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Posts about Awards

Mark Rylance, who has performed in the Twin Cities, nominated for two Tonys

Posted by: Rohan Preston Updated: April 29, 2014 - 10:58 AM

Actor and adaptor Mark Rylance, who has performed Shakespeare at the Guthrie and who adapted Louis Jenkins' poems into a play called "Nice Fish," has been nominated for two Tony Awards, it was announced Tuesday.

Rylance was nominated for leading actor in a play for playing the title character in the Shakespearean tragedy, "Richard III." He also was nominated for supporting actor in a play for his turn as Olivia in an all-male casting of the comedy "Twelfth Night." 

He performed in a similar all-male "Twelfth Night" many years ago at the Guthrie.

Other Tony nominations went to Neil Patrick Harris for his lead performance in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," five-time Tony winner Audra McDonald for her turn in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" and Idina Menzel for "If/Then."

Here is the full list of nominations.

Twin Cities-connected artists score big in Doris Duke performing arts awards

Posted by: Rohan Preston Updated: April 22, 2014 - 12:26 PM

Ragamala Dance Theatre founder Ranee Ramaswamy (right, photo by Ed Bock) was in Banana Republic at the Mall of America when she got the call that she had been awarded $275,000 from the Doris Duke Foundation in New York.

Choreographer Emily Johnson, who founded Catalyst Dance, was just about to give her dog a bath when she, too, got a similar call.

“I cried,” said Johnson, 38. “I was just stunned.”

Ramaswamy 62, had a similar reaction. “I walked out of the store and sat on a bench for God knows how long,” she said. “You know, you do your work out of love, and then a blessing like that comes.”

The Twin Cities scored big in the Doris Duke performing arts awards, announced Tuesday. In addition to Johnson and Ramaswamy, Twin Cities puppet-maker Michael Sommers was awarded $80,000 from the Duke Foundation, named for the famous arts loving philanthropist and tobacco heiress.

Golden Valley-bred composer and pianist Craig Taborn, who now lives in New York, also was awarded $275,000.

The Twin Cities-connected performers were part of a national roster of 39 artists in theater, dance and jazz who were honored this year. Choreographers Bill T. Jones, Joanna Haigood and John Jasperse were also named winners alongside playwrights David Henry Hwang, Lisa Kron and Tarell Alvin McCraney as well as jazz greats Roscoe Mitchell and Randy Weston.              

In the past three years, the Duke foundation has given out more than $18 million to artists, funds that are delivered over years and that include a portion for retirement savings.

Ramaswamy who founded Ragamala 22 years ago, is in Philadelphia, where she was on a panel for the Pew Charitable Trusts. She was, with daughter Aparna, the Star Tribune’s Artist of the Year in 2011. In 2012, President Obama appointed her to the National Arts Council.

“You know, as an artist, you’re working your little thread,” said Ramaswamy. “When it gets noticed, that gives you encouragement to continue doing what you do. This is a gift like that. And to be mentioned in the same breath with Bill T. Jones, that’s a high honor.”

Over $1 million in support offered to new plays across the country

Posted by: Rohan Preston Updated: March 28, 2014 - 6:06 PM

The Theatre Communications Group on Friday announced the Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards had gone to 39 world premieres that are the recipient of over $1 million in financial support.

The impressive roster of winners for the 2013-2014 cycle includes plays that have already been produced, like film-maker Ethan Coen’s “Women or Nothing ,” which premiered at the Atlantic Theatre in New York last summer, and Matt Gould’s and Griffin Matthews’ “Witness Uganda” (pictured above, photo courtesy of ART), which closed March 16 at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge; and Rebecca Gilman’s “Luna Gale,” which closed in February at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre.

The list also includes works by playwrights who have some Twin Cities affiliation, such as Samuel D. Hunter, whose “Rest” opened Friday at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, Calif., and Marcus Gardley, whose “The Gospel of Lovingkindness” closes Sunday at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago.

And there are some big names in the mix as well, including Pultizer-, Oscar- and Tony-winner John Patrick Shanley (“Outside Mullingar”), Tony winner Harvey Fierstein (“Casa Valentina”) and legendary musical theater composer John Kander, who has teamed up with new librettist Greg Pierce (“The Landing”).

In just seven years, the foundation has given over $6 million to support the world premieres of new works, primarily through extra rehearsal time. The foundation has an impressive track record. Thirteen of the plays it has supported have gone to Broadway, including Pulitzer winners “Next to Normal” and “Water by the Spoonful” and best play Tony winner “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”

“The impact of this support is undeniable, with so many of the plays going on to numerous subsequent productions,” TCG executive director Teresa Eyring said in a statement.

What is striking is that while metropolitan areas such as Salt Lake City, Denver and Atlanta have theaters represented among the winners, there is not one Twin Cities playhouse on the list.

To be fair, there is new work being done in Minneapolis and St. Paul, including at the Children’s Theatre and Pillsbury House. Still, it’s surprising that such a fertile theater ecology would come up blank.

Playwright Kia Corthron wins $150,000 literary prize

Posted by: Rohan Preston Updated: March 8, 2014 - 4:06 PM

Kia Corthron, a playwright of lyrical language and hard subjects who has been associated with the Children's Theatre and Penumbra in the Twin Cities, has won a Windham Campbell Prize, Yale University announced on Friday.

The honor, administered by the university, comes with a $150,000 purse.

Corthron, a writer who uses fierce and lyrical language to tackle tough subjects, is best known for "Breath, Boom," "The Venus de Milo is Armed" and "Splash Hatch on the E Going Down," a play about environmental degradation. 

She also has written for the television shows "The Wire" and "The Jury."

Corthron wrote "Snapshot Silhouettes" for the Children's Theatre, a drama about tensions between African-American and Somali students that played in 2004. 

Corthron also has been commissioned by the Guthrie Theater.

The playwright, who is American, is one of eight writers named as winners of the Windham Campbell Prize, which awarded a total of $1.2 million Friday.

The others are dramatists Sam Holcroft of Britain and Noëlle Janaczewska of Australia; fiction writers Nadeem Aslam of Pakistan, Jim Crace of the United Kingdom and Aminatta Forna of Sierra Leone; and nonfiction writers Pankaj Mishra of India and John Vaillant, who is Canadian-American. 


Best Picture nominees reviewed

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: February 26, 2014 - 11:34 AM
Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave," nominated for nine Academy Awards. Photo by Francois Duhamel/Fox Searchlight.

All nine movies up for a Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday night got 4-star reviews from Star Tribune movie critic Colin Covert, except for "Dallas Buyers Club" and "Her," which each received 3.5-star ratings. Click titles below to read Covert's original reviews. Complete Oscars coverage is here. Best Picture poll is here.

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club





12 Years a Slave

The Wolf of Wall Street


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