Four South Florida-connected actors and a playwright are making their marks way beyond the place all have called home.
At Monday's Helen Hayes Awards in Washington, D.C., Erik Liberman (that's Erik in the plaid jacket in the photo at right) took home the honor as outstanding supporting actor in a resident musical for his performance as Charley Kringas in the revival of Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along at Virginia's Signature Theatre. Liberman, who grew up in Miami, graduated from the New World School of the Arts high school program. Also scoring a major Helen Hayes award was Marc Kudisch, named outstanding leading actor in a resident musical for his performance in Signature's The Witches of Eastwick. Kudisch, who stays very busy on Broadway these days, grew up in Plantation and graduated from Florida Atlantic University.
Though she doesn't know yet how things will turn out, Liberty City-raised April Yvette Thompson has reason to rejoice too. She has been nominated for three major awards -- the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Lucille Lortel Award -- for her solo show Liberty City, a play she co-authored with Jessica Blank (one of the two Exonerated playwrights). Thompson's play, which premiered at the New York Theatre Workshop, is rooted in her experiences as the daughter of activists -- experiences that included the Miami riots of 1980.
Two other Miami theater talents are making noise elsewhere.
Carbonell Award-winning actor Reggie Whitehead has landed a "dream job," he says, playing Sportin' Life in a production of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess that will tour Russia, Poland, Estonia and Latvia this summer.
Playwright and actress Lauren Feldman (at left, in an earlier show at GableStage) will receive her master's degree from the Yale School of Drama this spring. Her play Grace, or the Art of Climbing is one of three scripts in Yale's Carlotta Festival of New Plays May 9-18. Feldman's play is about a depressed young woman who turns to competitive rock-climbing in the aftermath of her father's illness and a painful breakup. For info, visit the Carlotta Festival web site.