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The Rosetta LeNoire Award

AEA's 2009 Rosetta LeNoire Award Goes To Bethune Theatredanse, LA-Based Theatre/Dance Company

Prestigious Award To Be Presented Friday, April 3, 2009 During AEA's Membership Meeting in Hollywood

Actors' Equity Association will present its 2009 Rosetta LeNoire Award to Bethune Theatredanse, on Friday, April 3, 2009 at the AEA Membership Meeting in Hollywood, CA. Named for famed actress/producer and civil rights activist Rosetta LeNoire, the Award is given annually by AEA's combined regional Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Committees to recognize outstanding contributions made to the "universality of the human experience in the American Theatre" through either non-traditional or affirmative casting. Past recipients include Detroit Repertory Theatre, the National Asian-American Theatre Company, Milwaukee Rep, Deaf West and La Mama ETC.

"By celebrating individual expression and embracing a vision of society as a true tapestry of inclusion, Bethune Theatredanse is able to confront society's stereotypical judgment of deficiency," said Equity's Executive Director John Connolly." "Their work nurtures and challenges the heart and spirit, celebrates individual expression and builds confidence and pride. By focusing attention on disability as an area of experience, Bethune Theatredanse raises the consciousness of society and enriches the quality of all our lives."

Founded in 1980 by Artistic Director Zina Bethune, Bethune Theatredanse, was the first professional dance theatre in America to create a participatory program for disabled youth to learn and perform dance and drama. Their remarkable education and outreach program, "Infinite Dreams," began in 1982 with a class of 17 students and now boasts over 7,000 graduates.

Bethune Theatredanse-Infinite Dreams has been cited as an exemplary organization by the NEA has received commendations from Presidents Clinton, Bush and Reagan; Senator Dianne Feinstein, L.A. Mayors Antonio Villariagosa, Tom Bradley, Richard Riordan and James Hahn; and is a recipient of the U.N.'s "Medaille d'Excellence." Artistic Director Zina Bethune and Infinite Dreams have performed at the White House, the Kennedy Center, on national television with symphony orchestras and internationational tours.

They most recently produced "FROST AND FIRE" at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA, employing Equity performers on special Equity contracts.

Founder and Artistic Director Zina Bethune received early dance training from George Balanchine and has performed as a prima ballerina with such companies as the Royal Danish Ballet, the New York City Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. She has performed on Broadway, guest-starred on television and in feature films but is perhaps best known for her starring roles on the CBS prime time series "The Nurses" and the CBS daytime drama "Love of Life." As an activist, Ms Bethune worked diligently to pass the Americans Disability Act. In 1990 and 1996, she helped to form the document at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts which furthered the Arts and Disability Movement and the inclusion guidelines.

The presentation will take place at 11 am (Pacific Time) at AEA's Hollywood office, located at 6755 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90038.


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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