Olympia Dukakis to Receive 2014 Elliot Norton Lifetime Achievement Award

BWW News Desk

The Boston Theater Critics Association (BTCA) has announced Academy Award-winner and international star of stage, television and film OLYMPIA DUKAKIS will receive the 2014 Elliot Norton Lifetime Achievement Award on Monday, May 19 at The Wheelock Family Theatre, 200 The Riverway, Boston. The ceremony highlights will feature nominated musical performances, The Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence, and other surprises. Tickets are $30 for ceremony and party, and available through the WFT box office, 617-879-3200, or online at nortonawardsboston.com or OvationTix. (Use “Norton2014” code to receive $10 off through April 30, 2014).

Reflecting the theater community’s commitment to diversity and accessibility, and Wheelock Family Theatre leadership in inclusive theatre, interpreters Christopher Robinson and Sho Ndukwe will provide live ASL interpretation of the ceremony for the first time.

According to Joyce Kulhawik, President of the BTCA, “I’ve been in love with Olympia Dukakis since MOONSTRUCK-her range and repertoire from film, and television is remarkable, and her commitment and passion for the stage remains as vibrant as ever-I cannot wait to have this local “Olympian” actress receive her Nortie to put on the shelf next to her Oscar, Obie and Golden Globe!”

A Lowell, Massachusetts native and graduate of Boston University’s Sargent College, Dukakis gained widespread acclaim for her Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning performance as Rose Casterini, the astute and sharp-tongued mother to Cher’s Loretta Casterini, in the beloved and timeless movie MOONSTRUCK, winning the Golden Globe that year for the same role. Her theater, film, and television work has received numerous acclaims and award nominations, as well as earning Dukakis an Obie Award, a Drama Desk Award, and a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award.

She has appeared in signature roles in more than 60 feature and short films, including Cloudburst, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Steel Magnolias, Dad, Look Who’s Talking I, II & III, Mighty Aphrodite, Jeffrey, and Away From Her. Her more than 40 television credits include Bored to Death (most recent), Last of the Blond Bombshells (Judi Dench), Sinatra (Golden Globe Nominee), Joan of Arc (Emmy Nominee), Tales of the City, More Tales of the City (Emmy Nominee), and Further Tales of the City. Her New York theatre credits include Who’s Who in Hell, Social Security, Rose (Drama Desk Award Nominee) and The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, and Dukakis has performed in more than 130 productions Off-Broadway and regionally at theaters including A.C.T., Shakespeare in the Park, Shakespeare & Co., and Williamstown Summer Theatre Festival, where she also served as Associate Director. She was most recently seen at Shakespeare & Co. last year in the title role of Mother Courage and Her Children, and will appear at New Repertory Theatre in Spring 2015 in The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore.

A daughter of Greek immigrants, and a cousin of former Gov. Michael Dukakis, Dukakis says she gained a love of theater from her father, who performed theater in Lowell, and her mother, who played the piano. In addition to acting, she was a founding member and Producing Artistic Director of the Whole Theatre in Montclair, NJ for 19 years. Locally, she was a founding member of both the Actor’s Company and Boston’s Charles Playhouse. She taught acting at NYU (graduate school) for fourteen years and teaches master classes for colleges and universities across the country. She has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Greek America Foundation and the National Arts Club Medal of Honor and received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her autobiography, Ask Me Again Tomorrow: A Life in Progress, was published in 2003.

The Elliot Norton Awards are named in honor of the distinguished Boston theater critic Elliot Norton, who for many years served on the selection committee and who remained an engaged supporter of the drama, both locally and nationally, until his death in 2003 at the age of 100. For 48 years Mr. Norton was a drama critic for Boston newspapers; concurrently, from 1958 until his retirement in 1982, he was moderator of “Elliot Norton Reviews” on WGBH television.

The Boston Theater Critics Association, presenters of the Elliot Norton Awards, includes Don Aucoin, Jared Bowen, Terry Byrne, Carolyn Clay, Nick Dussault, Iris Fanger, Joyce Kulhawik, Robert Nesti, Kilian Melloy, and Ed Siegel. Together with the thriving local theater community, they strive to carry on Mr. Norton’s proud legacy.


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