.

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. Lavin most recently starred in 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. 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 County, Grapes of Wrath, Coyote Ugly, The Seafarer, The Libertine, and Downstate, several of which have transferred to New York. 

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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