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    Posted August 7, 2012

< return to 2012 archives

Equity Receives Honorary Henry Award

By Shelly Gaza, Chair
Denver Liaison Committee

On July 16th, at the 7th Annual Henry Awards in Denver, the Colorado Theatre Guild presented Actors’ Equity Association with a special “Henry” in celebration of its 100th Anniversary. Randy Weeks, President of The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, presented the award to First Vice President Paige Price and Western Region Director Mary Lou Westerfield.

(L-R) AEA members Chaz Grundy, Rachel Fowler, First VP Paige Price, Denver Liaison Shelly Gaza, WRD Mary Lou Westerfield and Betsey Cassell (Photo: Brian Landis Folkis)

In his presentation speech to the enthusiastic crowd at the L2 Arts and Culture Center, Mr. Weeks spoke about the history of our Union – from the drafting of its constitution in 1913; to its support of the Civil Rights Movement when, in 1947, it boycotted the National Theatre in Washington D.C. for barring African Americans from attending productions; to a strike in 1960 which closed all Broadway theatres for 13 days and culminated in the creation of the Equity-League Pension and Health Trust Fund.

Mr. Weeks also spoke of his own experience with AEA as the producer of the Garner Galleria Theatre in Denver, saying, “My personal experience with the union has been nothing less than supportive, educational, and quite honestly delightful.” He went on to express what a positive presence Equity has been to Denver’s theatre community. “Many theatres in our community are now under Equity Contracts because of the desire of the Union to assist and support theatres in making the change to a Union contract. May we continue to build the Union theatres in our town, and we can do so because of the support and commitment that we have received from Actor’s Equity.”

Another special award was presented that evening to AEA Member Tom McNally for his Lifetime Achievement in Theatre. Mr. McNally, who is currently a Professor of Theatre Arts at The University of Northern Colorado and the Artistic Director of The Little Theatre of the Rockies, has had a long career as both an actor and a director. But, during his touching and humorous acceptance speech, it was McNally’s many years as a devoted and gifted theatre teacher that received the most enthusiastic applause, as many of his students – now theatre professionals themselves - were in the house that night.

2012 Henry Awards were also given to Equity Members Megan Van De Hey (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical, RAGTIME at The Arvada Center), Tally Sessions (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical, CHESS at The Arvada Center), and Lise Bruneau (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play, HEARTBREAK HOUSE at The Denver Center).

(L-R) Denver Liaison Shelly Gaza, WRD Mary Lou Westerfield, and Chaz Grundy with AEA’s 2012 Henry Award

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