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Updated March 6, 2018

Austin's Michelle Polgar receives Equity's Lucy Jordan Award

Michelle Polgar holding her award

Michelle Polgar, a leader in the Austin arts community, has been named the recipient of the Lucy Jordan Award. Polgar was presented the award at the Austin/San Antonio area membership meeting in February.

In addition to serving as managing director of the Mary Moody Northen Theatre at St. Edwards University, Polgar also serves as commissioner/vice chair of Austin’s Arts Commission. "If there is a more dedicated dynamo in the Austin theatre community than Michelle Polgar, then I would be very surprised," said Equity member Robert Tolaro, who nominated Polgar for the award. Equity member Bill McMillin lauded Polgar, "You're getting this award because you have gone above and beyond in service to your students and to Equity members."

Though unable to attend the ceremony, Austin Mayor Steve Adler offered the following commendation: "Michelle Polgar has given so much to Austin’s arts community over the past two decades ... [and] in many different roles has been an important leader in making Austin a thriving home for great theater.”

In accepting the award, Polgar thanked the Equity members, remarking, ""It is an honor to work with all of you – this amazing community of artists – and to to support and nurture the incredible work you do.”

Recalling conversations early in her career about the value of paying artists, Polgar reflected, "It's important to create an environment where artists can do their best work." She also paid tribute to the three previous Austin-based recipients of the Lucy Jordan Award, who were all present at the awards ceremony.

The Lucy Jordan Award is a humanitarian award exclusive to Equity's Western Region, named for performer and Equity staff member Lucy Jordan (1927 – 1992). She brought a love of theater and a love for everyone involved to her job, as well as respect, fairness and a willingness to fight for what she believed in. She knew what it meant to make both a career and a living in theater, and that understanding was deeply appreciated by all who met her.

Equity is currently accepting nominations for next year's Lucy Jordan Award. In memory of Lucy Jordan, the award celebrates those in the Western Region’s theatrical family who show extraordinary support for actors and stage managers. The nomination form is available to download here.


Award pages:

Arizona Theatre Service
Diversity on Broadway

W Lucy Finney Jordan began her career as a ballerina and danced as a musical chorus gypsy. She met Glenn Jordan, a Stage Manager, and fell in love, becoming a wife and mother. Later, when Glenn became a producer, she wore the hat of Associate Producer for the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. When Glenn passed away, she knew she still needed the theatre in her life, and applied and was accepted for the position of Field Representative for the Western Region of AEA.

Lucy Jordan was a friend, advisor, and confidante to principals, chorus and stage managers alike. Whether at auditions, first rehearsals, opening nights or membership meetings, her office was open to all; and her home phone number was given to, and used by, many who needed to resolve an emergency or seek an opinion. For many people in the Western Region, Lucy Jordan was the face of the union. Ms. Jordan died on May 15, 1992 and this award in her honor was created that same year.

Recipients of the Lucy Jordan Recognition Award are:

  • 2017 - Michelle Polgar, Managing Director of the Mary Moody Northern Theatre at St. Edwards University
  • 2016 - Jay C. Sarno, San Diego arts leader
  • 2015 - No award given
  • 2014 - Mary Lou Westerfield, AEA Western Regional Director/Asst. Exec. Dir.
  • 2013 - Richard Connema, theatre critic
  • 2012 - Glenn Bruner, stage manager
  • 2011 - Connie McMillan, theatre supporter
  • 2010 - Lynne Soffer, actress, acting coach, teacher, and dialect coach
  • 2009 - Diane Ronneberg, wardrobe mistress and dresser
  • 2008 - Christopher Comte, Membership Director, Seattle Local AFTRA
  • 2007 - Rick Starr, Hollywood Sheet Music
  • 2006 - Don Toner, Managing Artistic Director/ Producer of the Austin Playhouse
  • 2005 - Dirk van Allen, actor and tireless theatre advocate
  • 2004 - Gordon Davidson, Artistic Director and Producer of Center Theatre Group
  • 2003 - Joseph Ruskin, Actor & AEA Councillor
  • 2002 - No award given
  • 2001 - Dr. Barry A. Kohn, Director & Physician of the Actors’ Fund Free Clinic
  • 2000 - Shawn Newmann, Western Regional Board Secretary
  • 1999 - Gary Marthaler, member of the Wardrobe Union
  • 1998 - Frank M. Young, Founder, President and CEO of Theatre Under The Stars and Executive Director of 5th Avenue Musical Theatre
  • 1997 - John Cauble, Signatory for Guest Artist for Universities
  • 1996 - Patricia MacDonald, House Manager of the Doolittle Theatre
  • 1995 - Tom Rolla, Gardenia Night Club
  • 1994 - Keith Stava, San Bernardino Civic Light Opera
  • 1993 - Howard Caine, Actor
  • 1992 - Iggie Wolfington, Actor & AEA Councillor Emeritus

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