Charles Randolph-Wright To Recieve Paul Robeson Award 10/8
Actors' Equity Association announced today that Charles Randolph-Wright is the recipient of the 2010 Paul Robeson Award. Created in 1974, the Award recognizes a person who best exemplifies the principles by which Mr. Robeson lived. The award will be presented to Mr. Randolph-Wright at the October 8, 2010 General Membership meeting at the Union's headquarters in New York City.
"I am stunned, honored, and profoundly moved to have received the Paul Robeson Award from Equity. My first union was Equity, and at heart, I always will be a Broadway gypsy," said Mr. Randolph-Wright. "I am proud and challenged to be included on this roster of such extraordinary people who I know have changed the world. I may not yet be one of those luminaries upon whose shoulders I stand, but I believe the opportunity exists for each of us to affect every person who can make that change. So much of what ones does in my profession is behind the scenes, and I am filled with the utmost gratitude that Equity noticed."
Charles Randolph-Wright has built a dynamic and diverse career in directing, writing and producing for theater, television and film. Throughout his work he has demonstrated a fierce commitment to create roles and opportunities for people of color. He is a board member of the Roundabout Theater Company, where he created 'Different Voices,' a program which gives playwrights of different backgrounds the opportunity to develop new works. He established the workship series, 'Create Carolina Festival,' a three week multi-disciplinary intensive arts experience in which students and artists gain the skills needed to succeed in the professional world. Mr. Randolph-Wright serves on the artistic Board of Duke University and was recently chosen for a playwright's residency in Arena Stage's American voices New Play Institute. He is a founding member of the Wright Family Foundation of South Carolina.
Mr. Randolph-Wright, who appeared in the original Broadway cast of DREAMGIRLS, is currently represented as a director Off Broadway with THROUGH THE NIGHT and he recently directed the Arena Stage production of SOPHISTICATED LADIES and GUYS AND DOLLS (starring Maurice Hines at the Arena Stage). Charles also directed the 75th anniversary international tour of PORGY AND BESS, EMERGENCY (with Daniel Beatty, who stars in THROUGH THE NIGHT), numerous benefits, as well as television (LINCOLN HEIGHTS) and film (MAMA, I WANT TO SING, starring Lynn Whitfield, Patti LaBelle, Ben Vereen and Billy Zane).
A prolific and insightful writer, Charles' playwriting credits include BLUE, starring Phylicia Rashad, CUTTIN' UP, THE NIGHT IS A CHILD premiered at Milwaukee Rep and later played Pasadena Playhouse (starring JoBeth Williams). He co-wrote and directed THE DIVA IS DISMISSED starring Jenifer Lewis, HOMEWORK starring Kim Coles, and ME AND MRS JONES, starring Lou Rawls. Charles also co-wrote the Tony-nominated JUST BETWEEN FRIENDS which starred Bea Arthur. He screenplay credits include THE EMMITT TILL STORY, SHADES OF GREY, FOOL'S HILL and WHITE CHOCOLATE (with John Leguizamo), among others.
Paul Robeson was the epitome of the 20th Century Renaissance man. An actor, singer, cultural scholar, athlete and author, Robeson was also a political activist who spoke out against racism and strove to guarantee the civil rights for all people of color. He strongly believed in the artist's responsibility to society, the freedom of conscience and of expression and was dedicated to the universal brotherhood of all mankind. To honor the man and the principles he set forth, Equity created The Paul Robeson Award in 1971 and made the first presentation in 1974 to Mr. Robeson himself. Past recipients also include Micki Grant, Sidney Poitier, Lloyd Richards, Judith Jamison, Carl Harms, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.
Actors' Equity Association was founded in 1913 and represents more than 49,000 professional stage actors and stage managers nationwide. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity will celebrate its 100 Anniversary in 2013.