Janine DiVita, who graduates this year from the University of Michigan, is the first recipient of the Actors' Equity Association/Alan Eisenberg Award, which will be given annually to a student in the Musical Theatre Program at the school. She was awarded the grant, in the amount of $5,000, at the University of Michigan Alumni Dinner on May 10th.
In recognition of Mr. Eisenberg's 25 years of dedicated service to Equity as the Union's Executive Director, an endowment for students in the Musical Theater Program at the University of Michigan, Eisenberg's alma mater, was established. Equity presented $20,000 to the fund and donations from Eisenberg's colleagues in the theatrical community raised an additional $100,000.
"I am deeply moved by the support the Union and the industry has demonstrated for this award," said Mr. Eisenberg. "Janine DiVita is a promising young actress who will make Actors' Equity and the University of Michigan extremely proud."
Brent Wagner, Chair, Department of Musical Theater at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, was on hand for the presentation. Earlier in the evening he hosted the student auditions for New York casting directors and agents. He expressed his gratitude for the establishment of the award. "We are greatly indebted to Alan for initiating this award, and for being a marvelous supporter of our department and a great link to the industry."
"I'm grateful to receive this award, especially because it's associated with Actors' Equity," said Ms. DiVita. "It is truly an honor and this award will help with my goal of moving to New York to pursue my acting career."
Ms. DiVita graduated this year with a B.F.A. in Musical Theater from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she also earned her B.A. in Communications. A member of Equity since 2005, the Overland, Kansas native has appeared in the Muny productions of Annie Get Your Gun and Singin' In The Rain, Hello, Dolly! at the Kansas City Starlight, and starring roles in The Sound of Music, Anything Goes and Cinderella, among others. Her work at the University of Michigan includes roles in Urinetown, Company, City of Angels and Playing for Time.