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June 22, 2005

Christian Borle, Ari Graynor, Dana Ivey and Larry Bryggman Presented With Clarence Derwent, Richard Seff Awards At Equity’s Eastern Regional Board Meeting

Christian Borle and Ari Graynor, Dana Ivey and Larry Bryggman, were presented with Equity’s Clarence Derwent and Richard Seff Awards respectively, at the Eastern Regional Board meeting in New York City on June 21, 2005. The winners were previously announced following the decision by the Judges Panel on May 25th, and invited to the Board meeting to receive their awards. Eastern Regional Vice President Arne Gundersen introduced the honorees and guests before making each presentation.

Larry Bryggman,  Dana Ivey, Ari Graynor,  and Christian Borle

Larry Bryggman, Dana Ivey, Ari Graynor, and Christian Borle
Photo by John Quilty

The Clarence Derwent Awards honor the “most promising” female and male performers on the New York metropolitan scene. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the awards, which come with a $2,000 honorarium and engraved crystal plaque. Now in their second season, the newly-created Richard Seff Awards honor a female and male character actor, 50 years of age or older, for the best performance in a supporting role in a Broadway or Off-Broadway production. The Seff Awards include a $1,000 honorarium and engraved crystal trophy.

Ari Graynor was recognized with the Derwent Award for her performance as Alison in the Manhattan Theatre Club production of BROOKLYN BOY, which marked her both her Broadway and MTC debuts. “Brooklyn Boy was an amazing experience, both professionally and personally,’ said Ari, “but being young and now out of work - thinking ‘I’ve peaked at the age of 22 and now it’s all downhill’ is daunting. Receiving this award is a reminder, a symbol and a message to keep going, that there are good things to come.” Ari was joined at by her proud parents, agent and personal managers in accepting the award.

Christian Borle received the Derwent Award for his performance in SPAMALOT, in which he plays the roles of Historian, Not Dead Fred, French Guard, Minstrel, and Prince Herbert. “Like many actors, I’m more comfortable in front of a group of people if I’m hiding behind a character, rather than playing myself,” said Christian. “So when people have congratulated me, I tend to be self-deprecating, responding ‘yes, I won the Charles Darwin Award for the working actor with the most receding chin.’ But the truth is I am so honored to be here and am grateful for the award, to be added to the incredible list of previous winners.” Acknowledging the work of the Eastern Regional Board and the Association, he added: “Thank you for all the work you do for all of us.”

Dana Ivey is the 2005 recipient of the Richard Seff Award, for her performance as Mrs. Malaprop in the Lincoln Center production of THE RIVALS. (Her performance also garnered her a 2005 Tony Award nomination). Agent Richard Schmenner, who has represented Ms. Ivey since 1983, said “We grew up in the New York theatre together, and you have come to embrace her as I have. Dana is a national treasure and is much more than an actor: she is committed to our community and bringing theatre to further generations.” Playwright Alfred Uhry added: “Dana’s voice is in my ear all the time. I love her deeply and she deserves every award she gets.”

Accepting the award, Ms. Ivey thanked Richard Seff and the Judge’s Panel. “In truth, I’ve always been a character actor, and it’s so great to be recognized for that. I feel like it’s a culmination of a life of playing character roles.” Referring to Equity’s Council, she said, “I’m honored to be a part of this body and to be have recently been re-elected. I care very, very much about the New York theatre community and theatre in America in general.” She also thanked Mark Lamos, who directed her in THE RIVALS.

Larry Bryggman received the Richard Seff Award for his performances in the Atlantic Theatre Company production of ROMANCE and the Roundabout production of TWELVE ANGRY MEN. "I've been a member of Equity since the late 1950s, and it's a wonderful honor to be honored by your Union, your colleagues, your rank-and-file friends. I believe in this Union, and the one critique I have is really a compliment: that Actors' Equity is so damn democratic." He also acknowledged playwright David Mamet (ROMANCE) and director Scott Ellis (TWELVE ANGRY MEN).

For more information about the Clarence Derwent and Richard Seff Awards, click here.

David Lotz Communications Director

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