The 2019 Lunt-Fontanne Fellows

Charin Alvarez
The Goodman Theater
(Chicago, IL)

"I am delighted and honored to nominate Charín Alvarez for the prestigious Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship.  Fifteen years ago I was introduced to Charín’s work when she was cast in her first Goodman production, Luis Alfaro’s Electricidad, directed by our Resident Artistic Associate, Henry Godinez.  Since that first collaboration, Charín has appeared on our stages in six Goodman productions as well as numerous workshops and readings, not to mention the productions we have presented with other companies, including Teatro Vista, where she is an ensemble member. I’ve worked with Charín on two of my own productions; she was cast in Dollhouse by Rebecca Gilman and in Seth Bockley’s and my adaptation of Roberto Bolaño’s epic novel 2666.  In my work with Charin, I found her to be a serious artist with deep instincts for character.  She possesses a rich emotional life, and has an incredible passion for the work.  Working with her has been a pleasure; she is a consummate professional and beloved by her fellow actors. Charín is an actor of immense ability whose talents have been developed within Chicago’s highly diverse theater community.  Without formal training, she learned by working in our off-Loop community, refining her craft alongside fellow actors and established directors, building her technique one project at a time.  Due to her incredible charisma and innate talent, she has become one of Chicago’s most desired (and acclaimed) leading ladies.  Her diligence and dedication to the work has made Charín the quintessential Chicago actor.  She has proven herself to be an artist of the highest caliber and I can think of nobody better to add to the ensemble of fellows at Ten Chimneys."

-          Robert Falls, Artistic Director

Kitty Balay
Pacific Conservatory Theatre
(Santa Monica, CA)

"Kitty Balay is a treasured theatre artist, artistic advocate and civic engager.  Kitty’s creative relationship with PCPA – Pacific Conservatory Theatre began 30 years ago!  From those early stages of her professional career until today, Kitty has refined her terrific gifts into powerful skills, while she has forged deep relationships with her colleagues, generations of students and the community we all serve.  Kitty’s acting can only be described as incandescent – illuminating dark passages of our shared journey and shining out with the brightest joys of the human experience.  Her work leaves a beautiful and indelible imprint on our audiences.  She is a simply magnetic storyteller, rendering performances that are both deeply felt and superbly crafted.  She is beloved for her work in musical theatre - whether it’s Rosie from Mamma Mia!, Mama Rose from Gypsy, or Dolly Levi or Patsy Cline - but she is revered for her work as a dramatic actress, particularly for her shattering mastery in performances as Kate Keller, Queen Gertrude, Queen Margaret and Amanda Wingfield.  She consistently delivers work that is intellectually thrilling, psychologically complex and heart-rendingly authentic.  She is likewise a comedienne of impeccable skill and moxie in roles like Dotty in Noises Off, or Mrs. Jennings in Sense and Sensibility or Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals.  It’s no wonder that she has spent a good deal of her career with a conservatory theatre.  She has a deep, genuine passion for community and the positive impact of art on young people, blended powerfully with a passion for the future of young artists and their role as culture shapers.  Kitty’s great experience at a conservatory theatre is also important for a couple of reasons; one is that, experience matters.  There is simply no shortcut to some kinds of mastery.  As Aristotle reminded us, “… the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”  The opportunity to just do the work, carving away, again and again, putting oneself and one’s work through the fire and removing the dross, over and over, produces a uniquely refined artist.  This is linked to the second important reason Kitty’s conservatory theatre experience is special – it’s been focused on process as much as product.  Her vibrant artistic career has been built in a context that makes a constant, direct connection between excellent professional practice and learning.  I am honored to call Kitty Balay colleague and friend, and very grateful to the Ten Chimneys Foundation for the recognition and rejuvenation the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship will rightly afford her through this visionary program."

-          Mark Booher, Artistic Director

Nancy Carroll
Huntington Theatre Company
(Rockport, MA)

“It is with a great sense of pride that I nominate Nancy Carroll to represent the Huntington Theatre Company for the Ten Chimneys’ Fellowship. Nancy has been performing on the Huntington stages for almost two decades, in over 14 acclaimed productions, where she has worked with such prominent directors as Les Waters, Maria Aitken, Nicholas Martin, and Melia Bensussen. From the Huntington, she has transferred with productions to Broadway in Nicholas Martin’s production of Present Laughter, to Los Angeles in my production of Rapture, Blister, Burn, and many others. In all roles, Nancy tirelessly pursues truth and excellence. Nancy’s relationship to text, physical agility, and dry humor are altogether unparalleled. She is fiercely intelligent, wildly funny, and as human as they come. Paramount, however, is her top-notch character. She is a tremendous colleague and is unique in her remarkable ability to lift up those around her. When Nancy is onstage, you know that everyone is doing their best work. She truly raises the bar for professionalism and generosity at our theatre. Nancy is a cornerstone of the Boston theatre community and we are fortunate to have worked with her for so many years. I hope you have the opportunity to experience her tremendous gifts first-hand at Ten Chimneys.”

 -Peter DuBois, Artistic Director

Donna English
Paper Mill Playhouse
(Millburn, NJ)

"I first encountered the wonderful Donna English in several off-Broadway productions many years ago, Ruthless and Forbidden Broadway (she still “does” an amazing Julie Andrews).  Her comedic chops and her glorious soprano were on full display, and I will always remember the strong impression she made conquering those stages.  Today, I have the utmost pleasure of working with Donna in our upcoming Beauty and the Beast, her tenth, yes tenth Paper Mill production.  The comic prowess and the ever-beautiful soprano have not dimmed one iota.  She is still a sly, slinky stealer of scenes.  Over her many seasons on our stage, she has never ceased to amaze me with a dazzling display of talent.  She does “diva” better than anyone as illustrated by her suitably over-the-top turns as “Velma” in Hairspray and opera stars “Diana” and “Tatiana” respectively in both of Ken Ludwig’s hilarious “Tenor” farces, among others.  She even recently stood by for one of the world’s greatest actual divas, Renee Fleming, in the Broadway production of Living on Love.  But it is her deep-feeling heart that is the basis for all her showy and sometimes outrageous portrayals on the Paper Mill stage.  It is that depth of feeling and pathos that makes you love these self-possessed women that she is so skilled at bringing to life.  She has also utilized that heart and emotion to great advantage in the opposite kinds of roles – a loving mother who will do anything to keep her family happy in Meet Me In St. Louis, and the most beautiful and sympathetic “Elsa” in The Sound of Music that I have ever seen – a role people traditionally love to hate.  Donna possesses immense talent, but also immense life experience and professionalism.  She is an outstanding and supportive company member and has been a mentor and role model for our young casts of Grease and High School Musical, whose lives and careers were clearly enhanced by her example.  She is also a loving wife and a superb mother of a teenage young woman – that can’t be easy!  But she tackles the joys and challenges in life as she does on stage – with fierce determination, an enormous skill set, and unwavering grace and kindness.  This program will enable her to continue to grow because Donna will never stop working to always be the best she can be.   I look forward to our next collaboration - because I think she’s just getting started."

-          Mark Hoebee, Artistic Director

Sam Gregory
Denver Performing Arts Center
(Denver, CO)

"At auditions for Twelfth Night recently, I asked Sam Gregory where he trained.  He replied:  “In the trenches.  I didn’t go to school, I apprenticed, then I started working and I watched the people who were good, and asked a lot of questions.”  I asked because he had just walked in and delivered what I’d consider an ‘actor’s actor’ performance of Malvolio’s scenes:  grounded, vivid, funny and clear as a bell.    It’s the kind of work Denver audiences and fellow artists have come to expect from one of the region’s most respected theatre artists.  With 48 productions at the Denver Center, more than 30 at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, some 25 at California Shakespeare Festival, and major roles at many of the country’s most important regional theatres, he is the kind of artist that keeps our field thriving.  I’ve seen him lift audiences into peels of laughter in the great classics, and most recently, break their hearts as the bartender in Lynn Nottage’s Sweat.  He is both generous and edgy, with a deep range of skills. I’m thrilled that he’s getting the kind of recognition that the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship affords."

-          Chris Coleman, Artistic Director

Reginald A. Jackson
Intiman Theatre
(Seattle, WA)

"It is with great enthusiasm that I write to you in wholehearted support of Reginald Jackson’s selection as a 2019 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow. I have known Reggie for at least a dozen years and have had the pleasure of working with him at many Seattle theatres in my work as a freelance costume and scenic designer. All told, he has been captivating national audiences with his deep range of character portrayal for over 25 years in roles spanning from Othello to Martin Luther King (MOUNTAIN TOP). In addition to an incredible range of acting talent, Reggie is dedicated to hands-on theatre education. As a instructor with Freehold Theatre Lab’s Engaged Theatre Program and others, he has been leading trauma-informed practices in King County prisons, trauma and youth centers for over 14 years. Reggie’s gifts are not limited to the stage. He is a prolific playwright, having adapted several novels for the stage (THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM & BUD, NOT BUDDY,) and a full musicals (FREE BOY: A TRUE STORY OF SLAVE AND MASTER & EMBOLDEN) about Buddy Bolden and Seattle’s deep history of Jazz. These plays are beyond innovation; they are an act of revolution. Though this fellowship focuses on his work as an actor, I think it is important to note his work as a writer as well as it bespeaks his commitment to theatre. It also makes him an invaluable asset in the room as others are working on their own scripts. He is able to contribute to the development of work in ways that many actors are not. While Reggie has appeared on Intiman’s stages since 1998, we most look forward to his homecoming after this residency and his portrayal of Logger in Eisa Davis’ BULRUSHER, directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton, in late summer 2019! To quote Valerie, “Reggie is that guy - the one show leaves it all onstage. He is thorough, specific, committed, present and ego-less.”

-          Jennifer Zeyl, Artistic Director

Paolo Montalban
Paper Mill Playhouse
(Millburn, NJ)

“Paolo is a seasoned performer whose career has spanned from Broadway and off-Broadway to regional theaters across the country.  I have had the extreme pleasure of working with Paolo in four Paper Mill productions over almost twenty-five years, the first in 1995, and the last just this season in the east coast premiere of the new musical Benny & Joon.   I was also fortunate to see him portray a magnificent “King” in The King and I at Maryland’s Olney Theatre, and in several productions in New York City – most notably the stunning revival of Pacific Overtures.  Paolo also has the great distinction of becoming a heartthrob to millions of young women when he played “The Prince” in ABC/Disney’s adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, where he shattered the glass ceiling of race and diversity by starring opposite Brandy (and Whitney Houston) in a classic fairy tale that, this time, appealed to children (and grown-ups) of all colors.  He returned to Paper Mill not long after to play that role again on our stage to renewed acclaim.  Paolo is not only an actor of great range and depth, he is as committed to being in an ensemble or playing a supporting role as he is to playing a royal leading man.  Paolo is a wonderful company member and truly one of the kindest people you will ever have the privilege to know.  He constantly exhibits grace and humility and, in recent years, has had a fire inside him to grow as a performer and a person.  Having performed in Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Delacorte in Central Park a few years ago, it sparked his interest in Shakespeare so he took a hiatus from his professional career and went across the pond to spend time studying at RADA.   I think he continues to be hungry to expand his craft and his theatrical horizon, and he literally wept when he was invited to participate in the Ten Chimneys program.  I can’t speak highly enough of his commitment to his craft and to this community.   I know Paolo will revel in this experience and take away the maximum benefits that it bestows.  And you will be so happy that you gave Paolo this opportunity – you will learn that he is a real-life Prince Charming.

-          Mark Hoebee, Artistic Director  

Joey Parsons
Yale Repertory Theatre
(New York, NY)

“Joey Parsons is a deeply talented and accomplished actor, as well as a buoyant and loving collaborator who makes everyone around her feel lucky to be in the room. She is fiercely curious, and marshals both rigor and spontaneity in her work, while modeling what it is to be generous with others. Working with her is a joy: she is a star both in life and onstage.

-          James Bundy, Artistic Director

Herbert Siguenza
La Jolla Playhouse
(San Diego, CA)

“I am honored to nominate Herbert Siguenza for Ten Chimneys’ Lunt-Fontanne fellowship. As a founding member of Culture Clash, the iconic -- and gleefully iconoclastic -- Chicano/Latino theatre company, Herbert’s contribution to the landscape of the American Theater is truly monumental. Through brilliant satire, heartbreaking drama and irreverent physical comedy, Culture Clash has tackled many of the hot button topics facing our nation for over thirty years, filtered through a Chicano point of view. Their work has been performed at many of the country’s top regional theaters including The Mark Taper Forum, The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, Huntington Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and La Jolla Playhouse, where we've had the great privilege of producing Zorro in Hell and American Night: The Ballad of Juan José. Herbert is also a prolific writer and performer apart from Culture Clash; the Playhouse -- in partnership with San Diego REP -- premiered his site-specific, post-apocalyptic riff on Henry IV, El Henry, in 2014 as part of our Without Walls series. The show ingenuously turned the Silo in Makers Corner in San Diego's East Village into a run-down metropolis called Aztlan City in 2045, where Mexicans and Chicanos rule a society abandoned by Anglo America. Herbert is a vibrant and essential member of our theatre community. He has chosen San Diego as his theatrical home and audiences around town have been wowed by his wildly imaginative and politically sharp pieces. As a founder of Amigos Del Rep, a theatre advocacy council of community members and artists who promote Hispanic/Latino/Chicano theatre at San Diego REP and around the city, Herbert is mentoring the next generation of Hispanic/Latino/Chicano artists.We are thrilled that Herbert will be the beneficiary of this invaluable fellowship.

-          Christopher Ashley, Artistic Director

Craig Wallace
Shakespeare Theatre Company
(Washington DC)

“I am delighted to nominate Craig Wallace for the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship at Ten Chimneys. It has been a delight to watch Craig’s growth as an actor through the years that I’ve been here. He began doing small roles in several of our Shakespearean productions, and blessed with a strong voice and an equally strong stage presence, he has through the application of his talent emerged as one of the leading actors of the Washington, DC theatre scene. He has played major and iconic roles in many of the area theatres, and I know that he will be a valuable addition to this year’s group of fellows. I have been a friend of Tyne’s for quite some years, and I am so pleased that they will be working together. 

                                  - Michael Kahn, Artistic Director

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