On Monday, March 6, the non-profit Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF) – headquartered in NYC and founded in 1965, as an affiliate of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society – held a virtual ceremony to celebrate the recipients and finalists of its Sixth Annual SDCF Awards for 2022, recognizing excellence in the crafts of stage direction and choreography by individual artists around the country for noteworthy achievement. Hosted by playwright and director Chay Yew, the awards were presented in three categories, for NYC, regional theater, and lifetime achievement.
The Joe A. Callaway Awards – the only awards given by peer directors and choreographers for work on a single production in New York City – were presented to Saheem Ali for his direction of James Ijames’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Fat Ham at Off-Broadway’s The Public Theater (which will begin Broadway previews at the American Airlines Theatre on March 21, and open on April 12) and Josh Prince for his choreography for Off-Broadway’s Trevor: The Musical at Stage 42, based on the short 1994 Oscar-winning film, which led to the creation of The Trevor Project for crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth in 1998.
The 2022 season’s Callaway finalists for excellence in directing were Knud Adams for English (Atlantic Theater Company), David Cromer for A Case for the Existence of God (Signature Theatre Company), and Rebecca Frecknall for Sanctuary City (New York Theatre Workshop). Finalists for excellence in choreography were Danny Mefford for Kimberly Akimbo (Atlantic Theater Company) and Sergio Mejia for ¡Americano! (New World Stages).
In addition to the NYC honors, the Zelda Fichandler Award, given annually to a director or choreographer who has made a significant contribution to their community, was presented to Chicago-based director Ron OJ Parson, resident artist at the Court Theatre and former co-founding artistic director of Onyx Theatre. Native Chicagoan Lili-Anne Brown, who works as a director both locally and nationally, was named a finalist for the award. The ceremony closed with the presentation of the Gordon Davidson Award for lifetime achievement to Donald Byrd, artistic director of Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theater since December 2002, Tony nominee for the Broadway production of The Color Purple, and the first choreographer to receive this award.
Congratulations to all the 2022 honorees. The remote ceremony, directed by Ellie Handel, with Sarah Bierstock serving as script coordinator, is available for viewing on the SDCF YouTube channel or below: