Barefoot Theatre Company Presents Third Annual Vassallo Awards

By: Oct. 22, 2018

Barefoot Theatre Company Presents Third Annual Vassallo Awards On Saturday, November 17th, Barefoot Theatre Company celebrates the third annual Vassallo Awards with a Fall Gala beginning at 8pm at the SVA THEATRE in NYC on 333 W 23rd Street in Manhattan. Actor David Zayas (Showtime's DEXTER, FOX's Gotham, OZ on HBO); acclaimed writer, Hilary Bettis (FX's Emmy Award winning, The Americans), Actress Shirley Rumierk (NBC's RISE) are among those honored for artistic achievements. The ceremony, hosted by Actor and founder of Barefoot Theatre Co., Francisco Solorzano and ensemble member, Christopher Whalen, also honors mentorship and educational outreach to a younger generation of artists in memory of Ed Vassallo, whose artistic career spanned 20 years and included work producing for the LAByrinth Theater Company and volunteering with the 52nd Street Project.

RED-CARPET CELEBRATION VIP TICKETS: $150 (tax deductible) includes VIP COCKTAIL HOUR - 6:30pm. -7:30 pm. General Admission: $75 - 7:30 pm (includes drinks & presentation). CURTAIN: 8pm. Running Time (presentation & awards ceremony) - 75 mins. For tickets and further information please visit: & or call 212-802-8305.

The one-night only event features Live Music from Mexican-American singer-songwriter and activist, Renee Goust (Joe's Pub, Lincoln Center) and Performances by Special guest artists from Broadway, Film and Television. Accepting the award for Educational Outreach will be Jill DeArmon (LAByrinth Theater Co., Vineyard Theater) and Jinn S. Kim (LAByrinth Theater Co., Hi-Arts) for their work with DEVELOPING ARTISTS. Past recipients included Kamilah Forbes with Hi-ARTS and the Stella Adler Educational Outreach Program, Anna Chlumsky (EMMY Nominee, VEEP), Lynn Cohen (Spielberg's MUNICH, Sex and the City), Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Adly Guirgis and Daniel Talbott.

Barefoot founded the awards after Vassallo lost a two-year battle with cancer in 2014. The company was inspired to recognize Vassallo's dedication to the arts, which included work producing the TENN99 and NYNY festivals for the LAByrinth Theatre Company as well as feature films which saw release at the Tribeca Film Festival and IFC/Sundance Selects. Vassallo's passion extended to work as a mentor with the 52nd Street Project, which pairs New York City children and teens with professional theatre artists. For this reason, the awards acknowledge not only artistic achievements but also educational outreach and mentorship that engages the next generation of artists.

BAREFOOT THEATRE COMPANY / BAREFOOT STUDIO PICTURES is an award winning, critically acclaimed multicultural collective of actors and filmmakers specializing in the development and incubation of new work and the cultivation of new attention for lesser-known works by well-established authors, with a vital, thought-provoking eye toward themes of diversity and inclusion. Barefoot Theatre Company's most notable production includes the first ever Off-Broadway stage adaptation of the Academy award winning film, Dog Day Afternoon. The company has developed and produced over 150 new plays staged at INTAR; RATTLESTICK; THE FLEA; Cherry Lane Theatre; IRT THEATER; HERE Arts Center; THE BRICK; LABYRINTH THEATER CO., The Actors Studio, THEATRE ROW THEATRES, THE NEW OHIO THEATRE among others. Recent Barefoot Theatre Company collaborations with award-winning writers include Jose Rivera, Dominique Morisseau, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristoffer Diaz, Mando Alvarado, Ed. Cardona Jr., Mike Reiss, Daniel Talbott, Hilary Bettis and with actors Chris Cooper, Ethan Hawke, Bobby Cannavale, Gina Gershon, Richard Kind, Mickey Sumner, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Annabella Sciorra, and Michael Stuhlbarg to name a few. In film, Barefoot Studio Pictures' work has been recognized with the Barcelona International Best Short Film Award, World-Fest Film Festival Best Short FIlm, at Hollyshorts Film Festival and many others. Barefoot Theatre Company was founded by actor, Francisco Solorzano in 1999, who is currently Producing Artistic Director with Christopher Whalen as Producing Director.

David Zayas is best known for his role as Angel Batista on the Golden Globe-nominated psychological drama "Dexter." David was recently seen as "Sal Maroni" on the Fox series Gotham, "Sheriff Aguirre" on the Netflix series Bloodline and "Eduardo Magana" on the Hulu series Shut Eye. His other recent television credits include Saint George (FX), Seven Seconds (Netflix), Blue Bloods (CBS), Quantico (ABC), and The Guest Book (TBS). While working on the crime drama The Beat, Zayas met Emmy Award-winning television writer and producer Tom Fontana, who went on to create the role of "Enrique Morales" on HBO's Oz especially for him. On film, he has starred in The Expendables, Skyline, 13, Michael Clayton, Sixteen Blocks, The Savages, Bringing Out the Dead, The Yards, Undefeated, Wit, Angel, and The Interpreter. David also starred opposite Helen Hunt in the indie feature Ride, starred opposite Ellen Page and Allison Janney in the feature Tallulah, and appeared in the film remake of the 1982 movie musical Annie opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz. David stars in the upcoming feature Shine. A former New York police officer, Zayas began his acting career with LAByrinth Theater Company in 1992. He has starred in more than thirty theater productions, most with The LAByrinth Theater Company, including: "Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train," "In Arabia We'd All Be Kings," "Our Lady of 121 St.," and the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Anna in the Tropics" on Broadway.

Shirley Rumierk played the series regular role of "Vanessa Suarez" on RISE for NBC. Last year she starred in the independent film, 11:55 as well as the film COLLATERAL BEAUTY starring Will Smith. She recently completed guest star roles on ELEMENTARY and BLUE BLOODS for CBS and POWER for Starz. She also starred in LATINOLOGUES at the Helen Hayes theater on Broadway. Shirley is a proud board member of The 52nd Street Project in New York City which teaches kids in Hell's Kitchen the importance of theater and arts education while working alongside professional working actors (a program she was a member of as a child). Shirley is also on the Alumni Council of Oliver Scholars, an organization that unlocks doors of opportunity for high achieving Black and Latino students in New York City by helping them gain admission to top independent high schools. As an Oliver Scholar she attended Trinity School. Shirley is a graduate of Harvard College with a degree in Hispanic Studies.

HILARY BETTIS is a Brooklyn-based writer who works in TV, film, and theater. She was nominated for a 2018 Writer's Guild of America Award for her work on the Emmy nominated series "The Americans" on FX, which she wrote on for the final two seasons. She is an alum of the highly competitive Sundance Episodic TV lab. She is a 2015 graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwright Fellowship at The Juilliard School. Bettis has received fellowships, workshops, and residencies at the Roundabout, Alley All New Festival, Orlando Shakes PlayFest, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, 2050 Fellow at New York Theatre Workshop, John N. Wall Fellow at Sewanee Writers' Conference, SPACE at Ryder Farm, Writer-In-Residence at Cape Cod Theatre Project, La Jolla Playhouse, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, Playwrights' Week at The Lark, NNPN's National Showcase of New Plays, Audrey Residency at New Georges, Two River Theater, Great Plains Theatre Conference, WildWind Lab at Texas Tech, The Kennedy Center/ NNPN MFA Workshop, and a Sloan/EST Commission. She has had plays recognized by The Kilroys every year since its inception. She has been a Runner-Up for the ALLIANCE THEATRE's Kendeda Award, Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition, American Blues Theater's Blue Ink Award, New America Fellowship, and the Leah Ryan Prize. Bettis is a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages, Ensemble Studio Theater, a Usual Suspect at NYTW, and an Affiliated Artist at New Georges. The Ghosts of Lote Bravo received a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere at the Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City, MO, Borderlands Theater in Tucson, Arizona. Her play, Alligator, was produced Off-Broadway with New Georges and The Sol Project, and was nominated for a 2017 Drama Desk for Outstanding Music in a Play. Queen of Basel, a bilingual adaptation of Miss Julie commissioned by Miami New Drama, was produced at Miami New Drama in April 2018 to critical acclaim, and will receive its world premiere at Studio Theatre in D.C. March 2019. Her play, 72 miles to go... will receive a workshop production at the Alley in Houston January 2019. As a screenwriter, Bettis has written and produced two short films, B'Hurst and The Iron Warehouse, which have screened at film festivals across the globe. She wrote and produced her directorial debut short, Amarillo by Morning, currently in post-production. She has developed TV projects with NBCUniversal, FOX 21 and Citizen Media. She is currently adapting the Colombian hit-series "La Niña" for FX with Propgate ("Jane the Virgin", "Ugly Betty") producing. She is represented by CAA and Grandview.


Developing Artists is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1999 dedicated to providing opportunities for underdog (underserved) teens to reach their full potential through a practical application of the performing arts. We help students find their place and their connection to their community through participation in the arts. Developing Artists offer top-notch training for students from culturally diverse and socioeconomically underserved backgrounds to proclaim themselves as artists and to create a supportive young artist community through our innovative signature program REBEL VERSES Arts Festival. Developing Artists bridges the disparity of arts education for students from underserved communities by providing youth between the ages of 13 through 19 who attend High Schools in New York metropolitan area the opportunities to study performing arts at the highest level. We impact students by creating a forum to navigate life's increasing challenges; to find their voice in dealing with issues like rage, fear or frustration; and channel that energy into self-expression and self-confidence. Over 95% of our students go on to graduate college. Jill DeArmon (Artistic Director/Board) / Jinn S. Kim (Executive Director/Board).

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