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SMA to Bestow Del Hughes Awards for Lifetime Achievement during Virtual Event Oct. 25

Michael S. Eddy • NewsStage DirectionsTheater News • October 13, 2021

On Monday October 25th, 2021, the Stage Managers’ Association (SMA) will virtually present its annual Del Hughes Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Art of Stage Management, live from NYC and Las Vegas. The 2021 honorees are distinguished theatrical stage managers Ruth E. Kramer and Lynda A. Lavin, television stage manager Arthur Lewis, and in-memoriam legendary Broadway stage manager Charles Allen Blackwell. In addition to these Lifetime Achievement Awards, the SMA will honor the 101 Black Stage Managers celebration with a Special Recognition Award.

The Del Hughes honor is awarded to those who represent the finest qualities and artistic achievement in stage management throughout their lifelong career. Instituted in 1986, the award was named for Del Hughes, who had an illustrious career as a Broadway and television stage manager as well as a TV director from 1933 to the 1970s. Honorees are chosen each February from nominations submitted by industry members.

The event is available virtually on Monday, October 25th, 2021 at 8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT.  Registration is required and the event is free.  Go to https://SMADH2021.eventbrite.com to register.

Elynmarie Kazle, Chair of the Stage Managers’ Association, highlights that “Stage Managers took time during this recent intermission to both educate the industry on our role as well as to take a deep dive into what our industry is and what it can be.  I trust that all have emerged like me with renewed hope for a future that is more humane and inclusive to all and welcoming to emerging artists.  We continue to be essential in the event-making, artistic process.  The artists we honor tonight exemplify the excellence that comes only from a career well practiced and a life well lived.  It is my pleasure to join the celebration of every artist honored by the Stage Managers’ Association at this year’s event.”

In speaking personally about the meaning of this award, Honoree Ruth E. Kramer expressed “A lifetime in Stage Management cannot be achieved without skilled and talented colleagues. These colleagues then become friends who are family, and the community that nurtures and supports longevity, joy and a lifetime body of work.”

Honoree Lynda A. Lavin shares that “After spending my entire career Stage Managing tours on the road, and around the world, I can’t think of a better way to enter into my retirement. This award is the perfect way to complete the 41-year tour I’ve been on.  I always thought my retirement would be the end of the road, but this award makes me feel like a new highway has opened.  The roads, and bridges between shows may change over the years, but new avenues present themselves all the time.  I’m excited for the new changes I see coming up in the business, and the new energy I see in the next generation of Stage Managers.  A great road map has been laid out by those who have traveled these roads before you.  Safe travels to all who are ready to jump in.”

In reflecting on this moment, Honoree Arthur E. Lewis shared “I am astounded to find my name added to the distinguished roster of Del Hughes honorees.  This is sunshine for these COVID darkened days.”

Cheryl Mintz, Director-at-Large of the Stage Managers’ Association, Chair of the Awards and Recognition Committee and the Del Hughes Event, and Event Co-Host Patreshettarlini (Pat) Adams, Founding Member of the SMA Foundation and past Del Hughes honoree are pleased to announce the guest speakers at the event, which include DGA Stage Manager Jeffry Gitter, Company Manager and Publicist Ron Guarnieri, and Stage Director, Choreographer and Producer Ted Pappas.  The SMA thanks Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids for their leading sponsorship of the event.

About the Honorees

Charles Allen Blackwell

Charles Allen Blackwell will be honored for his long and distinguished career as a Broadway Stage Manager which included 18 years as David Merrick’s lead stage manager. With over 25 Broadway productions to Charlie’s credit, highlights were Promises, Promises, Sugar, The Wiz, Nine, Chapter Two, Sunday in the Park with George, and Jerome Robbins’s Broadway. He received a Tony nomination as author of the book that became the basis for the musical The Tap Dance Kid, wrote the screenplay for A Piece of the Action, toured internationally as a dancer with the Pearl Primus School of African Dance early in his career, and directed and produced on Broadway later in his career. Charlie died in 1995 at age 66.

Ruth E. Kramer

Ruth E. Kramer began her journey touring with the acclaimed dance troupe PILOBOLUS. In her 38 years as a member of Actors’ Equity Association, she has forged an ongoing career in regional theatre and is most proud of her 20-year relationship with the Pittsburgh Public Theater. Among her other credits are Alpine Theatre Project, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Riverside Theatre, Maine State Music Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Goodspeed-at-Chester, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, and Great Lakes Theater Festival. Ruth serves as an elected leader on the National Council of AEA, is a fierce advocate for, and mentor to her fellow Stage Managers, and cherishes the inspiring international SM community that has sprung to life in the past 16 months.

Lynda A. Lavin

Lynda A. Lavin’s career has spanned 41 years as an Equity Stage Manager and Resident Director on Regional, Broadway, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and touring productions. Her body of work has included 45 productions, with 21 of them National tours throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Japan. A former Council Member of Actors Equity, she has worked to improve conditions on the road. Lynda was instrumental in forming the Las Vegas Liaison Committee and helped develop the Casino Contract for Equity shows, which she served as 1st Chair on, along with serving on the Production Contact and Stage Managers Committees. Lynda has spent a lot of her time guest lecturing to Stage Management students throughout the U.S. during her touring years.

Arthur Lewis

Arthur Lewis has worked in television, theatre, and live event production for over 35 years. His career has included stage managing The Oscars, The Tony Awards, The Grammy Awards, Inaugural events for three U.S. Presidents, The Kennedy Center Honors, Super Bowl Halftime, Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies, and Saturday Night Live. Off-Broadway he has been production stage manager for Between the World & Me and The Vagina Monologues. He has also toured internationally with theatrical productions of avant-garde visionary Robert Wilson and composer/director Phillip Glass. Arthur has been a mentor and guest lecturer on his craft at Columbia University, New York University, Hofstra University, Emerson College, Long Island University, and University of Texas at Austin.

With a Special Recognition Award, the SMA is honoring the 101 Black Stage Managers celebration curated by R Christopher Maxwell, and the Black Theatre Caucus. The campaign’s goal is to raise the visibility of our community of excellent Black Stage Managers nationwide. The SMA is offering each of these stage managers a two-year professional membership, as part of our commitment for big change in the SMA. By actively welcoming these voices into our professional association, we will gain new opportunities to learn, to make change, and find our way to a more equitable Stage Managers’ Association for all.

 

About the Stage Managers’ Association
The Stage Managers’ Association of the United States (SMA) is the only professional organization for working stage managers across the United States. Our mission is to recognize, advocate for, and provide continuing education and networking opportunities, creating community for stage managers across the USA and connecting them with the world through our International Cohort.

In its 40th year, the Stage Managers’ Association is a pivotal resource for stage managers nationwide in all areas of live performance. With a growing national membership, the SMA promotes networking opportunities through its many initiatives such as Operation Observation, Collaborative Connections, and A View from the Wings Symposia. SMA members include top Broadway, Off Broadway, Corporate, Regional, Dance, and Opera stage managers as well as students and those just beginning their careers.

The Stage Managers’ Association strives for equity, fairness, diversity, and inclusion. As stage managers we are discreet in our dealings with Productions, Producers, and employers. We respect and value diverse life experiences and heritages, strive toward equitable treatment of our members, and support members who nurture diversity and equity in their places of work and in their broader communities.

Learn more about the Stage Managers’ Association at www.stagemanagers.org

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