In the News: Drury Lane's The Color Purple and An American in Paris Lead Jeff Award Nominees, Over 100 Artists Set for New Master Classes, More | Playbill

Awards In the News: Drury Lane's The Color Purple and An American in Paris Lead Jeff Award Nominees, Over 100 Artists Set for New Master Classes, More
Plus: Applications are now open for The Cody Renard Richard Scholarship Program, a new initiative to help behind-the-scenes BIPOC theatre students.
A scene from the 2019 Drury Lane Theatre production of The Color Purple
A scene from the 2019 Drury Lane Theatre production of The Color Purple Brett Beiner Photography

Read on for some recent theatre headlines you may have missed.

Nominations Set for Chicago's Jeff Equity Awards
The Jeff Equity Awards, celebrating excellence in the Chicago regional theatre scene, announced nominations for the 2020 ceremony September 15. Drury Lane Productions led the pack with 22 nominations—most for its stagings of An American in Paris and The Color Purple. Additional nominees include Steppenwolf’s production of Bug (including nods for director David Cromer and stars Carrie Coon and Namir Smallwood), King Hedley II and Oedipus Rex at Court Theatre, and Deirdre O’Connell for her performance in the solo show Dana H. at the Goodman. See the full list of nominees here. The 52nd annual ceremony will take place online November 9.

Disney Film About L.A.’s Inner-City Youth Orchestra in the Works
A new film from Disney about the Inner-City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and its Founding Artistic Director Charles Dickerson III is currently in the works, according to Deadline. Bobby Smith, Jr. will serve as writer and executive producer alongside Brigham Taylor (The Jungle Book), who is set to produce through his TaylorMade Film Productions company. The ICYOLA is the nation’s largest predominantly Black orchestra, with an outpost recently started in Chicago. The film is slated to debut on Disney +.

Offstage Theatre Makers_Photo Feature_2020_HR
Cody Renard Richard

Cody Renard Richard and Broadway Advocacy Coalition Launch BIPOC Scholarship
Applications are now open for a new scholarship to help behind-the-scenes BIPOC theatre students in the spring 2021 semester. The Cody Renard Richard Scholarship Program will provide $1,500 in addition to mentorship through online seminars focusing on community building, leadership, and social justice. “As someone who has navigated this business rarely seeing a reflection of myself in other managers, designers, or directors, I know first-hand how important it is to be exposed to theatrical leaders that look like you,” says founder Richard, a Broadway stage manager for Hamilton, Freestyle Love Supreme, and others. In partnership with the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, the program also aims to build a network of scholars as they continue their studies. Seed funding for the program is provided by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, with additional donations currently being accepted. Click here for more information and how to apply for the scholarship.

Anthony McGill Named Recipient of Avery Fisher Prize
New York Philharmonic’s principal clarinetist Anthony McGill has been named the recipient of the 2020 Avery Fisher Prize, given in recognition of musicians who represent the highest level of musical excellence and whose vision and leadership have expanded the reach of classical music. In lieu of the funds typically used for an in-person celebration (this year's honor is bestowed virtually September 15), the Avery Fisher Artist Program invited McGill, currently the Philharmonic's only Black player, to designate $30,000 to an organization of his choice that furthers the program’s mission. After McGill selected Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program, he and Weston Sprott, dean of Juilliard’s Preparatory Division, made additional personal commitments to bring the endowed fund’s total to $100,000. (As the 2020 Avery Fisher Prize recipient, McGill receives a monetary award of $100,000, separate from the $30,000 that he is designating to MAP.) McGill, who also maintains an active career as a soloist, teaches on Juilliard’s college and MAP faculties. He is also an advocate for music education in underrepresented groups and for social justice.

Lea Salonga Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Over 100 Broadway Artists Will Be Part of Broadway Access Pro, Master Class Subscription Service
The streaming platform Broadway On Demand has launched Broadway Access Pro, a subscription service dedicated to those interested in taking master classes and training courses from Broadway artists. The service, which launches September 21, will feature over 250 episodes of content, including more than 100 Broadway names. Expect programs on acting, dancing, producing, directing, auditioning, business coaching, fitness, and more. Artists who will be part of the new service include Denée Benton, Andy Blankenbuehler, Sierra Boggess, Danny Burstein, Stephen Byrd, André De Shields, Taye Diggs, Andy Einhorn, Savion Glover, Latanya Richardson Jackson, Michael R. Jackson, Alia Jones-Harvey, Tom Kitt, Lindsay Mendez, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Dominique Morisseau, David Byrne, Anthony Rapp, Jon Rua, Tara Rubin, Lea Salonga, Stephen Schwartz, Frank Wildhorn, and Julie Taymor. Click here for more information.

Boston Ballet Unveils 2020–2021 Season
As with most performing arts companies across the country, Boston Ballet is forgoing an in-person season this fall, offering digital alternatives with the hope of returning to the stage in spring 2021. The organization's new season is comprised of three major components: the broadcast premiere of Mikko Nissinen’s production of The Nutcracker (available on NBC10 Boston and online) November 28; the subscription-based streaming platform BB@yourhome, which will premiere six programs captured live from Boston Ballet's studios November through April; and two in-person programs at the Citizens Bank Opera House: off the chART (May 6–16) and ChorograpHER (May 20–30). For more information, visit

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