October 8, 2008

New Works Festival Announces Awards

By Alice T Carter

"Man Woman Hombre Mujer" was the big winner Sunday as the Pittsburgh New Works Festival announced the winners of the "Donna" awards for its 18th season.

Each year the festival, which is dedicated to fostering the development of original one-act plays, debuts a dozen works, with each produced by a different theater company.

The awards, named for the festival's founder, Donna Rae, were conferred at the annual Pittsburgh New Works Festival Gala at Grand View Golf Club in North Braddock.

Chris Gavaler of Virginia won the award for outstanding contribution by a playwright for "Man Woman Hombre Mujer." It's the third year in a row that Gavaler has won the award, which carries a cash prize of $500.

Four additional awards went to those associated with "Man Woman Hombre Mujer":

McKeesport Little Theater's Florence Herrup, who produced the play, received the Donna for outstanding production.

Check Penick, received the Donna for outstanding director. In addition to the award, Penick received a $250 cash prize.

Trent Wolfred received the Donna for outstanding actor in a lead actor.

Jessica Kennedy received the Donna for outstanding actress in a lead role.

Three additional awards were presented:

Heather Gray received the Donna for outstanding actress in a supporting role for her performance in "Air," written by Robert Isenberg and produced by Cup-A-Jo Productions.

Dan Krack won the Donna for outstanding actor in a supporting role for his performance in F.J. Hartland's "Cemetery Plot," produced by CCAC South.

Tony Ferrieri received the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his three decades of work as a set designer.

Ferrieri is marking his 29th season as City Theatre's resident scenic designer and director of production. Over the past dozen years, he has also served as resident scenic designer for Quantum Theatre and has been resident designer for Jewish Theatre of Pittsburgh. Among his nearly 425 credits are creations for Playhouse Repertory Company, Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, Unseam'd Shakespeare Company, Pittsburgh Opera, Barebones Productions, Pittsburgh International Children's Theater Festival, Theatre at Hartwood and Greater Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival.

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