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F. Otto Haas Finalists Announced, Recipient to Be Announced at Barrymore Awards Ceremony 10/5


The Theatre Alliance announced the finalists for the prestigious F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist at a press conference today at The University of the Arts' new Ellen and Ronald Caplan Center for the Performing Arts. This year's nominees, representing the whole spectrum of theatre (actor, composer, director, playwright, and designer), are Kala Moses Baxter, Troy Herion, Sarah Sanford, Nicholas Wardigo, and Charlotte Cloe Fox Wind. The recipient will be awarded at the Barrymore Awards Ceremony on October 5 at the Walnut Street Theatre.

Funded by Carole Haas Gravagno through the Phoebe W. Haas Charitable Trust A, this award comes with a $10,000 cash prize for the recipient and $1,000 for each finalist. The only one of its kind in the nation, the F. Otto Haas Award is intended to support the artist's living expenses so that they can focus on their craft as well as to encourage theatre artists to remain in the Philadelphia community. An "emerging artist" is one who has worked for at least three years and for no more than ten years in the professional theatre.

Previous award winners include Jennifer Childs, actress, director and Artistic Director of 1812 Productions, and nominated co-creator of This is the Week That Is: The Election Special; composer and sound designer Jorge Cousineau, nominated this year for his sound designs for Scorched at The Wilma Theater and Something Intangible at Arden Theatre Company; actor Ben Dibble, nominated for his performances in Candide at Arden Theatre Company and The Producers at Walnut Street Theatre; Scott Greer, who is nominated this year for his performances in Candide and Something Intangible, both at Arden Theatre Company; actor Ian Merrill Peakes, also nominated this year for his performance in Something Intangible at Arden Theatre Company; and actor and designer Matt Saunders, nominated this year for his set design of American Buffalo at Theatre Exile.

Kala Moses Baxter, a Haas finalist last year, was seen this season at the Arden Theatre Company as Nella in Gee's Bend, for which she was also nominated as Supporting Actress. She began her acting career at Freedom Theatre where she was featured in Sparkle. Last season, she appeared as Berniece in The Piano Lesson at Arden Theatre Company, where she has also performed in The BFG, The Snow Queen, Charlotte's Web, and Grapes of Wrath. She was also seen in The Story at Philadelphia Theatre Company and Love and Anger at The Wilma Theater.

Troy Herion, composer, sound designer and music director, was nominated for a Barrymore Award for Outstanding Sound Design for The Life of Galileo at The Wilma Theater and for Outstanding Musical Direction for Hedwig and the Angry Itch at Azuka Theatre. He has also served as sound designer for Age of Arousal at The Wilma Theater, Love Unpunished at Pig Iron Theatre Company, and Our Town at Arden Theatre Company. His two operas, based on The Winter's Tale and The Tempest, received their world premieres by the Italian Chamber Opera in Umbria, Italy. He is an NEA/TCG Career Development Program finalist and the recipient of two American Composers' Forum grants. He is also a recent Independence Foundation Fellow which enabled him to travel to Bali, Indonesia to study and perform gamelan music.

Sarah Sanford, a Haas finalist for the last two years, appeared last season in The Government Inspector at Lantern Theater Company and in Mauckingbird Theatre's production of Hedda Gabler after a run of The European Lesson at the Live Arts Festival. She has appeared in several productions at Pig Iron Theatre Company including Hell Meets Henry Halfway which won an Obie Award. She appeared as Emilia in Lantern Theater's critically acclaimed production of Othello and this season was winner of the Best Emerging Director Award at Summerworks Festival in Canada for Appetite, an original dance-theatre work she conceived, directed and produced. Appetite then moved to the mainstage season of the Theatre Passe Muraille and later to Philadelphia.

Nicholas Wardigo, playwright, is the author of Exit Corpse, produced this winter at Plays and Players and The Do's and Don'ts of Time Travel at Straw Flower Productions and scheduled for production this fall at the Phoenix Theater in Indianapolis. The Biggest Box of Crayons was produced by Philadelphia Theatre Workshop and Editorial Decisions, which was part of InterAct Theatre Company's Third Annual Showcase of New Plays, was subsequently presented at Brick Playhouse. He was the finalist at two Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competitions and the recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Playwriting Fellowship.

Charlotte Cloe Fox Wind, a two-time Haas finalist, is nominated this year for Outstanding Costume Design for Le Dindon (An Absolute Turkey) at Villanova Theatre. Nominated last year for Outstanding Costume Design for The Illusion, she was the winner of the 2002 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for Chicago at Villanova University. This past season, she designed costumes for Disco Descending at the Live Arts Festival, This is the Week That Is: The Election Special and Cherry Bomb, both at 1812 Productions, Iron Kisses at Act II Playhouse, and Metamorphoses at Villanova University. She has also designed costumes for Crime and Punishment at Arden Theatre Company, Art at Delaware Theatre Company and Syncopation at Act II Playhouse.

Major support for the Barrymore Awards is provided by Actors' Equity Association, Ark Media, The Charlotte Cushman Foundation, Clear Sound, CRW Graphics, Drucker & Scaccetti, P.C., Earl Girls Theatrical Equipment, Garfield Refining Company, Harmelin Media, Independence Foundation, PECO, The Phoebe W. Haas Charitable Trust A as recommended by Carole Haas Gravagno, The Phoebe W. Haas Charitable Trust B as recommended by Leonard C. Haas, William Penn Foundation, and Ted & Stevie Wolf.

The Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia strengthens and leads the region's richly diverse theatre community, by promoting awareness and serving as a resource for information, professional development and advocacy. Tickets for the Barrymore Award Ceremony and more information are available online at or by calling (215) 413-7150.


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