Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang to Receive 2015 Distinguished Artist Award at New York 2015 ISPA Congress Awards Dinner on January 14, 2015

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony Award winning playwright David Henry Hwang will receive the 2015 Distinguished Artist Award at the New York 2015 ISPA Congress, Dynamic Leadership: Creating the Future Awards dinner at Guastavino’s on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 7:00 P.M.

Other honorees this year include the New England Foundation for the Arts (2015 Angel Award); Graham Sheffield CBE (2015 International Citation of Merit) and Susan Stockton (2015 Patrick Hayes Award). Click here to read more about the winners.

Click here for my photo coverage of the awards.

David Henry Hwang‘s work includes the plays M.ButterflyChinglishYellow FaceGolden ChildThe Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival), and Tarzan. Upcoming productions include two new musicals: The Forgotten Arm, with music and lyrics by Aimee Mann and Paul Bryan, for the Public Theater; and Pretty Dead Girl, with music and lyrics by Anne-Marie Milazzo. Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner and a two-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

As America’s most-produced living opera librettist, he has written four pieces with composer Philip Glass, including The Voyage (Metropolitan Opera, 1992), as well as Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar (two 2007 Grammy Awards), Bright Sheng’s The Silver River (1997), Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland (2007 “World Premiere of the Year” by Opernwelt magazine), Howard Shore’s The Fly (2008) and Huang Ruo’s An American Soldier (2014). Upcoming operas include Through the Looking Glass with Unsuk Chin for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Dream of the Red Chamber with Bright Sheng for the San Francisco Opera.

Unsuk Chin’s Opera Alice in Wonderland, Featuring Libretto Co-Written with David Henry Hwang, Set for UK Premiere at the Barbican Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Novels on March 8, 2015

Mr. Hwang penned the screenplays for M. Butterfly (1993), starring Jeremy Irons and John Lone; Golden Gate (1994), starring Matt Dillon and Joan Chen; and Possession (co-writer, 2002), starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart. With the pop star Prince, he co-wrote the song “Solo,” released on Prince’s 1994 gold album Come. He is currently writing a feature film for Dreamworks Animation and the film adaptation of Chinglish, to be directed by Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, the Fast & Furious franchise), as well as creating an original television series, “Shanghai,” for Lions Gate and Bravo. Yellow Face was adapted into a full-length movie for YouTube by the YOMYOMF Network in 2013.

Hwang is a Tony Award® winner and three-time nominee, a three-time Obie Award winner, and a two-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He received the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award, the 2012 William Inge Award, the 2012 Steinberg “Mimi” Award, and the 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award. Hwang was the 2012-14 Residency One Playwright at New York’s Signature Theatre, which produced a season of his plays, including the premiere of his newest work, Kung Fu He serves as President of Young Playwrights Inc, and sits on the boards of the Lark Play Development Center, The American Theatre Wing, and The Actors Fund. In 2014, he joined the faculty at Columbia University School of the Arts as Director of the Playwriting Concentration.

The Distinguished Artist Award is presented to artists in the field of the performing artists who have made an outstanding contribution of talent, artistry, dedication, and service to the world of the performing arts. The contributions of these award recipients have gone above and beyond their prowess as artists. Recipients of the Distinguished Artist Award have included: Tan Dun, Nicholas Hytner, Regina Carter, Audra McDonald, Ong Keng Sen, Ravi Shankar, Van Cliburn, Laurie Anderson, Pina Bausch, Stephen Sondheim, Cab Callaway, Merce Cunningham, Kurt Masur, Betty Comden & Adolph Green, Philip Glass, James Levine, Marvin Hamlisch, Robert Brustein, Isaac Stern, Leontyne Price, Itzhak Perlman, Alvin Ailey, Jerome Robbins, Helen Hayes, Agnes de Mille, Joseph Papp and Martha Graham.

New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) will receive the 2015 Angel Award at the New York 2015 Congress, Dynamic Leadership: Creating the Future. NEFA’s mission is to build connections among artists, arts organizations, and funders, powering the arts to energize communities in New England, the nation, and the world.

Founded in 1976, NEFA is one of six regional arts organizations established with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to strengthen the national arts infrastructure by cultivating the arts on a regional level. Today, NEFA’s programs are regional, national, and international in scope, and support artists and communities through grants and other opportunities in dance, music, theater, and public art. All aim to provide access to high quality arts experiences for the underserved, including projects that feature artistic expressions from diverse cultures and geographies.

Each program and project that is brought to life at NEFA is created with the underlying goal of building a stronger and more dynamic infrastructure for the arts. Convenings, network building, online tools, and a 30+ year history of data-driven research on the economic impact of the arts are essential complements to NEFA’s grantmaking.

NEFA is a grantmaker, program initiator, aggregator of resources, and builder of creative partnerships among artists, organizations and funders. Our work is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the six New England state arts agencies, foundations, corporations, individuals, and other government agencies.

The Angel Award is presented to an individual or organization which has demonstrated a significant and lasting contribution to the support of the performing arts which transcends the boundaries of one country or institution, and merits international recognition. With a priority on philanthropy, in extraordinary circumstances, this achievement may also reflect outstanding leadership, advocacy, innovation, scholarship, or curatorship.

Graham Sheffield CBE will receive the 2015 International Citation of Merit at the New York 2015 Congress, Dynamic Leadership: Creating the Future. Graham Sheffield is Director Arts for the British Council. He is responsible for leading and delivering global arts strategy and programme across the Council’s 110 country operation.

From 1995-2010 Graham was Artistic Director of the Barbican Centre in London. Under his directorship, the Barbican became one of the most innovative, dynamic and respected centres in the arts world, with an award-winning international programme across the art forms.

In the last three years he has driven a major expansion and rebuilding of the arts programme at the Council, defining a new vision, developing new arts specialists in the global network, planning major extended seasons of work in Brazil, China, Qatar, India, Mexico and South Africa, as well as responding ambitiously to social and political change in the Middle East, Gulf and North Africa.

Under Graham’s leadership, the arts programme has grown in size and received more investment: to launch a Cultural Skills programme, expand the work within the Creative Economy, develop a digital arts programme and refresh and enlarge the Council’s internationally renowned Art Collection – a vital contributor to work overseas in cultural relations.

Graham graduated in Music from Edinburgh University and worked as a Radio 3 producer at the BBC for 12 years. From there he went to the Southbank Centre as Music Projects Director for 5 years, during which time he founded the world-renowned Meltdown Festival. He also served as CEO of the West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong in 2010. He was Chair of the Royal Philharmonic Society (2007-2010), and consulted to the Luminato Festival of Arts and Creativity in Toronto. From 2004-2006 Graham was Chair of the International Society of Performing Arts and a council member of Arts Council England, London (2002 – 2008). In 2014 Graham took up a new role as Chair of the UK’s largest music charity, Help Musicians UK and joined the Board of Rambert.

He was awarded CBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours’ list for services to the arts and was made Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 2005. He is an honorary Doctor of Arts at City University.

The International Citation of Merit is presented for unique lifetime achievement which has enriched the international performing arts. This award is not for performance but rather for distinguished service working within the profession. For example work as a manager (artist/company/venue), in education, marketing and public relations, consultancy, festival director, acoustician, architect and other associated activities. Recipients may be a past or current member of ISPA.

Susan Stockton will receive the 2015 Patrick Hayes Award at the New York 2015 Congress, Dynamic Leadership: Creating the Future. Susan Stockton recently retired as the president of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center a position she assumed in September of 2003. This state-of-the-art center completed in November of 2002 is located in Appleton, Wisconsin and contains a 2,100 seat opera-style house, a 350 seat black box style theater and a 75 person private function space. Programming of this facility included a partnership with Broadway Across America to present a Broadway series, a performing arts series and a daytime education series. There she led a team of 35 full-time professional staff plus numerous part-time and volunteer staff. She was the chief executive officer with oversight responsibility for programming, fundraising, operations and personnel.

Prior to her current position, Stockton was the Director of the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State. There she served as the chief executive officer with overall responsibility for the management of Eisenhower (2,600 seats) and Schwab (900 seats) auditoriums and supervision of more than 20 full-time employees.

While at Penn State she was hired to consult as visiting faculty by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters for their professional development program presenting educational sessions in the areas of fiscal management, fundraising, human resource development, advisory board management, programming, marketing, and arts education introducing a new online course connecting the visiting artist and presenting programs of Penn State.

Positions held prior to Penn State include director of the Center for the Arts at Middlebury College, Director of Campus Affairs at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Stockton also served as: Associate Director (1987 to 1988) and Assistant Director (1986 to 1987) of Management Development Programs at the Simmons College Graduate School of Management in Boston; Director of Student Affairs (1979 to 1986) at Simmons College; and Coordinator of University and Student Programming (1974 to 1978) at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

Stockton is a member and former board chair of the International Society of Performing Arts and for eleven years served as a Tony voting member of The Broadway League. While at Penn State she served as a cultural ambassador for a variety of performing arts programs and artist exchange initiatives in China and Japan. She earned a B.A. in Theatre at the University of Rhode Island and a M.F.A. from the Director Training Program at Ohio University.

She is currently enjoying a relaxed retirement from full time arts administration, pursuing learning opportunities and creative writing courses at Oxford University and serving as a grants panelist for The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

The New York 2015 ISPA Congress will take place from January 13-15, 2015 at various venues around Manhattan. Click here for the complete schedule.

Patrick Hayes was the founding president of the International Society for the Performing Arts Foundation, originally established in 1948 as the National Association of Concert Managers. The Patrick Hayes Award, the only award from an ISPA member to an ISPA member, recognizes an ISPA member of long standing and continued involvement whose achievements in arts management are deserving of special praise and recognition.

David Henry Hwang Articles:
Dec. 1: Behind the Scenes with Disney on Broadway with David Henry Hwang, Chad Beguelin and Rick Elice at New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Aug. 17: David Henry Hwang, Adriane Lenox, Chuck Cooper, Kevin Carolan, Stephanie J. Block, Caissie Levy & More will Sleep on the Streets for Covenant House’s Sleep Out: Broadway Edition
David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage Appointed to the Playwriting Faculty of Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program
Tony Award Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang Receives $275,000 Doris Duke Artist Award
Signature’s Production of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu, starring Cole Horibe, Phoebe Strole and Francis Jue, extends through April 6, 2014 
Photos: Backstage and Opening Night of Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu 
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards 
Click here for more articles on David Henry Hwang.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Amazon Studios Debuts The Man in the High Castle Starring Alexa Davalos, Luke Kleintank, Rupert Evans, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Joel de la Fuente, Rufus Sewell and DJ Qualls on January 15
Jan. 21: Joe Mantegna Helmed ‘Criminal Minds’ Season 10 Episode to Honor the late Meshach Taylor
Tony Award Winner BD Wong Kicks Off La Jolla Playhouse Residency
Photos: Late Night at HERE LIES LOVE with Jaygee Macapugay, David Byrne, Jose Llana, Conrad Ricamora, Melody Butiu and More
Photos: Andrew Rannells and Zuzanna Szadkowski Visit Richard Thomas, Anna Chlumsky, Julie Halston and Annaleigh Ashford at YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU
Remembering Garland Lee Thompson, Sr. (1938-2014); Memorial Set for February 14, 2015
Stephen McKinley Henderson, Victor Almanzar, Elizabeth Canavan, Rosal Colón, Liza Colón-Zayas, Michael Rispoli and Ron Cephas Jones Set for Stephen Adly Guirgis’ BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY at Second Stage Theatre Beginning January 16, 2015
Two-Time Tony Award Nominee André De Shields, Bowman Wright, E. Faye Butler, KenYatta Rogers, Jessica Frances Dukes and Michael Anthony Williams Set for Arena Stage’s King Hedley II, February 6- March 8, 2015
THE WIZ Turns 40- Photos from Original Broadway Production and BC/EFA Gypsy of The Year Celebration Featuring André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Christina Sajous, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White and More
Up Close and Personal with Jose Llana; HERE LIES LOVE Star Set for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Debut on March 12, 2015
Photos: Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Micki Grant, Woodie King Jr., Voza Rivers, Talvin Wilks, Garland Thompson Jr., Charles Turner, Jamal Joseph, Debra Ann Byrd and More at harlem is…Theater
Photos: David Byrne, Jaygee Macapugay, Jose Llana and Conrad Ricamora Bring the ‘Here Lies Love’ Disco to the Apple Store Soho
Photos: Fashion Designer Josie Natori at New Boutique in Nolita; Honored by Asian Cultural Council
Randy Reyes, Michael Sung-Ho and Meghan Kreidler Set for Mu Performing Arts’ Production of David Henry Hwang’s FOB, January 30 – February 15
Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue, Telly Leung, Jo Mei, James Saito and Sue Jin Song Set for MTC Run of World Premiere of The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, February 3 – March 29
Two-Time Tony Award Nominee André De Shields, Bowman Wright, E. Faye Butler, KenYatta Rogers, Jessica Frances Dukes and Michael Anthony Williams Set for Arena Stage’s King Hedley II, February 6- March 8, 2015
ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” starring Randall Park, Constance Wu, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, and Ian Chen, Premieres on February 4 & 10
Baryshnikov Arts Center Presents New York Premiere of Carmen De Lavallade’s Solo Show AS I REMEMBER IT in February 2015
Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt, Paul Nolan, Lora Lee Gayer, Melody Butiu, Julian Cihi and More Set for Broadway Bound Dr. Zhivago
Preview of Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Spring Exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass, Announced at the Palace Museum in China
Photos: Ellen Burstyn, Baz Luhrmann, John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Stephen McKinley Henderson, John Patrick Shanley, David Henry Hwang, Liza Colón-Zayas, Kenneth Lonergan and More Celebrate Stephen Adly Guirgis at The Mimi Awards
Photos: Tommy Tune, Bob Avian, Lee Roy Reams, Christine Toy Johnson, Orville Mendoza, Lori Tan Chinn, Raul Aranas, Virginia Wing and More Celebrate 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award Recipient Baayork Lee Crafting a Career
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

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