The Vineyard Theatre announces that the first Susan Stroman Directing Award has been given to Liesl Tommy. This new, residency-based award, given to a talented early or mid-career director, will provide its recipients with space, time and support to develop projects and strike new collaborations while in residence at the theatre. The award was presented to Ms. Tommy at The Vineyard's 30th Anniversary Gala, held last night at The Edison Ballroom. With Ms. Stroman's creative genius and spirit of collaboration as an inspiration, The Vineyard will proudly present the Susan Stroman Award annually.
"The journey of working with Susan from the start of her career on FLORA, THE RED MENACE to the incredibly rewarding process of developing and producing THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS has been an honor and a thrill," says Vineyard Artistic Director Douglas Aibel. "With this award, we look forward to creating opportunities for talented young directors to become part of the life of the Vineyard family in an ongoing way." Co-Artistic Director Sarah Stern adds, "We're thrilled that Liesl Tommy, an incredibly exciting director, is the first recipient. Liesl is a young director of true artistry, bravery, and humanity whose work has been drawing acclaim in New York and across the country. We are excited to further our conversation with Liesl about the projects that she wants to initiate and develop, and for The Vineyard to be able to provide her with a home and resources to do so. " This year's award has been generously underwritten by Jody Falco and Jeffrey Steinman, Vineyard Board member.
And Susan Stroman adds, "The Vineyard has consistently produced some of the most provocative, groundbreaking works in theater today. I am lucky to have had the chance to work with the incredible team there twice in my career, and what makes The Vineyard so special is its singular devotion to the artist. The Vineyard knows that talent and art must both be nurtured. I am honored to have Liesl Tommy as the first recipient of this award."
Susan Stroman is a five-time Tony Award-winning director and choreographer. Her groundbreaking work has also been honored with Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics and Lucille Lortel Awards, along with a record four Astaire Awards and the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre. Ms. Stroman made her New York debut as a choreographer at The Vineyard in 1987 on the revival of Kander and Ebb's FLORA, THE RED MENACE. She returned to The Vineyard stage in 2010 to direct THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, again collaborating with John Kander and David Thompson. In addition to THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS (Tony nominations for Best Director and Choreography), her many Broadway credits include THE PRODUCERS (Tony Awards for Best Director and Choreography), CONTACT, SHOWBOAT, CRAZY FOR YOU (Tony Awards for Best Choreography), and the upcoming musical adaptations of BIG FISH and BULLETS OVER BROADWAY.
Liesl Tommy's directing credits include the world premieres of PARTY PEOPLE by Universes (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), THE WHITE MAN - A COMPLEX DECLARATION OF LOVE by Joan Rang (DanskDansk Theatre, Denmark), PEGGY PICKET SEES THE FACE OF GOD by Roland Schimmelpfennig (Luminato Festival/Canadian Stage. Toronto), ECLIPSED by Danai Gurira (Yale Rep, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company), THE GOOD NEGRO by Tracey Scott Wilson (The Public Theater, Dallas Theater Center), A HISTORY OF LIGHT by Eisa Davis (the Contemporary American Theatre Festival), ANGELA'S MIXTAPE by Eisa Davis (Synchronicity Performance Group, New Georges), A STONE'S THROW by Lynn Nottage, (Women's Project), and MISTERIOSO 119 by Koffi Kwahule (Berkshire Theatre Festival, Act French Festival). Other credits: A RAISIN IN THE SUN, Ma Rainey'S BLACK BOTTOM (Huntington Theatre); AMERICAN BUFFALO (Baltimore Centre Stage); HE IS HERE HE SAYS I SAY (Sundance East Africa, Manda Island, Kenya); THE PIANO LESSON (Yale Rep); RUINED by Lynn Nottage (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company, Berkeley Rep: 10 awards including Best Director and Production); CRIMES OF THE HEART (McCarter Theatre); BOOK OF LIFE (Sundance East Africa, Manda Island, Kenya); YANKEE TAVERN, STICK FLY (CATF); A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Trinity Rep); IN THE CONTINUUM (Playmakers Rep); FLIGHT (City Theatre); HYDRIOTAPHIA, CAMINO REAL (Trinity Rep/Brown Consortium); SPLIT ENDS (La MAMA); BUS, FAMILY TIES (Play Company) for the Romania Kiss Me! Festival; ADVENTURES OF BARRIO GRRRL (Summer Play Festival). Liesl was awarded the NEA/TCG Directors Grant and the New York Theatre Workshop Casting/Directing Fellowship. All of her productions have had numerous nominations and awards for directing, acting, and design. Liesl has taught master classes in acting, directing and new play development internationally and guest directed at Juilliard, Trinity Rep/Brown University's MFA Directing Program, The Strasberg Institute, and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She is a native of Cape Town, South Africa.