On Monday, June 22, Barefoot Theatre Company celebrates the second annual Vassallo Awards with a Spring Gala beginning at 7:15 pm at the American Ballroom Theater on 25 West 31st Street in Manhattan. Actress Anna Chlumsky (“VEEP”) and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis (Riverside and Crazy) are among those honored for artistic achievements. The ceremony, hosted by VH1’s Ellie Lee, also honors mentorship and educational outreach to the younger generation of artists in memory of Ed Vassallo, whose artistic career spanned 20 years and included work producing for the LAByrinth Theatre Company and volunteering with the 52nd Street Project. RED-CARPET CELEBRATION VIP COCKTAIL HOUR – 7:15pm / CURTAIN – 8pm Running Time (presentation & awards ceremony) – 75mins $25 in advance / $35 at the door Tickets: web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/10010055 Chlumsky, who will accept the Vassallo Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts, said of all the theatre companies she’s been linked to, “Barefoot is the one I most respect, that I most enjoy working with.” Guirgis, who recently received the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Between Riverside and Crazy, a nuanced, beautifully written play about a retired police officer faced with eviction that uses dark comedy to confront questions of life and death, will receive the Vassallo Award for Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting. Barefoot also salutes Kamilah Forbes of Hi-Arts with the Educational Outreach Program Award, and Daniel Talbott of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater with the Mentorship Award. Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Between Riverside and Crazy Garners 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama Video: ATC Uncovered: Guards of the Stage — A Playwright’s Talk with Stephen Adly Guirgis and Rajiv Joseph In addition to the awards presentation, the Gala includes live music, dancing and a performance of Waiting for Waiting For Godot by Mike Reiss, Emmy and Peabody award-winning writer for “The Simpsons”. Directed by Barefoot Theatre Company founder and Artistic Director Francisco Solorzano, the short play stars Jerry Adler (Larry David’s Fish in the Dark), Allison Anderegg, Jeremy Brena, Charles Everett, Daniel K. Isaac, Kenneth King, Margaret Ladd, Sevrin Mason, Michael Pantozzi, and Christa Wroblewski. “I’ve had the good fortune of working several times with Frank and Barefoot,” Reiss said. “They are consummate professionals and wonderful people.”
Barefoot founded the awards after Vassallo lost a two-year battle with cancer in 2014. The company was inspired to recognize Vassallo’s dedication to the arts, which included work producing the TENN99 and NYNY festivals for the LAByrinth Theatre Company as well as feature films which saw release at the Tribeca Film Festival and IFC/Sundance Selects. Vassallo’s passion extended to work as a mentor with the 52nd Street Project, which pairs New York City children and teens from with professional theatre artists. For this reason, the awards acknowledge not only artistic achievements but also educational outreach and mentorship that engages the next generation of artists. The Vassallo Awards are sponsored by Sixpoint Brewery, American Ballroom Theater & Barefoot Studio Pictures. Barefoot Theatre Company was founded in 1999 by a multicultural group of artists determined to produce vital, thought-provoking works, both new and existing. Now based out of both New York City and Los Angeles, hey have developed, work shopped and produced over 150 new plays staged at INTAR; RATTLESTICK; THE FLEA; CHERRY LANE THEATRE; IRT THEATER; HERE ARTS CENTER; THE BRICK; LABYRINTH THEATER CO., THE ACTOR’S STUDIO, and THEATRE ROW THEATRES, among others. Recent collaborations with award-winning writers include Jose Rivera, Jesse Eisenberg, Kristoffer Diaz, Israel Horovitz, Bernardo Cubria, Hilary Bettis, Mando Alvarado, Ed. Cardona Jr., Mike Reiss, actors Chris Cooper, Ethan Hawke, Bobby Cannavale, Gina Gershon, Richard Kind, Mickey Sumner, Craig ‘muMs’ Grant, Will Rogers, Caitlin FitzGerald, Alfredo Narciso, Annabella Sciorra, and Michael Stuhlbarg. Now in its 16th season, Barefoot is also developing films via sister company Barefoot Studio Pictures. Their award winning short film, Floating Sunflowers, is currently playing the festival circuit and stars ensemble members Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”; My Girl; In the Loop) and Lynn Cohen (Munich; Hunger Games 2; “Sex and the City”). Another short, written and directed by Caitlin FitzGerald (“Masters of Sex”) is currently in post-production.
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon and Taxman. She has guest starred on “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” and “New York Undercover.”
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