The Clarence Derwent Award
Broadway Newcomers Earn the Oldest Award on the Great White Way
David Hyde Pierce presented the award to 2015 Clarence Derwent Award-winner Josh Grisetti.
photo: Stephanie Masucci
This year, Phillipa Soo from the Broadway-bound Hamilton and Josh Grisetti of It Shoulda Been You have been named the Actors’ Equity Foundation’s 2015 Clarence Derwent Award winners, recognizing a promising female and male performer on the New York metropolitan scene. Established in 1945 by Clarence Derwent, distinguished actor and president of Equity from 1946-1952, the award is the oldest on Broadway.
Grisetti was presented with the award at Equity’s Eastern Regional Board meeting at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at the Equity office in New York. Speaking on behalf of Soo, who was unable to attend, was Hamilton co-star Jasmine Cephas Jones.
“I owe much of my success to the people who chose to listen to me,” Jones said on behalf of Soo. “Thank you for listening — for hearing me.”
Soo was recognized for her performance as Eliza Hamilton in the Public Theater production of Hamilton. A graduate of Juilliard, she performed Off-Broadway in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, and regionally with the Berkshire Theatre Group and Two River Theater. She also appeared on NBC’s Smash.
Introducing Grisetti, It Shoulda Been You director David Hyde Pierce said, “Josh has something that when he walks on the stage, he owns it. We feels so proud that we got to put him on Broadway.”
It Shoulda Been You marked Grisetti’s Broadway debut. Off-Broadway he appeared in Red Eye of Love, Peter and the Starcatcher, Rent, Enter Laughing (for which he received a Theatre World Award), Candida and After the Ball. He also appeared in Diner at the Signature Theatre, Camelot at the Kennedy Center and received a Los Angeles Ovation Award for his performance in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
“This award was kind of exactly what I needed at this part of my life and career,” Grisetti said. “I want you to know how sincerely this lands for me.”
The judges’ panel includes Joe Dziemianowicz, Daily News; Adam Feldman, Time Out New York; Susan Haskins-Doloff, Theater Talk; Harry Haun, Playbill and David Rosenberg, The Hour Newspapers.
Arizona Theatre Service
Diversity on Broadway
Unknown to anyone but his sister and lawyer, Clarence Derwent had stipulated in his will that two five hundred dollar prizes were to be given out annually to the best individual supporting performances on Broadway. He had originally planned to have the awards given out only after his death, but, he reflected, “The amount of fun one can have from one’s money when underground is strictly limited…” So the Derwent Awards began in 1945.
To read more about Clarence Derwent click here...