On Monday night a packed house gathered at Playwrights Horizons people in NYC to celebrate women working in theatre. A bunch of people including playwrights Theresa Rebeck and Marsha Norman who call themselves the “Committee for the Recognition of Outstanding Women in Theater,” pulled together an awards ceremony in a couple of weeks to celebrate the great women working in the theatre who seem to constantly be overlooked at awards time.
I’m going to do a longer piece next week for The Women’s Media Center on the awards, but I wanted to share Kristin Chenoweth’s statement on her award. Rob Ashford read her statement because she was under the weather. (Chenoweth was overlooked this year for her performance in Promises, Promises.)
I’ve asked Rob to speak in a higher voice so it’s almost like I’m there. It of course kills me that I’m not. I’ve been out 2 shows with a trachea infection. Sucks! You see, when I was first told that I, along with Mary Rodgers would be the first recipient of the “Lilly” awards, my heart leapt. First of all, I look up to Ms. Rodgers, so congrats to you Mary! In graduate school at Oklahoma City University, my thesis was on Leonard Bernstein and Lillian Hellman. She is described as a woman who was an activist, a writer, a lover, and a fighter. I wouldn’t begin to put myself on the same level as this woman but through researching her as a young student of 21, I learned by her example. She was someone I wanted to emulate.
I look at my career as a quilt: one that I’m slowly continuing to put together, just as she did. I’ve played everything from a cartoon character,a girl from Oz, and now a woman who has to look deep into herself as to why she would be ok with a man not deserving of her. I’ve grown through each of these characters and can not wait to see what the next part of my “quilt” will be.
I’d like to thank this beautiful committee, especially Teresa Rebeck, for their insight and encouragement. All the women involved, thank you for this amazing honor. It is one I don’t take lightly, and am very proud to have received. I of course, must thank Rob for accepting this on my behalf. I also have to thank him for trusting me to be the one to tell the story of Fran in PROMISES, PROMISES. Truly one of the most special experiences I’ve had on stage. Rob is a director I put all my trust in and I love him dearly. I promise next year I will be there to “represent”. My sincerest and most heartfelt thanks.
It was a seriously empowering evening.
Theater femmes grow Lilly awards (Variety)