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The St. Clair Bayfield Award

Louis Cancelmi Receives Equity Foundation Shakespeare Award

Louis Cancelmi received the annual St. Clair Bayfield Award presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation for his performance as Achilles in the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Troilus and Cressida. The award was presented at Actors’ Equity

Association’s Eastern Regional Membership Meeting at 2 p.m. on January 9, 2017, at the Equity office in New York City. Established in 1973 in memory of Equity member St. Clair Bayfield, the award honors the best performance in a supporting role by an actor in a Shakespearean play in the New York City metropolitan area. The recipient receives a $1,000 check and an engraved crystal plaque.

The award was presented to Cancelmi, by Sam Waterston, who was not only the Prosperto to Cancelmi’s Caliban in a prior Shakespeare in the Park production of The Tempest, but is also Cancelmi’s father-in-law. Although Waterston was not able to see Cancelmi’s Achilles due to his own performing schedule, he joked, “He was magnificent as Caliban; he was almost as great as he was as Achilles in Troilus.”

Waterston continued, “Based on what I saw you do in The Tempest and elsewhere, and based on all I’ve heard, I know your Achilles was good. It was great. It was out there. It was daring. It was complete. It was beautifully thought out. It was yours. It was physically committed. I wouldn’t want to miss it—even if I did.”

Cancelmi’s performance is even more notable due to the circumstances in which he stepped into the role, replacing David Harbour who was injured during previews. Cancelmi reflected on this experience in his remarks, saying he was grateful to step into a show already in fantastic shape due to an exceptionally talented—and welcoming—cast. He also thanked director Dan Sullivan “who not only invited me into the company, but really let me create what I could of my own Achilles in a very short period of time.” Cancelmi has performed at regional theaters including the Arena Stage (Washington, DC), Steppenwolfe Theatre Company (Chicago), Huntington Theatre Company (Boston) and Yale Rep (New Haven), as well as Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center, Playwrights Horizons, the Public Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and SoHo Rep. He appeared on Broadway in Blasted and Vincent in Brixton.

The judges for the Bayfield Award are: Joe Dziemianowicz, Daily News: Adam Feldman, Time Out New York; Susan Haskins, Theater Talk; Harry Haun, Playbill; and David Rosenberg, The Hour Newspapers.


Award pages:

Arizona Theatre Service
Diversity on Broadway

Established in 1973 in memory of Equity member St. Clair Bayfield, the Award honors the best performance by an actor in a Shakespearean play in the New York metropolitan area.

Recipients of the St. Clair Bayfield Award are:

Year Recipient Role Play Production
1973 Barnard Hughes Dogberry MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING New York Shakespeare Festival
1974 Randy Kim Trinculo THE TEMPEST New York Shakespeare Festival
1975 John Glover Clown THE WINTER'S TALE New York Shakespeare Festival
1976 Carolyne McWilliams Mariana MEASURE FOR MEASURE New York Shakespeare Festival
1977 No Award
1978 Carmen De Lavallade Emelia OTHELLO New York Shakespeare Festival
1979 Robert Christian Aufidius CORIOLANUS New York Shakespeare Festival
1980 No award
1981 Ralph Drischell Earl of Worchester HENRY IV New York Shakespeare Festival
1982 Tom Spackman Edmund KING LEAR New York Shakespeare Festival
1983 Concetta Tomei Queen Elizabeth RICHARD III New York Shakespeare Festival
1984 Anthony Heald Fluellen HENRY V New York Shakespeare Festival
1985 No award
1986 Nathan Lane Pompey MEASURE FOR MEASURE New York Shakespeare Festival
1987 No Award
1988 Bradley Whitford Paris ROMEO AND JULIET New York Shakespeare Festival
1989 Keith David Aufidius CORLIOLANUS New York Shakespeare Festival
1990 Dana Ivey Gertrude HAMLET New York Shakespeare Festival
1991 Bryon Jennings Pericles PERICLES New York Shakespeare Festival
1992 Elizabeth McGovern Rosalind AS YOU LIKE IT New York Shakespeare Festival
1993 Michael Cumpsty Alcibiades TIMON OF ATHENS National Theatre
1994 Malcom Gets Proteus TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA New York Shakespeare Festival
1995 Stephen Spinella Pandarus TROILUS & CRESSIDA New York Shakespeare Festival
1996 Nicholas Kepros Escalus MEASURE FOR MEASURE Theatre for a New Audience
1997 Jayne Atkinson Katherine HENRY VIII New York Shakespeare Festival
1998 Brian Murray Toby Belch TWELFTH NIGHT Lincoln Center
1999 Max Wright Christopher Sly TAMING OF THE SHREW New York Shakespeare Festival
2000 Rachel Botchan Lady Ann RICHARD III Pearl Theatre
2001 Andrew Weems Thersites TROILUS & CRESSIDA Theatre for a New Audience
2002 Ray Virta Benedick MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Pearl Theatre
2003 Dakin Matthews Glendower / Warwick HENRY IV Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre
2004 Carman Lacivita multiple characters ROSE RAGE: HENRY VI, 1,2,3 Chicago Shakespeare Theater
2005 Colm Feore Cassius JULIUS CAESAR  
2006 George Morfogen Duke of York RICHARD II Classic Stage Company
2007 Jay O. Sanders Bottom A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Public Theatre
2008 Stark Sands   THE TEMPEST Classic Stage Company
2009 David Pittu   TWELFTH NIGHT Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park
2010 Charles Kimbrough Prince of Arragon THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Public Theatre
2011 Nick Westrate Berowne LOVE’S LABOR’S LOST Public Theatre
2012 David Furr Orlando AS YOU LIKE IT Public Theatre
2014 Amanda Quaid Dionyza PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE Public Theater Mobile Shakespeare Unit
2015 Andy Grotelueschen Launce TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA Fiasco Theater
2016 Louis Cancelmi Achilles TROILUS AND CRESSIDA Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park
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