Tootsie’s Sarah Stiles and Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations’ Ephraim Sykes have been named recipients of The Actors’ Equity Foundation’s 2019 Clarence Derwent Awards for most promising female and male performers on the New York metropolitan scene.
Stiles is being honored for her work as Sandy Lester in the new musical Tootsie, and Sykes has earned the award for his performance as David Ruffin in Ain't Too Proud. Both Stiles and Sykes have also been nominated for the 2019 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress and Actor in a Musical for the same roles.
Stiles earned a 2015 Tony nomination for her performance as Jessica in Hand to God. Her other Broadway credits include On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Avenue Q. Sykes originated the role of George Eackers in Hamilton at the Public in 2015, played Otis Williams in Broadway’s Motown the Musical, and was seen as Seaweed in NBC’s Hairspray Live.
The award, which includes a check and crystal trophy, will be presented at Equity’s Eastern Regional Board meeting June 11 at the Equity offices in Manhattan.
Established in 1945 by Clarence Derwent, actor and president of Equity from 1946 to 1952, past recipients include Nina Arianda, Annaleigh Ashford, Annette Bening, Kristin Chenoweth, Morgan Freeman, Allison Janney, Frances Sternhagen, Michael Urie, Christopher Walken, Fritz Weaver, and in 2018, Sean Carvajal and Ashley Park.
The judges panel includes Joe Dziemianowicz, Adam Feldman, Susan Haskins, Harry Haun, and David Rosenberg.