San Francisco, CA's American Conservatory Theatre will confer honorary Master of Fine Arts degrees on theatre actress Olympia Dukakis and film actress Winona Ryder. The May 10, 10 AM ceremony at the Geary Theatre will coincide with the graduation ceremony for ACT's Advanced Training Program class of 1997.
Said Conservatory director Melissa Smith, "I am thrilled that the conservatory is honoring two of this country's finest and most versatile actors. Their careers -- one long and illustrious, the other still young but already distinguished -- serve as extraordinary models for our students." Recipients of the Conservatory's honorary degrees are selected by the Conservatory Committee, a subcommittee of the A.C.T. Board of Trustees, chaired by Howard N. Nemerovski. Selections are based on an individual's contribution to the advancement of the educational goals of ACT and "the arts in America."
Dukakis, currently appearing In Leslie Ayvazian's Singer's Boy at the Geary Theatre, has appeared in more than 200 productions on and off-Broadway, including Bertolt Brecht's A Man's a Man and Christopher Durang's Marriage of Bette and Boo. She's best known for her Oscar winning performance in the John Patrick Shanley film, Moonstruck. As a founding member and producing artistic director of the Whole Theatre in Montclair, NJ, (1971-90), Dukakis received NJ's Walt Whitman Creative Arts Award. Dukakis is also a founding member of the theatre group, Voices of Earth, and The National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Spotted by a talent agent when she was a 13-year-old student at the A.C.T. Young Conservatory (for performers 8-18), Winona Ryder has appeared in such films as Lucas, Beetlejuice, Looking For Richard, How To Make An American Quilt and Heathers.
--By David Lefkowitz