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Husband-Wife Team Wins TPS' 2013 Gregory A. Falls Sustained Achievement Award; Ceremony Set for 10/28

Theatre Puget Sound (TPS) has announced husband and wife team, John Kazanjian and Mary Ewald as the 2013 recipients of the Gregory A. Falls Sustained Achievement Award. The committee of prior recipients has made this selection to honor their dedication to the Seattle theatre community, much of it through their efforts with The New City Theatre. This award along with 17 others will be presented at the 5th Annual Gregory Awards being held at The Neptune Theatre on Monday, October 28, 2013 at 7:30pm.

John and Mary met at U.C. Santa Barbara, fall of 1975. John was a first year grad student and Mary was a lowly freshman (after a year of sailing with my family). Meeting in a required DA 5 class--one of those classes with loads of trust exercises. They came together doing a "blind walk", using hands to try to discern who the person might be. Mary says, "But it was easy for me since he was the only guy in the class with a beard!"

After marrying in 1981, they moved to Seattle in 1982.

In response to the question, "What is the secret to working so closely and so well over the years?"

Mary's answer:

Well, I guess mutual respect is huge. There may be a large element of luck involved for a living/working/creating life together to work equally well for both parties. John and I share a mutual aesthetic taste, which draws us to the same texts and art works, and a mutual discipline towards the work. But the luck part may be that one of us has not been hugely more successful or "talented" than the other. We have very different skills which balance each other. When this is not the case, resentment can quickly sneak in. Sorry...long winded again. Obviously I can't articulate a simple "secret". I guess it's the simple fact that we love what we do, and enjoy doing it together.

John's answer:


A. adv. Together; at the same time.

B. n. (2a) The unity of performance achieved by two or more

players performing together.

Mary Ewald: Mary moved to NYC after graduating from UC Santa Barbara. While in NYC, she worked at the Soho Rep, the Hartman Theatre CT, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival MA., and at the Tennessee Williams Fine Arts Center, where she met Mr. Williams. Her first professional collaboration with future husband John Kazanjian was an award-winning production of Beckett's NOT I at the Direct Theater, NYC.

After seeing Mary in a workshop production at Playwrights Horizons, NYC, Burke Walker invited Mary to Seattle in 1982 to play Julia in The Empty Space's FEFU AND HER FRIENDS. Once in Seattle, she worked for three consecutive seasons as a company member at the Intiman, where she was fortunate to immediately start working opposite actors Clayton Corzatte, Larry Ballard, Bob Wright, and Peter Silbert. Mary has also worked with Garland Wright at the Seattle Rep, acting opposite Kevin Spacey and Danny Davis. Her first four years in Seattle included other work with the Seattle Rep, ACT, The Empty Space, as well as two productions with the Berkeley Rep.

John Kazanjian founded the New City Theater in '82, where Mary first worked as a choreographer, but quickly started acting in nearly every production. Some New City highlights are THE TOOTH OF CRIME, THE GHOST TRIO, THE FEVER, FAR AWAY, and THE DESIGNATED MOURNER. A very formative experience as an actor was the opportunity to work under the direction of some of America's top experimental playwright/directors, who John Kazanjian commissioned and brought to Seattle. Richard Foreman's premiere of EDDIE GOES TO POETRY CITY was invited to several European festivals. Mary had two opportunities to work with Maria Irene Fornes at New City: first as Julia in FEFU AND HER FRIENDS, and later as Tess in ENTER THE NIGHT, a role Fornes wrote for Ms. Ewald. Two additional national premieres were written and directed by artists Len Jenkin and Jon Jesurun. A nine month New City collaboration with Theatre X, Milwaukee led to A HISTORY OF SEXUALITY, which played in Milwaukee, Germany, and Sweden following its New City run. By far the most formative aspect of Ewald's career has been the ongoing benefit of working consistently with John Kazanjian. Most recently Kazanjian/Ewald collaborations include Beckett's Happy Days, TINY KUSHNER, and Kushner's HOMEBODY. Mary has also acted in several productions directed by Janice Findley, including THE SRKIKER, for which she has been nominated this year for a Gregory Award for outstanding actress.

JOHN KAZANJIAN: In 1973 John began regularly attending live theater in the New York City found spaces of the Off-Off Broadway Experimental Theater, whose artists, artistic vocabulary, and working methods in ensemble organization and process informed his professional career that began in 1978. For the next three years John worked in NYC under the mentorship of Nikos Psacharopoulos, co-founder and Artistic Director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, MA. The Festival Second Company played 5 productions in rotating repertory with a 10 member ensemble drawn from the NYC non-Union community, Yale & Julliard MFA programs. John worked as Production Stage Manager, Managing Director, and in his third season Artistic Director with an ensemble that included actors David Pierce, Michael Cerveris, Mary Ewald; Alley Theatre AD Greg Boyd, Playwrights Horizons' AD Bob Moss; writer/producer Tom Fontana (OZ, Hill St. Blues +). In 1982 John was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Director Fellowship with The Empty Space Theatre, Seattle as well as the Artistic leadership of The Conservatory Theatre Company, which he re-organized upon the model of the NYC experimental, artist centered, Alternative Theater. New York colleagues Nina Moser, Charlie Rathbun, Jim Ragland, and Meg Verner joined John Kazanjian and Mary Ewald to form the founding ensemble of the New City Theater. From 1984 to 1997 until the collapse of the funding era for the arts, John produced the following annual programs: 3 New City Ensemble productions; 1 national commission on 3 year cycles; 1 annual Seattle artist commission; 1 annual presentation of national artists/companies/ in the Visiting Artist Series, the monthly Late Night Club & New Film New City, the annual Working Space/New Dance, The Directors Festival, The Playwrights Festival and start-up residencies for EARSHOT JAZZ & THE ALICE B. THEATRE. John has directed over 50 productions at the New City as well as directing at the Williamstown Second Company, The Empty Space Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre/Seattle, Tacoma Actors Guild, The Group Theatre, & the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

The New City Theater is alive and well with its ensemble composed of founding artists J. Kazanjian, M. Ewald, and designers Nina Moser and Lindsay Smith, and in its final long-term home -two found, renovated storefronts on 18th Avenue at the corner of Union Street.

Tickets for the awards ceremony are ON SALE NOW to the public

About the Gregory A. Falls Sustained Achievement Award- Grateful to those who built the foundations of our community, the Sustained Achievement Award committee looks to honor those who have given years of service to the region's theatres through the following areas:

• Supports, participates and grows our community

"Theatres are like grapes, they grow better in bunches"-quote attributed to Gregory A. Falls

• Has a demeanor, style and attitude of inclusion and collaborative expression

• Lives in Seattle and/or have significant ties to area

• Has spent a great portion of their professional lives making Puget Sound theatre GREAT

For more information about the history of this award and previous recipients, go to

The Gregory Awards are named in honor of Gregory A. Falls (1922-1997), a former chair of the UW School of Drama, who is often credited with creating Seattle's vibrant theatre scene. Falls left the UW in 1971 to devote more time to ACT Theatre (which he had founded in 1965), though he stayed on as a part-time UW faculty member until 1976. He served as president of The National Theatre Conference and Washington Association of Theatre Artists. In 1994, Falls was inducted into the prestigious College of Fellows of the American Theatre.

Theatre Puget Sound (TPS) is a leadership and service organization founded in 1997 to advocate for the region's growing arts community's causes, and administer much-needed services. TPS is now one of the Northwest's leading arts advocacy and leadership organizations, providing programming and services that benefit both the theatre community and the larger regional arts community. TPS has a two-fold mission: to promote the spiritual and economic necessity of theatre to the public, and to unify and strengthen the theatre community through programs, resources, and services. TPS membership includes more than 1,700 individual artists and 140 performing arts organizations. Furthermore, their Space for the Arts program, Arts Crush, and educational programming serves more than 200 non-theatre arts organizations and innumerable individual artists annually. In addition to ARTS CRUSH, TPS sponsors workshops and seminars, regional auditions, manages affordable rehearsal and performance space in the Armory (formerly the Seattle Center House), produces the annual Gregory Awards, and coordinates and promotes other events which strengthen and celebrate our local community.

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