Recipients include Felicia Fields, P.J. Byrne, James and Catherine Denny
Actress Felicia P. Fields (“The Color Purple”) receives the 2014 Award for Excellence in the Arts, presented by Denzel Irby, BFA Acting, class of 2015. With Fields are students in The Theatre School at DePaul including Taylor Blim (left), Irby, and Juwan Lockett. (Photo by Brian McConkey Photography)
CHICAGO —(ENEWSPF)—November 21, 2014. The 26th Annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts were presented Nov. 3 by The Theatre School at DePaul University. The gala, held at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, raised funds for scholarships and celebrated talented artists and visionaries.
Actress Felicia P. Fields (“The Color Purple”) received the 2014 Award for Excellence in the Arts, presented by Denzel Irby, BFA Acting, class of 2015.
“I only got the opportunity to do this because I had great teachers,” Fields explained about her career. “Teachers are the ones that encourage you do that which you don’t think you are able to do.”
Actor and DePaul alumnus P.J. Byrne (“The Wolf of Wall Street,” “The Campaign,” “Horrible Bosses”) accepts the 2014 Alumni Award for Excellence in the Arts, presented by Maureen Kuhl, BFA Theatre Arts, class of 2015. (Photo by Brian McConkey Photography)
Actor and DePaul alumnus P.J. Byrne (“The Wolf of Wall Street,” “The Campaign,” “Horrible Bosses”) accepted the 2014 Alumni Award for Excellence in the Arts, presented by Maureen Kuhl, BFA Theatre Arts, class of 2015.
“As a former recipient of a Theatre School scholarship, I want to thank the school for giving me the tools and the guidance and, most importantly, the love to achieve my goals,” Byrne said.
“The Theatre School has the greatest faculty and staff — and I mean this — in the country and the best new facility in the entire world,” Byrne said. There are students in this room right now who will go on to accomplish things I can’t even imagine, and they will one day be standing up on this stage, giving you a very heartfelt ‘thank you’ for being a part of our DePaul family.”
Leadership Award Goes to James and Catherine Denny
The Leadership Award for Excellence in the Arts was presented to James and Catherine Denny in recognition of their extraordinary contributions to arts and cultural institutions in Chicago.
“DePaul is truly Chicago’s school,” James Denny remarked. “The new Theatre School building symbolizes the beginning of a new chapter in the history of DePaul, when the performing arts receive the long overdue recognition of their role as central pillars of a university education.”
All-star Cast in Audience
Members of the Chicago theatre community showed their support. In attendance were Deb Clapp (executive director, League of Chicago Theatres), Eileen LaCario (vice president, Broadway in Chicago), director/actor Ron OJ Parson, Chris Jones (chief theatre critic for the Chicago Tribune) and Michael Halberstam (artistic director, Writers Theatre).
Also in attendance were Theatre School board members Brian Montgomery (Exelon), Joseph Santiago Jr. (PNC Bank), Pat Slovak (Schiff Hardin), Penny Obenshain, Linda Usher (o2-Cool) and Mary Spalding Burns (board chair). There were more than 300 individuals joining the evening’s festivities.
PNC Bank was the corporate co-chair for the 2014 Awards for Excellence in the Arts, and Scott C. Swanson (president, PNC Bank, Illinois) was in attendance.
“We are proud to support DePaul students through the PNC Senior Scholarship program and other initiatives at The Theatre School,” said Swanson. “These students are talented, passionate, and dedicated, and it’s exciting to see them achieve their dreams. We appreciate that our support enables them to attend one of the greatest theater schools in the country.”
Event co-chairs included Joseph Antunovich (president, Antunovich Associates), Sondra A. Healy (chairman, Turtle Wax, Inc.), Gordon and Carole Segal (co-founders, Crate and Barrel), and the Rev. Monsignor Kenneth Velo (senior executive, Office of Catholic Collaboration, DePaul University).
Major supporters of the event included Antunovich Associates, Exelon, Geico, Magellan Corporation, PNC Bank, R4 Services and Staples. The long-time corporate sponsor of the Awards for Excellence in the Arts is Wedgwood USA, which provides the awards pieces for the honorees.
All About Scholarships
By the end of the night, the 2014 Awards for Excellence in the Arts grossed more than $300,000 for The Theatre School Scholarship Fund.
“We are so grateful to each and every person who supported this event, and contributed to The Theatre School Scholarship Fund,” said John Culbert, dean of The Theatre School. “This crucial support directly impacts the success of the next generation of theatre artists.”
Students from DePaul’s School of Music provided live music throughout the evening. Many members of the League of Chicago Theatres generously donated tickets and arts experiences in support of these onsite fundraising initiatives.
About The Theatre School
The Theatre School at DePaul University educates, trains, and inspires students of theatre in a conservatory setting that is rigorous, disciplined, and culturally diverse. The school and its students strive for the highest level of professional skill and artistry. A commitment to diversity and equality in education is central to its mission.
As an integral part of the training, The Theatre School produces public programs and performances from a wide repertoire of classic, contemporary, and original plays that challenge, entertain, and stimulate the imagination. The school seeks to enhance the intellectual and cultural life of the university community, the city, and the profession. More information is online at http://theatre.depaul.edu.