In a virtual ceremony tonight, Wednesday, April 28, from 6 p.m., The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation will present the organization’s 2021 Idea Awards for theatre. Founded by the bequest of the late theatrical agent Adams (who represented the likes of Phylicia Rashad, Judy Kaye, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Sherman Helmsley, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Eve Arden, Christine Ebersole, Kathleen Marshall, Jayne Wyman, Andre DeShields, Kathy Bates and Susan H. Schulman, among many others) and her partner, Dr. Reisch (also a theater enthusiast), the awards were created to encourage illuminating concepts in broad, idea-driven theater while advocating visionary playwrights with new perspectives. and embrace diversity in all its forms, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds.
Honors in three categories are awarded annually by the Foundation to adventurous new voices in playwriting and musical theatre, as well as playwrights who have inspired and paved the way before them. Nominations for the three awards are accepted exclusively by the Foundation’s Council of Artistic Advisors. This year, instead of naming a winner for each award, Vice President and Board Member Bruce Ostler explained that “to meet both the financial needs of the theater community and the need for meaningful stories and resonant, we reward nine artists. in our three categories: new; new musicals; and distinguished career. We hope these nine writers, all diverse in form and substance, will bring the torch back to the theater and show us new ways of imagining.
Moderated by nominee Tony Daniel J. Watts (hamilton, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical), the free online presentation will feature the winners in conversation with the industry leaders of their choice, including Obie-winning director Michael Greif, actor David Alan Grier, three-time Tony and Grammy nominee , and Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Keith Glover. In addition to discussions, winners of the musical theater category will also perform songs.
Agyeiwaa Asante and Haruna Lee are the recipients of this year’s Ollie New Play Award. The 2021 Vivace Musical Theater Awards will be presented to Kirsten Childs (The bubbly black girl loses her chameleon skin, Bella: An American Tale), team of composers/lyricists Jay Adana and Zeniba Now, and Troy Anthony. Recognizing original work with ambitious theatrical ideas, both prizes are awarded with a $30,000 prize, and each of the performers will also receive a unique hand-sculpted marble statuette.
The 2021 Tooth of Time Distinguished Career Awards, with a $20,000 prize and a statuette for each recipient, will be presented to Jessica Hagedorn (dog eaters, Felix Starro), Cherrie Moraga (The hungry woman, heroes and saints), and OyamO (I am a man, The Resurrection of Lady Lester).
The 2021 Idea Awards ceremony for Theater streams at 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 28, on the Awards Youtube channel. Viewing is free.