Legendary Broadway and Film Costume Designer Ann Roth Receives 2017 Michael Merritt Award

By: Apr. 24, 2017

The 24th Annual Merritt Awards for Excellence in Design and Collaboration will take place on Monday, May 15th, 2017 at Loyola University Chicago.Legendary Broadway and Film Costume Designer Ann Roth (The Nance, The Book of Mormon, The English Patient, Midnight Cowboy) will receive the 2017 Merritt Award.

Set Designer Courtney O'Neil, Charge Scenic Artist CoCo Ree Lemery, and Production Stage Manager Narda E. Alcorn will receive major awards in addition to student and exhibition prizes.

The Michael Merritt Awards and Endowment Fund honors the memory of a brilliant designer and inspirational teacher. This national award, unique in its emphasis on excellence in both design and collaboration, has been presented annually since 1994 to outstanding professional theatrical designers. The Endowment Fund recognizes and encourages the work of young professionals and students through a national design exposition and prizes to promising theatrical design students.

The Merritt Awards thanks the theatre community for its ongoing support and Loyola University Department of Fine and Performing Arts for hosting. We hope the theatre professionals, students and the public will join us for this exciting celebration of our collaborative art form.


Student - $ 5.00

General Admission - $ 20.00

Book tickets online at merrittawards.com

General Public is welcome.

Food, wine and beer are included in the ticket price. Funds go to support the awards endowment fund.


5:00-7:00 p.m.
Showcasing the works of Chicago-area emerging theatrical designers and graduating design students from Chicago's best theatrical design programs and attended by many of Chicago's artistic directors, production managers, and industry professionals.

7:00-8:00 p.m.
A panel discussion featuring the award recipients exploring current issues of interest to theatre professionals and students.

8:15-8:45 p.m.
Presentation of prizes for best student and professional exhibits, four academic prizes, The Emerging Technical Collaborator Award, The Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award, The Robert Christen Award for Excellence in Technical Collaboration, and The Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration.

Food, wine, beer and fellowship until 10:00 p.m.

The Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration

The Michael Merritt Award, a national award unique in its emphasis on excellence in both design and collaboration, is presented annually to professional theatrical designers. The award is given to a scenic, costume, lighting, sound, or other media designer.

24th Annual Recipient:

Ann Roth, Costume Designer

Ann Roth is a Tony Award-winning costume designer for her work on The Nance. She also garnered Tony nominations for The Book of Mormon, Shuffle Along, The Royal Family, The Crucifer of Blood, and The House of Blue Leaves. Theater credits include: Fish in the Dark, A Delicate Balance, This Is Our Youth, A Raisin in the Sun, Betrayal, Hurlyburly, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Singin' in the Rain, Purlie, Waiting for Godot, and The Odd Couple. An Academy Award winner for The English Patient, Roth's additional film credits include: Julie & Julia, The Reader, Doubt, Closer, The Village, Cold Mountain, The Hours, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Birdcage, The Mambo Kings, Working Girl, Silkwood, 9 to 5, Hair, Klute, and Midnight Cowboy. Television credits include: "Angels in America" and "MildrEd Pierce." Roth received the TDF Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2011.

The Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award

This award recognizes and supports the work of an outstanding emerging theatrical designer within the Chicago area. A $2000 honorarium is given annually to an emerging scenic, costume, lighting, sound, or other media designer in acknowledgment of excellence in artistry and collaboration.

Courtney O'Neill, Scenic Designer

Courtney O'Neill came up through Chicago's storefront theaters and now works as much regionally as she does locally. She has designed at Lookingglass, Writers Theatre, Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, Northlight, Chicago Shakespeare, The Gift, Jackalope, The Hypocrites, Chicago Dramatists, Griffin Theatre, Haven Theatre, Collaboraction, and more. Regional: ALLIANCE THEATRE, Baltimore Center Stage, South Coast Repertory, Arena Stage, Kansas City Repertory, Round House, Marin Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory, Virginia Stage. She was the recipient of the 2013 USITT Scene Design Award and won a Jeff Award for Mud (The Hypocrites). She holds an MFA from Northwestern University, BFA from DePaul University, and currently teaches at both institutions.

The Robert Christen Award for Excellence in Technical Collaboration

This award recognizes an outstanding technical professional whose career as a collaborator in the realization of theatrical design has been significant and sustained. Sponsored by Chicago Flyhouse.

Narda E. Alcorn, Production Stage Manager

Narda E. Alcorn is an Associate Arts Professor and Head of Stage Management Training for New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama and a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University.
Narda is an educator who is committed to training stage managers as artistic collaborators. Her teaching explores the intersection of management theory with management practice and she investigates how theory influences the way in which managers apply their craft. Narda continues to freelance as a stage manager, working professionally on Broadway, regionally, and internationally. She has a strong interest in new work and recently premiered Kevin Douglas' new play, Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure, at Lookingglass Theatre Company, and the world premiere of George Lewis's opera, Afterword: The AACM as Opera, in New York, Chicago, The Czech Republic and England. This summer, she will once again manage Afterword as it has its west coast premiere at the Ojai Music Festival. Narda had a long-standing collaboration with the playwright, August Wilson, and managed two of his Broadway revivals and four original productions of the Century Cycle through their regional development and then to Broadway and Off Broadway. Narda is most proud of the fact that August Wilson wrote her into his 10th and final play, a testament to their longstanding, collaborative relationship. Narda's Broadway productions include Disney's The Lion King, where she was an assistant stage manager for eleven years. Narda was the production stage manager of the recent Tony-award winning revival of A Raisin in the Sun starring Denzel Washington. Regionally, Narda has stage managed in theatres across the country including La Jolla Playhouse, American Conservatory Theater, Center Theatre Group, Huntington Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Ford's Theatre, Alley Theatre, and Lookingglass Theatre Company. Narda's management experience has included stage managing the yearly holiday concert for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and serving as the associate production manager for The Public Theater under George C. Wolfe's artistic direction. She has travelled with Richard Foreman to Paris and Berlin with his original productions and in Russia, she managed Lee Breuer's musical, The Gospel at Colonus, at the Gorky Moscow Art Theatre.
Narda has been an Associate Professor and Head of Stage Management for The Theatre School at DePaul University from 2011-2016 and the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at SUNY Purchase from 2001-2011. In 2015, she was thrilled to received DePaul University's Excellence in Teaching Award. Mentoring and teaching are at the forefront of Narda's career and she has been a USITT Gateway mentor to young managers from underrepresented groups for the past three years. This fall Narda will stage manage on Broadway again and she is most excited about the opportunity to bring her students with her as interns and observers.

The Emerging Technical Collaborator Award
This award celebrates a passionate and skillful early career professional who goes about their work in a particularly collaborative manner. We know that it is hard to launch a career in this profession so we are thrilled that this award comes with a $2000 prize, supported by Chicago Flyhouse.

CoCo Ree Lemery, Charge Scenic Artist

CoCo is a Charge Scenic Artist, Illustrator, and Designer based out of Chicago. She is the current Charge Scenic Artist at American Theatre Company, Black Ensemble Theatre, Chicago Children's Theatre, The House Theatre Chicago, The Hypocrites, North Central College, Stage 773, and University of Illinois at Chicago.

Over her career she has collaborated on and/or charged over 500 projects for a variety of companies including About Face Theatre, Adler Planetarium, Adventure Stage, Amazon, American Blues, American Express, Broadway in Chicago, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Chicago Tap, Congo Square Theatre, The Depaul Opera, Dog and Pony Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Elf Cosmetics, Emerald City Theatre, The Coca-Cola Company, Fox Studios, Giant Globes Inc., The Gift Theatre, HBO, Hope College, IPG Mediabrands, K-12 Teachers Alliance, Land of Nod, Left Wing Scenic, Light Opera Works, Lookingglass Theatre, Mary Arrchie Theatre, Means of Production, Mercury Theatre, Microsoft, MillerCoors, Momentum Worldwide, NBC Universal, Next Theatre, Northwestern University, Oglethorpe Capital, Pegasus Players, Pintar Rapido London, Porchlight Theatre, Red Orchid Theatre, Redmoon Theatre, Red Tape Theatre, Remy Bumpo Theatre, Rivendell Theatre, Sam's Club, The Savoyaires, Second City Chicago, Sherwin Williams, Silk Road, Schlitz Brewing, Spiffy Productions, Star Kids Production, Steppenwolf Theatre, Soul Theatre, The StEve Harvey Show, Teatro Vista, Timeline Theatre Company, Tuta Theatre, Warner Bros., Writers Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, and Zaffarano Productions. She graduated from Columbia with a degree in Design and Marketing Communications and attended Cobalt Studios to specialize and train as a Scenic Artist. Visit www.cocolemery.com for more information.

The Merritt Committee will award these four $2000 Academic Prizes to:

The John Murbach Columbia College Chicago Prize

Charles Mathieu, Scenic Designer

The Theatre School at Depaul University Prize

Joy Ahn, Scenic Designer

The Loyola University Chicago Prize

Emily Swanson, Costume Designer

The Northwestern University Prize

Amanda Gladu, Costume Designer

At the Design Exposition on May 15th a panel of Chicago freelance Directors, Production Managers, and Artistic Directors will adjudicate the following exhibition prizes.

The Michael Philippi Prize for Best Exhibit: Professional Designer

This year the prize is 500.00!

Emerging professional designers are encouraged to exhibit http://merrittawards.com/2017-event/exhibit-professional/.

Sponsorships that cover admission, food, drink and parking are available for emerging exhibitor and emerging directors, producers and production managers http://merrittawards.com/2016-event/attendance-sponsorships/.

Prize for Best Exhibit: Student Designer

This year the prize is 500.00!

Student designers are encouraged to apply to exhibit http://merrittawards.com/2017-event/exhibit-student/.

Sponsorships that cover admission, food, drink and parking are available.

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