The Joe A. Callaway Award
Suzanne Bertish and Paxton Whitehead Receive Equity Foundation Classic Theatre Award
Suzanne Bertish and Paxton Whitehead have received the 2014 Joe A. Callaway Award presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation. The award, honoring the best performance in a professional production of a classic play — one written prior to 1920 — in the New York metropolitan area, was presented at Equity’s Eastern Regional Membership Meeting on January 9, 2015, at the Equity office in New York City.
Both performers were recognized for their performances in The Heir Apparent by David Ives, adapted from the 18th century play by Jean-François Regnard presented by the Classic Stage Company.
In addition, Bertish was cited for her performance in the Roundabout Theatre production of Machinal. She has worked extensively in London and with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she received an Olivier Award for her performance in Nicolas Nickleby. Her work in America includes The Molière Comedies, for which she received a Tony nomination; The Art of Success; Wit; Skirmishes, which brought her a Theatre World Award; and Richard III at The Public Theater, among many other plays.
Upon winning the award, she said, “I’m unbelievably honored and touched to receive this. Since moving here three years ago, so many people have made me feel so welcomed to this community and this city. And for that, I’m humbled.”
Paxton Whitehead has appeared on Broadway in, among other plays, The Importance of Being Earnest; Absurd Person Singular; Lettice and Lovage; Noises Off, for which he received a Drama Desk Award; Camelot, where he received a Tony nomination; The Crucifer of Blood; A Little Hotel on the Side; and Artist Descending a Staircase. He played Colonel Pickering and later Henry Higgins in the Broadway revival of My Fair Lady, garnering a Helen Hayes Award for his performance.
Accepting the award, Whitehead recounted stories of “pink gin” he shared with his introducer, friend and colleague Jack O’Brien, and about the unseemly characters he has played during his career — “This is why I’m keeping the check,” he said.
Established by Equity member Joe A. Callaway in 1989, the award includes a $1,000 check plus a commemorative engraved plaque for each recipient.
Previous recipients of the Callaway include Laura Ambrose, Kate Burton, Byron Jennings, Frank Langella, Laura Linney, Lily Rabe, Liev Schreiber and, in 2013, Jonathan Cake and J. Smith Cameron. The Actors’ Equity Foundation, a philanthropic and humanitarian non-profit organization, was created in 1962 to aid and assist the members of the acting profession and to promote the theatre arts. It is separate from Actors’ Equity Association and is funded by estate bequests and individual donations.
The 2014 Joe A. Callaway Award winners, Suzanne Bertish (left) and Paxton Whitehead (right), along with the 2014 St. Claire Bayfield Award winner Amanda Quaid (center).
credit: Stephanie Masucci
Arizona Theatre Service
Diversity on Broadway
Established by Equity member Joe A. Callaway in 1989 to encourage participation in the classics and non-profit theatre.