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The Ninth Annual Clive Barnes Awards at The Walter Reade Theater
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The Ninth Annual Clive Barnes Awards at The Walter Reade Theater

- Special Events: Offstage with the Dancers

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The Clive Barnes Foundation
(The Clive Barnes Foundation Website)

The Ninth Annual Clive Barnes Awards
For Young Talents in Dance & Theatre

Michael Riedel, Master of Ceremonies
Greetings, Valerie Taylor-Barnes, President

Theatre and Dance Award Presenters:
Beth Leavel, Tony Award-Winner
Michael Novak, Artistic Director,
Paul Taylor American Modern Dance

“One Year Later” Comments:
Evan Ruggiero, 2017 Theatre Winner
Gemma Bond, 2017 Dance Winner for Choreography

Press: Richard Kornberg & Associates

The Walter Reade Theater
(The Walter Reade Theater Film Page)
Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 11, 2019

It was wonderful revisiting the so very welcoming Ninth Annual Clive Barnes Awards this afternoon at the Walter Reade Theater. The Clive Barnes Foundation honors rising stars and generously assists all the finalists, who are emerging artists in theatre and dance. I always miss seeing Clive Barnes at the theatre and the ballet; he was always a loyal devotee, a critic extraordinaire, and an ebullient presence on talk shows and in the press. His wife, Valerie Taylor-Barnes, President of the Board of Directors of The Clive Barnes Foundation, spoke at today’s Awards event at The Walter Reade Theater. Ms. Taylor-Barnes briefly described the dance and theatre careers of today’s honorees. She was ever so generous in her praise and encouragement.

This year there were four nominees for the Theatre Award, Edmund Donovan, an emerging actor, who was seen Off-Broadway at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in Samuel D. Hunter’s Lewiston/Clarkston, as well as on television and film, Ian Duff, a busy young actor and former athlete, who won SeriesFest’s Best Actor in a Drama in 2017, Will Roland, an actor/singer who has appeared in Be More Chill and Dear Evan Hansen, and Ana Villafañe, who was favorably reviewed on these pages for her superb characterization of Gloria Estefan in Broadway’s On Your Feet. The grand prize winner of $5,000 from the Barnes Foundation was Edmund Donovan. Additional cash prizes were awarded to competing nominees.

There were also four nominees this year for the Dance Award, Joo Won Ahn from American Ballet Theatre, a member of the ballet Corps, Zoey Anderson, a member of Parsons Dance since 2015, who has performed my favorite Parsons work, Caught, Erez Milatin, a member of New York Theatre Ballet, who has danced Tudor works, and Sebastián Villarini-Vélez, a Soloist with New York City Ballet, who has originated several challenging roles. The $5,000 grand prize Dance Award was given to Zoey Anderson, with additional cash prizes awarded to the competing nominees.

Michael Riedel, a Broadway critic for the New York Post and author of the book, "Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway", was once again the Master of Ceremonies. He was engaging and entertaining, introducing today’s Presenters and the Foundation’s goals and achievements. He also regaled the crowd with anecdotes about Mr. Barnes, telling of his arrival at The New York Times from London in the 60’s. Specifically, Mr. Riedel spoke about Mr. Barnes’ extraordinary ability to phone in his always sophisticated critiques when necessary, for a rapid out-of-town article. As we have learned from Mr. Riedel over the years, at these Barnes events, Mr. Barnes was dedicated to clarity and communication, thinking of his working-class father as the one who must comprehend his reviews.

The Presenter for the Theatre Award was a New York favorite, Beth Leavel, now starring in The Prom on Broadway, who had to leave quickly for a commitment with her show, which was so fantastic that I plan to see it again. She invited Edmund Donovan to the stage for his gracious acceptance of the grand prize. A film clip of his performance in Rattlestick’s Lewiston/Clarkston was quite impressive. Michael Novak, the new Artistic Director of Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, presented the Dance Award to Zoey Anderson, whose modern dance performances were also represented in film clips, as were the performances of all competing nominees for both the Theatre and Dance Barnes Awards.

In the “One Year Later” segment of the program, Evan Ruggiero, the 2017 Theatre Winner, spoke about his particular physical challenges, overcoming enormous obstacles, and finding the strength to “forge ahead”. Gemma Bond, the 2017 Dance Winner, for choreography, spoke about the birth of her baby (she had exuberantly accepted last year’s prize while expecting her child) and her current work for Washington Ballet. She also has just started her dance routines again. Closing remarks, from Mr. Riedel and Ms. Taylor-Barnes, led to a lovely reception for all.