February 23, 2023
30th ANNUAL LOS ANGELES WOMEN’S THEATRE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES HONOREES
The 30th Annual Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival (LAWTF) will honor seven women for their exceptional career and life achievements in the Opening Night Champagne GALA and Awards Ceremony on March 23, 2023, at 8:00 pm, preceded by a reception at 6:30 pm, at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, 4800 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90027. The theme of the GALA is CELEBRATION! Empowering Voices of Solo Female Performers for 30 Years.
The deserving honorees who have made laudable contributions to the world of theatre are listed here:
There are two recipients this year for the posthumous Infinity Award, memorializing the exceptional achievements of a theatre artist. They are Angela Lansbury and Denise Dowse.
- Angela Lansbury was born in London, where she received her early training as an actor. She began her professional career at age 16 singing Noel Coward songs at the Samovar Club in Montreal (lying about her age to get the job). At age 17, she won the role of the maid Nancy in the film Gaslight and scored the first of several Oscar ® nominations. She worked steadily in films before debuting on Broadway at age 31 in Hotel Paradiso. Her other Broadway credits included The Best Man, A Little Night Music, Blithe Spirit, Deuce, Mame, A Little Family Business, Sweeney Todd, The King and I, Gypsy, Dear World, Anyone Can Whistle, and A Taste of Honey. She received six Tony® Awards and three Drama Desk Awards, making her one of the most honored women in stage history. She had 68 film credits and received an Oscar for career achievement in 2014. She starred in 264 episodes and served as executive producer for the TV series Murder, She Wrote.
Accepting the award for Ms. Lansbury will be actor Loretta Swit (M.A.S.H.).
- Denise Dowse was a director and actor. Best known to national audiences for her roles in the TV series Insecure, Beverly Hills 90210, and The Guardian, she also appeared in some three dozen feature films. She appeared on local stages in Three Times a Lady, Sassy Mamas, Above the Line, Othello, South of Where We Live, Darker Face of the Earth, and more. She was a five-time recipient of the NAACP Theatre Award for directing. Her directing credits include Daughters of the Mock (Negro Ensemble Company), Recorded in Hollywood (Kirk Douglas Theatre), Hairspray, Mulatto Math, and more. She trained a new generation of artists at Amazing Grace Conservatory. She directed the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival GALA in 2019. She also directed the feature film Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story.
- Evelyn Rudie will be bestowed with the Eternity Award, presented to an artist or individual whose lifetime achievements have made a lasting contribution to the world of theatre. Evelyn grew up as a child star – receiving an Emmy nomination at age 6 and a star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame at age 9! This year, Evelyn celebrates 50 years of Co-Artistic Director leadership (together with Chris DeCarlo) of Santa Monica Playhouse and is Co-Founder of Actors’ Repertory Theatre, the Young Professional’s Company, the Mobile Touring Project, the Schools Theatre Excursion Project, the American Cultural Youth Ambassadors and the BFF Free Festival of Theatre, the only free fringe festival on the West Coast. She has performed and directed on three continents and in 11 countries. Her original musicals have performed globally for more than a quarter of a million people to date.
- Veralyn Jones will be the recipient of the Integrity Award, presented to an artist or individual who has brought credibility and dignity to her work. Veralyn is known for her work with Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, with roles in Richard III, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Winter’s Tale, and more. She is a member of A Noise Within’s (ANW’s) Board of Directors. At ANW, she performed in Gem of the Ocean, Seven Guitars, Madwoman of Chaillot, and Argonautika. She is a founding member and Co-Associate Producer of Lower Depths Theatre Company, supporting BIPOC stories and artists. She is a member of the Antaeus Theatre Company and the Actors Studio and has performed at South Coast Rep, Denver Center, Mark Taper Forum, and the Kirk Douglas Theatre. She will appear in recurring roles in two upcoming TV series., Lady in the Lake and The Girls on the Bus.
Two artists will receive the Maverick Award this year. This award is presented to an artist or individual whose work has set a high standard of individuality and self-styled creativity. The designated recipients are Bonnie He and Mary Apick.
- Bonnie He is an Asian American actor, improviser, clown, and physical comedian. She was in the short film, The New Empress, with Maggie Gyllenhaal and was on a Second City – Hollywood house improv team. Her solo show, A Terrible Show for Terrible People, is a 50-minute physical comedy show with only 2 words. A Terrible Show for Terrible People has won multiple awards, including Fringiest Show at the 2023 Orlando Fringe Winter Mini-Fest, Best Comedy at the 2022 Hollywood Fringe Festival, and the Craziest Solo Show award at the 2019 inaugural Crazy Woke Asians Solo Performance Festival. Additionally, A Terrible Show for Terrible People has toured nationally from Second City – Hollywood’s Diversity in Comedy Festival to The Brick’s NY Clown Theatre Festival. Mary Apick, an award-winning actor, director, and producer, began her career as a child, starring in countless films, television shows, and plays in Iran. She won her country’s first Best Actress Award at the Moscow Film Festival for Dead End. Fleeing the Revolution, she continued her work in the United States, starring with Edward James Olmos in the movie Monday Nights at Seven, Sally Kirkland and Paul Sorvino in Price for Freedom, The Mission, Checkpoint, multiple episodes of Homeland, and several award-winning short films. Her Critic’s Choice play, Beneath the Veil, has been presented at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, The Geffen Playhouse, and many other venues. Her short, animated film, The Cat, won 26 international film festival awards, including at Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Montreal, and the Moscow Film Festival.
- Licia Perea will receive the Rainbow Award, bestowed on an artist or individual for her diverse contributions to fostering non-traditional and multicultural theatre works. Licia has an MA in Choreography/Performance from the University of New Mexico. Licia has taught and performed professionally as a soloist throughout the USA and internationally with her first company, Danzantes, and then with Latina Dance Project. She has been on the Western States Arts Federation Touring Roster and was a member of the Yellow Springs Group. Licia has choreographed and performed in musicals, operas, music videos, commercials, and films, and has worked extensively in many improvisational performance settings. She was the Director of Dance at the Bootleg Theater in LA, where she produced the highly successful BlakTinx Dance Festival and the Shut Up & DANCE – a Hip Hop Festival!
There will be special performances at the GALA in addition to the awards presentation. Performers include:
- Morgana Shaw in All About Bette. In this excerpt, Morgana breathes life into historical icon Bette Davis, who fought to play characters with strength, brains, and depth.
- Christina Linhardt. A classical vocalist with amazing range and expressiveness, Christina soars through song. Selections include O mio babbino caro (from Puccini’s opera Gianni Schicchi) and Time to Say Goodbye.
- Ashley Gayle. Study on a Butterfly, choreographed by Raissa Simpson, is a dance solo about transformation and metamorphism danced by Ashley Gayle.
Founded by Executive Producer Adilah Barnes and Miriam Reed, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival is an Annual Event unique among Los Angeles cultural institutions and should not be missed as LAWTF celebrates its 30th year.
The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival is a non-profit arts organization supported in part by Lendistry, California Arts Council, Los Angeles County Arts and Culture, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, City National Bank, The California Wellness Foundation, City of Culver City, Women in Media, KPFK, Anonymous Foundation, Exhibit Partners, and Adilah Barnes Productions.
Tickets to the March 23 GALA are $60 each or $100 a pair (including reception). Tickets to each of the weekend’s other five shows are $25 for early birds (through March 10) and $30 thereafter. A VIP all-access pass for the entire weekend is $150. Reservations will be available at (818) 760-0408 or go to http://www.lawtf.orgTo join and follow LAWTF on Facebook and Twitter, click on their links at http://www.lawtf.org