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    Posted October 27, 2007

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Barrymore Awards Boost Philadelphia Equity Actors, Theatres

Walnut Street Theatre Garners AEA Award for Excellence in Theatre Education/Community Service

Back (L-R) David Lotz, Jim DiBasio, John Connolly, Chris Sapienza
Front (L-R) Tom Helmer, Julie Czarnecki, Zalina Hoosein, Ed Sabato

The 13th annual Barrymore Awards, sponsored by the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, were held on October 1, 2007 at the Crystal Tearoom in Center City. Hosted by Equity actors Greg Wood and Chris Faith, the black-tie gala acknowledged excellence in Philadelphia-area theatres and honored individuals and organizations who have contributed to the city's vibrant theatre scene. Two LORT theatres, the Walnut Street Theatre and the Arden Theatre, captured multiple awards for their productions of OF MICE AND MEN and CAROLINE, OR CHANGE, respectively.

For the first time, Actors' Equity became an official sponsor at the Barrymores, naming the Excellence in Theatre Education and Community Services Award, which was given to the Walnut Street Theatre for promoting professional theatre education programs in the community. The award also included a cash prize, sponsored by the Harvey and Virginia Kimmel Arts Education Fund.

Also nominated for the Equity award were the 1812 Productions (SPT), the Lantern Theatre Company (SPT) and the Philadelphia Theatre Company (LORT).

"We are very proud to be part of the Barrymore Awards this year," said John P. Connolly, Equity's Executive Director and Philadelphia native, who attended the ceremony. "The theatrical community is one of Philadelphia's crown jewels and Equity members provide much of the sparkle." He also acknowledged the hard work of the Philadelphia Area Liaison Committee, led by Christopher Sapienza and Councillor Tom Helmer, who were joined at the Equity table by committee members Julie Czarnicki, Jim DiBasio, Pat and Ed Sabato, Senior Bus. Rep. Zalina Hoosein, Bus. Rep. Joe Erdey, and National Communications Director David Lotz.

Equity has a strong presence in Philadelphia, with more than 700 members who live and work in the area. The Walnut Street Theatre, The Wilma Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Act II Playhouse, The Arden Theatre Company, 1812 Productions, the People's Light & Theatre Company and The Lantern Theatre Company-all 2007 Barrymore Award nominees-are among the numerous Equity theatres in Philadelphia and surrounding regions.

"Best Actor" awards went to Joilet F. Harris (CAROLINE, OR CHANGE), Rob McClure (BOMBITTY OF ERRORS), Susan Riley Stevens (BAD DATES), and John Campion (LIFE OF GALILEO), while "Best Supporting" honors went to Charlotte Northeast (SKIN IN FLAMES), Harry Philibosian (GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS), Dee Hoty (STORMY WEATHER, IMAGINING LENA HORNE) and Dave Jadico (THE FANTASTICKS).

Congratulations to all of the nominees at this year's gala ! For a complete list of nominees and winners, visit:

AEA staffers Joe Erdey, Zalina Hoosein, David Lotz

John P. Connolly and Phila Theatre Alliance Director Margie Salvante

Tom Helmer, Tom McCarthy, Julie Czarnecki

Small world: Long-time AEA member Dolly Beechman played Noah's wife in TWO BY TWO in summer stock. Her sons were played by President Mark Zimmerman and John P. Connolly.

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