Trinity Rep to Honor Jeffrey Osborne With 2014 New England Pell Award for Artistic Excellence, 6/9
Trinity Rep announced today that Jeffrey Osborne will be honored with the 2014 New England Pell Award for Artistic Excellence, acknowledging his artistic achievements and philanthropic work throughout Rhode Island. Osborne will be recognized alongside former Trinity Rep artistic director and Academy-award nominated film, stage and TV actor Richard Jenkins and his wife Director/Choreographer Sharon Jenkins who will be honored with the 2014 Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts and nationally known dance educator and choreographer Mary Paula Hunter who will receive the 2014 Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts. The ceremony will include a tribute to Nuala Pell, who recently passed away after serving as honorary co-chair of the awards for many years. The 18th annual Pell Awards will be held on Monday, June 9, 2014 at Trinity Rep with a reception to follow next door at the Providence Public Library.
Richard L. Bready Artistic Director Curt Columbus is proud to award this year's New England Pell Award to Jeffrey Osborne. "As the State Theater of Rhode Island, we're thrilled to honor an artist who shares our vision of making a difference in the lives of Rhode Islanders across the state." He emphasizes, "Jeffrey's numerous accolades speak to his immense talent, which combined with his generous nature and philanthropic endeavors embody the spirit of the Pell Awards."
This upcoming awards ceremony will also acknowledge the recent passing of Nuala Pell. Mrs. Pell generously served as honorary co-chair of the Pell Awards, which honor her late husband Senator Claiborne Pell. Columbus remarked, "It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Nuala Pell. Her passionate advocacy for the arts and education were astounding to all. To say that she was a lovely and gracious woman is an understatement. Mrs. Pell was a true gem, a stalwart patron of the arts and a staunch supporter of Rhode Island."
The theater's annual gala event will be co-chaired by Clay Pell and Michelle Kwan alongside Barbara and Larry Schoenfeld. ogether with business, political and social leaders, guests at this creative black tie affair will mix, mingle, and enjoy delicious food provided by Russell Morin Fine Catering with desserts by Carina & Dolce while they dance to the music of The Michelle Cruz Quartet.
Individual tickets to the full event are $500; a limited number of individual tickets to the ceremony and post-show reception are $250, and corporate sponsorships are available. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Trinity Rep at (401) 453-9237. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit Trinity Rep's artistic programs.
The Pell Awards honor Senator Claiborne Pell and recognize artistic excellence in Rhode Island and the New England region as well as on the national level. Throughout his life, Senator Pell worked to support the arts and provide new opportunities for artists. He sponsored the landmark legislation that established the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities in 1965, and chaired the Senate Education and Arts subcommittee.
Jeffrey Osborne began his professional singing career in 1969 at a Providence nightclub with a popular funk and soul group called Love Men Ltd. The music industry publication Radio and Records declared, "[Jeffrey Osborne] the number one hit maker of the 1980s." Beginning with Jeffrey Osborne, his 1982 debut A&M solo album featuring the hit singles, "I Really Don't Need No Light" and the instant standard ballad, "On The Wings Of Love," Osborne charted a sure and passionate musical course. A&M and Arista albums such as Stay With Me Tonight, Don't Stop, One Love, One Dream and Only Human and singles like "Stay With Me Tonight," "We're Going All The Way," "The Last Time I Made Love" and "Only Human" easily transcended being hits to become R&B/pop classics. Osborne continues to tour and record. Meanwhile, Osborne enjoys a distinction that no other pop singer has achieved: A place in the annals of professional sports as the official singer of the National Anthem for NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers and most in-demand singer of the Anthem in the history of professional sports.
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Jeffrey Osborne was the youngest of 12 children and was surrounded by music as he was growing up. He had five brothers and six sisters, some of whom also went on to have music careers. Osborne spent his childhood patiently waiting for a turn to play his favorite records on the family turntable. Hours would go by, listening to Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, Gloria Lynne, Della Reese, Joe Williams and Billy Eckstine spun by his brothers and sisters. Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard and Clifford Brown poured from the speakers when it was his father's turn. His father, Clarence "Legs" Osborne, was a popular trumpeter who played with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington, and died when Jeffrey was only 13. It was only after receiving his mother's encouragement that Jeffrey left for Los Angeles to play with L.T.D. At the age of 15, he sat in with the O'Jays when the drummer was too tired to play, and went on to play with them for two weeks. It was at a Providence nightclub that fate brought him together with the band Love Men Ltd. in 1969.
Former Trinity Rep artistic director Richard Jenkins, nominated for a best actor Oscar in 2007 for his performance in The Visitor, has found great success in film and television. The 2014 Pell Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts honoree is perhaps best known for his patriarchal role on HBO series Six Feet Under, he is frequently seen in films by the Cohen brothers and David O. Russell.
Richard Jenkins was a Trinity Rep acting company member for 14 seasons, starting in 1970. He served as artistic director for four seasons (1990-1994) and directed numerous productions during that time. Richard has appeared in over 60 feature films, and has been nominated for three Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Independent Spirit Awards, a Critics Choice Award, a Gotham Award, and won a Satellite Award as well as an Academy Award nomination for his performance in The Visitor. In 2014, he can be seen in the film God's Pocket with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Trinity Rep's own Peter Gerety, as well as appearing opposite Frances McDormand in the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge.
Fellow 2014 Pell Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts honoree Sharon Jenkins has been a choreographer at Trinity Rep for over 40 years, where she has worked with artistic directors Adrian Hall, Richard Jenkins, Amanda Dehnert, Oskar Eustis, and Curt Columbus. She has choreographed The Music Man, Annie, West Side Story, The Fantasticks, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Cabaret, and Camelot. Sharon spent 20 years as the dance director at Hope Arts Magnet School in Providence, 15 years as a dance specialist with the RI State Council on the Arts, 10 years as a dancer with RI Dance Rep, and 10 years as choreographer for The Arabella Project. In addition to her work at Trinity Rep, Ms. Jenkins has worked at Long Wharf Theatre, Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, Center Stage, South Coast Rep and was the choreographer for Paramount Pictures feature School Ties.
2014 Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts honoree Mary Paula Hunter is a well known educator, performance artist and choreographer. Her work is often text-based and always quirky, emotional, and rooted in her own neuroses. Dance Magazine's, Julinda Lewis wrote that Hunter's works " make you feel as if you've crossed into a time zone where human motion follows laws you've never learned and may never understand." Hunter is the artistic director of JUMP!, where she says she found her calling in the training of young dance artists. JUMP!'s original mission, to develop choreographic talent, has expanded and the company now produces a full season of innovative dance work, produced by its members. Hunter, a long-time choreographer and performer with a M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Michigan, trains dancers at The East Side Ballet Studio and has taught dance at many colleges including Holy Cross, Hamilton College, RISD, and Brown. She curated the New York summer Dance Festival Summer in the Square, and continues to perform as a solo artist.
Previous Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts honorees include Jane Alexander, Kate Burton, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Viola Davis, Olympia Dukakis, Adrian Hall, Arthur Miller, Liza Minnelli, Toni Morrison, Robert Redford, Chita Rivera, Jason Robards, Maurice Sendak, Beverly Sills, Stephen Sondheim and Kevin Spacey. Past honorees for the Pell Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts include John Krasinski, Amy Morton and Trinity Rep's Resident Acting Company.
Past Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts honorees include John Benson, Howard BenTré, Dan Butterworth, Bob Colonna, Robert Coover, Umberto "Bert" Crenca, Richard Cumming, Ruth Frisch Dealy, Tony Estrella, Richard Fleischner, Peter Geisser, Malcolm Grear, Michael Harper, Bunny Harvey, Dorothy Jungels & the Everett Dance Theatre, George Kent, Eugene Lee, David Macaulay, Salvatore Mancini, Dave McKenna, Barbara Meek, Denny Moers, Timothy Philbrick, Duke Robillard, Thomas Sgouros, Sr., Consuelo Sherba, Gretchen Dow Simpson, Maria Spacagna, Judith Lynn Stillman, Chris Van Allsburg, Paula Vogel, Keith and Rosmarie Waldrop, William Warner, Rose Weaver, Steven Weinberg, and Toots Zynsky.
Among those honorees awarded the Pell Award/Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in/to the Arts are Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr., Adrian Hall, P. William Hutchinson, Virginia Lynch, Lowry Marshall, Martha Douglas-Osmundson and Elaine Foster Perry.
The Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in Arts has been awarded to Joseph A. Chazan, M.D., Mihailo "Misha" Djuric, Roger Mandle, Senator Claiborne Pell, George Wein, J.L. "Lynn" Singleton, and the Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in Arts Education to Ruth J. Simmons. Additionally, past recipients of the New England Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts were Brian Dennehy, Julie Harris, Lloyd Richards, Gunther Schuller, and John Updike.
The State Theater of Rhode Island, Trinity Repertory Company is now celebrating its 50th Anniversary Season. Since its founding in 1963, Trinity Repertory Company has been one of the most respected regional theaters in the country. Featuring the last permanent resident acting company in America, Trinity Rep presents a balance of world premiere, contemporary, and classic works for an estimated annual audience of approximately 145,000. In its 50-year history, the theater has produced 62 world premieres, mounted national and international tours, and, through its MFA program, trained hundreds of new actors and directors. This season marks the 46th year of Project Discovery, Trinity Rep's pioneering educational outreach program. Last season, Trinity Rep's educational programs reached over 16,000 Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut students through matinees as well as in-school residencies and workshops. Brown University/Trinity Rep offers professional training for actors and directors in a three-year MFA program. The2013-2014 season concludes with the world premiere of Veronica Meadows by Stephen Thorne and A Lie of the Mind by Sam Shepard. Subscriptions are now on sale for Trinity Rep's 2014-2015 season, which includes the world premiere Curt Columbus' translation of Ivanov by Anton Chekhov, Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon, Middletown by Will Eno, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, A Flea in Her Ear by Georges Feydeau and the world premiere of Melancholy Play: a new chamber musical by Sarah Ruhl with music by Todd Almond. For more information, call the box office at (401) 351-4242 or visit Trinity Rep's website at www.trinityrep.com.
Photo Credit: Jeffry Fasano