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DePaul Theatre School names three award winners

The Theatre School at DePaul University, and its dean, John Culbert, have announced the three winners of the 2015 Awards for Excellence in the Arts, to be presented Nov. 9 at the school’s gala in the Atlantic Ballroom of the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel.

The Annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts recognize “distinguished artists and visionaries who have proven their dedication, talent, and leadership in support of the arts.” All proceeds from the event directly benefit The Theatre School Scholarship Fund, supporting students from all over the nation to train at the school.

The winners are:

+ Lou Raizin (President, Broadway In Chicago, and senior vice president of the Nederlander Organization), who will receive the 2015 Leadership Award for Excellence in the Arts in recognition of “extraordinary contributions to arts and cultural institutions in Chicago.” Raizin is a founder and the prime force behind Broadway In Chicago, a joint theatrical venture formed in 2000, under whose leadership Chicago became the third most important city in the world for theater.

Lou Raizin of Broadway in Chicago.

Lou Raizin of Broadway in Chicago.

+ Karen Aldridge (actress and Theatre School alumna), who will receive the 2015 Alumna Award for Excellence in the Arts. An accomplished television, film, and theater performer, Aldridge starred in the international tour of “Le Costume,” a French-language production directed by Peter Brook, immediately after receiving her MFA in Acting from The Theatre School. She originated the role of Mrs. Phelps in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of “Matilda the Musical” on Broadway, and has appeared in many Chicago productions at such theaters as the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Writers Theatre.

Actress Karen Aldridge.

Actress Karen Aldridge.

+ André De Shields (who has starred in such Broadway hits as “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “The Wiz” and “The Full Monty”), will receive the 2015 Award for Excellence in the Arts. In a career spanning forty-six years, De Shields has distinguished himself as an actor, director, choreographer, and educator. He is the recipient of three Jeff Awards, including one as director of Victory Gardens Theater’s 1987 production of “The Colored Museum,” and two as featured performer in a musical for the Goodman Theatre’s productions of “Play On!” (1998) and Mary Zimmerman’s “The Jungle Book” (2013).

The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel is located at 221 N. Columbus Drive. The gala event will begin with a 6 p.m. cocktail reception, followed by dinner and program at 7 p.m., and will conclude with a dessert reception. Single tickets can be purchased for $500. For more information and table pricing, contact DePaul University’s Office of Advancement: (312) 362-8455 or http://www.eventRSVP@depaul.edu.