Who better than an actors' union to bestow awards for new talents showing the highest promise? That's what the Foundation of Actors' Equity has been doing for 56 years with its annual Clarence Derwent Awards. Whereas last year's winners had a royal cast (Aida's queen, Sherie Rene Scott and The Green Bird's king, Derek Smith), this year's honorees are decidedly more earthy.
Spencer Kayden, the naive but inquisitive little girl in Urinetown and David Burtka, the oft-naked young man in Edward Albee's The Play About the Baby, will receive the $1,000 award and engraved crystal trophy in a ceremony to be held at 2 PM, June 12 at the Equity building in midtown Manhattan.
According to Equity spokespersons at Dick Moore & Associates, Inc., judges for this year's awards, announced May 23, were Betty Corwin, librettist Peter Stone, Equity Foundation President Carl Harms, producer Robert Whitehead and critics Irene Backalenick, Douglas Watt, Charles Isherwood, Michael Kuchwara and Michael Sommers.
The Derwent Awards honor most promising male and female performers on the metropolitan scene. Established in 1944 by actor Clarence Derwent, the Derwent Awards have honored such performers as George C. Scott, Frances Sternhagen, Dana Ivey, Gene Wilder and James Woods.
-- By David Lefkowitz