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September 25, 2003

Actors' Equity Foundation Establishes Richard Seff Award for Character Actors

Richard Seff

Richard Seff

Annual Award Recognizes Character Actors Who Are 50 Years or Older For Performances On and Off Broadway

Actors' Equity Foundation has established the Richard Seff Award, an annual award to be given to a male and female actor who is 50 years and who has been a member of the Association for 25 years or longer, for the best performance in a supporting role in a Broadway or Off Broadway production. The award consists of a $1000 honorarium plus a crystal trophy, which will be presented at the Equity Membership meeting in April.

The award honors actor, playwright, librettist and former agent Richard Seff, who has had a long and distinguished career with numerous Broadway, Off Broadway, and regional credits. After playing over 500 performances on Broadway and on tour in Sidney Kingsley's DARKNESS AT NOON, Seff left the stage to become an agent. During his agency years he represented John Kander and Fred Ebb, Chita Rivera, Nancy Dussault, Ron Field and Clark Gesner, among many others. He resigned his Vice Presidency at Creative Management Associates (now ICM) in l974 and returned to the stage as a character actor. Among his favorite roles are: Cheron in MODIGLIANI; Nelly in THE TRUTH TELLER; Paul Cowan in Arthur Kopit's END OF THE WORLD; Tom Bailey in ESTABLISHED PRICE; and Roger in THE MUSICAL COMEDY MURDERS OF 1940. Larger roles in regional theatres include Father Doherty in ANGELS FALL and Bradley in THE COCKTAIL HOUR.

"I've always felt that the character actor - the 'supporting player' - has gone unnoticed when it comes to awards," says Seff. "Leading supporting players are eligible for Tonys and Obies, but there are so many fine performances by older actors and actresses that simply get overlooked. I'd love to bring some attention to actors who've devoted a lifetime to their careers, to encourage them to continue, or at least to thank them for years of good work."

The Judges' Panel for the 2003-2004 awards are: Clive Barnes, New York Post; Irene Backalenick, Back Stage; Betty Corwin, Director of Special Projects, Theatre on Film and Tape Collection of the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts; Charles Isherwood, Variety; Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press; Patrick Quinn, President, Actors' Equity; David Rosenberg, Back Stage; Michael Sommers, Star Ledger/Newhouse Newspapers; Douglas Watt, New York Daily News; Carl Harms, Councillor Emeritus and President of the Actors' Equity Foundation.


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