On Monday, October 24 at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDC Foundation), the not-for-profit foundation of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, celebrated the 2015-2016 season’s Joe A. Callaway Award winners for Direction and Choreography. This year’s awards were presented to Sarah Benson for her direction of Futurity, produced by Soho Rep and Ars Nova, and to James Walski for his choreography of Trip of Love, at Stage 42. Director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Joshua Bergasse (the creative team behind the upcoming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) hosted the ceremony, which featured performances by David Elder and Martyn Axe from Trip of Love, and Sammy Tunis, César Alvarez, and Eric Farber from Futurity.
The ceremony included the presentation of the inaugural Breakout Award to director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar. This award, which will be given annually at the discretion of the SDC Foundation Board, recognizes an individual director or choreographer whose body of work shows particular promise, energy, and originality in the New York theatre and beyond.
Callaway Award Selection Committee, comprised of current longstanding SDC Members, also recognized this year’s finalists. The finalists for direction were Lila Neugebauer, John Gould Rubin, Bartlett Sher, and Rebecca Taichman. The finalists for choreography were Martha Clarke, Connor Gallagher, David Neumann, and Sergio Trujillo and Darrell Grand Moultrie.
The 2015-2016 Joe A. Callaway Award recognizes excellence in the crafts of directing and choreography during the New York City theatre season from September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016 and is the only award given by professional directors and choreographers to their peers for work on a specific production.
2015-2016 Callaway Committee Members were Sue Lawless, Chair; Jonathan Cerullo, Vice-Chair; William G. Martin Jr.; Barry McNabb; Edie Cowan; John Going; Richard Hamburger; DJ Salisbury; Amy Saltz; and Clinton Turner Davis
This award is given annually and serves as a complement to the Zelda Fichandler Award, which recognizes a regional director changing the landscape of their community, and the “Mr. Abbott” Award, presented in recognition of lifetime achievement in theatre.