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Billeisen Receives Deberson Award at CLO


Pittsburgh CLO proudly presented the ninth-annual Julia Deberson Award to CLO Ensemble member Ward Billeisen on Tuesday, July 22 at the cast party for Pittsburgh CLO's production of Annie Get Your Gun.

The award was established to commemorate the memory of Julia Deberson, who served as Executive Assistant to CLO Executive Directors Charles Gray and William Thurnhurst from 1975 to 1994.  Every season, the directors and production staff at the CLO meet to choose one outstanding Ensemble member who best exemplifies Ms. Deberson's ideals: professional skill, high work ethic, an optimistic attitude, the ability to work well with others and, above all, a passion for one's work.

A Denver native, Mr. Billeisen made his Pittsburgh CLO debut in this season's production of Peter Pan. Those who worked closely with Mr. Billeisen this season said he is "high-spirited" and "blessed with the type of positive disposition that makes him a joy to have around." He has performed in several Broadway and New York productions, including Fiddler on the Roof, Children and Art, West Side Story, Forever Plaid, No, No Nanette and Curtains. After this season, Mr. Billeisen will be joining the National Tour of Legally Blonde: The Musical.
Mr. Billeisen joins the impressive list of past Julia Deberson Award winners, including Jake Pfarr (2007), Alison Levenberg (2006), Lauren Yen Solito (2005), Eric Daniel Santagata (2004), Mark Sanders (2003), Jessica Perrizo (2002), Tory Ross (2001) and Justin Brill (2000). This prestigious award is funded by contributions from the CLO Board and Guild members, as well as staff members and friends.  These funds are invested as a part of the CLO Legacy Fund endowment.  Anyone who knew Julia or respects the ideals for which she stood may also contribute to the fund.

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