Read on for some recent awards-focused theatre headlines you may have missed in today's news.
Leslie Odom, Jr. Earns Spotlight Award for One Night in Miami
The Palm Springs International Film Festival has named Leslie Odom, Jr. winner of the the Spotlight Award for his role as Sam Cooke in the movie One Night in Miami. The movie, written by Kemp Powers (based on his play) and directed by Regina King, is based on the actual meeting of Cooke, boxer Muhammed Ali, Civil Rights leader Malcolm X, and football star Jim Brown in a Miami hotel room following one of Ali's fights. Odom does his own singing in the role of Sam Cooke, the soul artist known for hits such as “Chain Gang” and “A Change Is Gonna Come." In addition to the Cooke catalog included in the film, Odom co-wrote and performs an original title for the soundtrack, "Speak Now."
10 Finalists Named for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
The annual award for outstanding works by women+ playwrights has chosen the 10 2021 finalists from the over 160 nominated plays: Glace Chase for Triple X, Erika Dickerson-Despenza for cullud wattah, Miranda Rose Hall for A Play for the LIving in the Time of Extinction, Dawn King for The Trials, Kimber Lee for The Water Palace, Janice Okoh for The Gift, Ife Olujobi for Jordans, Frances Poet for Maggie May, Jiehae Park for The Aves, and Beth Steel for The House of Shades. Each finalist will win a $5,000 prize, with the winner (to be announced in April) taking a $25,000 cash prize and a signed print by artist Willem de Kooning, created especially for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Past winners include Lynn Nottage's Sweat, Annie Baker's The Flick, Marsha Norman’s ‘night,Mother, Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive, Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles, and Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview.
The Metropolitan Opera Honors 5 Singers With Beverly Sills Artist Award
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and its financial impact on performers, the Metropolitan Opera has divided the annual $50,000 Beverly Sills Artist Award by awarding $10,000 each to five co-winners. Soprano Erin Morley, soprano Brenda Rae, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, tenor Ben Bliss, and bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green have all been recognized for their rising careers with the Met. The five singers all have upcoming roles scheduled for the 2021–022 season.
International Theatermakers Awards From The Playwrights Realm Announced
The Playwrights Realm, a theatre production organization devoted to supporting emerging playwrights, in partnership with law firm Dyer Harris LLP, has selected five immigrant artists to receive support through the International Theatermakers Award program. Lighting designer Alexandra Vásquez Dheming, director Danilo Gambini, lighting designer Omar Madkour, playwright Jeton Neziraj, and lighting designer Cha See have all been recognized for their critical contributions to American theatre. Each will receive no-cost O-1B artist visa applications and immigration assistance from Dyer Harris LLP. The public-facing program also includes a series of free digital panels and webinars for artists and arts organizations. The next webinar, on February 11, will address the legal and fiscal challenges of U.S. arts nonprofits with limited resources who are looking to work with international artists.