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The Rosetta LeNoire Award

Christine Toy Johnson Receives AEA's Rosetta LeNoire Award

Christine Toy Johnson

Christine Toy Johnson

Christine Toy Johnson, a highly-respected actor/writer/producer, Equity Council member and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry, has been named the recipient of AEA's prestigious 2013 Rosetta LeNoire Award. The Award will be presented at Association's Eastern Regional Membership meeting on Friday April 12, 2013 in New York City.

The Rosetta LeNoire Award, established in 1988, recognizes outstanding artistic contributions to the universality of the human experience in American Theater. The Award is given to an individual, theater or producing organization with an exemplary record in the hiring or promotion of ethnic minorities, female actors and actors with disabilities through multi-racial and/or non-traditional casting.

Christine Toy Johnson has worked throughout her entire career to eliminate cultural and racial barriers in theatre, film and television, and has been an articulate advocate for broader issues of cultural diversity and inclusion, including disability. She has been on the front lines of bringing awareness to casting directors, directors and producers about the discrimination and lack of employment opportunities that Asian and Asian-American artists face.

As an actress, Christine has always made a point of auditioning for roles that are normally given to non-Asian actors, challenging the preconceptions of those with casting authority. She has succeeded in these efforts and her resume is noteworthy for the number of roles she has played non-traditionally in numerous Broadway, touring, regional, off-Broadway and other Equity productions across the country.

Over the past ten years, Ms. Johnson produced and co-directed the award-winning documentary feature film, "Transcending - the Wat Misaka Story," (based on the life of the Japanese-American basketball star who played with the 1947 Knicks), and has written 11 plays, a musical libretto and four screenplays. These works were included in the Library of Congress Asian-Pacific American Performing Arts Collection in 2010 and she has received 13 grant awards from arts funding organizations in support of her work.

Ms. Johnson has been recognized by the Japanese-American Citizens League for her "exemplary leadership and dedication" and in 2012, she received the Asian-American Arts Alliance Wai Look Award for "Outstanding Service to the Arts."

A member of Equity's Council since 1992, Ms. Johnson has served on numerous committees including the Eastern Region's Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Committee (Co-Chair); the joint AEA-Broadway League EEO Committee; the Equity News Committee (Chair); as well as several negotiating teams. She spearheaded the union's Asian Heritage Month celebrations and is a founding member of AAPAC, the Asian American Performing Arts Coalition, which has provoked a meaningful, industry dialogue about the lack of representation of Asian-American actors on American stages. She has served on the Board of the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts for 13 years.


Award pages:

Arizona Theatre Service
Diversity on Broadway

Established in 1988, the award was named in honor of the actress Rosetta LeNoire, who was also the first recipient, not only because of her body of work in the theatre - and her work with the then titled Actors' Equity Association's Ethnic Minorities Committee - but also for founding the AMAS Repertory Theatre Company

Recipients of the Rosetta LeNoire Award are:

Year Recipient
1989 Rosetta LeNoire
1990 Mixed Blood Theatre, Minneapolis
1991 Milwaukee Repertory Theatre
1992 Joseph Papp & the New York Shakespeare Festival
1993 Crossroads Theatre, New Brunswick
1994 Wynn Handman and The American Place Theatre
1995 Philip Rose
1996 Ellen Stewart, artistic director, La MaMa E.T.C.
1997 Walter J. Turnbull, Boys Choir of Harlem
1998 Sacramento Light Opera Association
1999 Dennis Zacek and Marcelle McVay, Victory Gardens Theatre
2000 Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston MA
2001 Sharon Jensen, The Non-Traditional Casting Project / Doug Mann, The Chicago Theatre Company
2002 Eric Krebs
2003 North Shore Music Theatre/Deaf West Theatre
2004 Kitty Lunn and Infinity Dance Theatre
2005 Woodie King, Jr.
2006 Mia Katigbak And National Asian-American Theatre Company
2007 Willie Boston
2008 Detroit Repertory Theatre
2009 Bethune Theatredanse
2010 Jackie Taylor
2011 Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles
2012 Philadelphia's InterAct Theatre Company
2013 Christine Toy Johnson
2014 The San Francisco Mime Troupe
2015 Weston Playhouse Theatre Company
2016 E. Faye Butler
2017 Joseph Haj and the Guthrie Theater
Ten Thousand Things Theater

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