Actresses S. Epatha Merkerson, Stana Katic and Amy Morton will be feted April 22 by The Theatre School at DePaul University during its 25th annual Awards for Excellence in the Arts ceremony. Other honorees at the Chicago gala include Broadway lighting designer Paul Miller and Allstate Insurance Company.
The annual awards recognize distinguished artists and visionaries who have proven their dedication, talent and leadership in support of the arts. Proceeds from the event benefit The Theatre School Scholarship Fund.
Perhaps best known for her 17-year role as police Lt. Anita Van Buren in the TV series “Law & Order,” Merkerson is an actress whose credits include the movies “Lincoln” and “Lackawanna Blues,” and the play “Come Back, Little Sheba.” She currently stars in NBC’s “Deception.” Among other honors, she has won an Emmy, Screen Actors Guild Award, Golden Globe and four NAACP Image Awards.
Also being honored is actress and director Morton, an Oak Park, Ill., native. She appeared in the TV series “Boss” and is often seen on stage at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company. She received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Actress in a Supporting Role in a Play for her Steppenwolf performance in “You Can’t Take it With You.” Before joining Steppenwolf, where she appeared in more than 30 productions, Morton was a member of the Remains Theatre Ensemble in Chicago.
Another Award for Excellence in the Arts will be presented to Katic, star of the hit ABC TV series “Castle,” where she plays New York police Detective Kate Beckett. She also will star in the upcoming motion picture “CBGB,” which is about the punk-rock scene in New York and the nightclub, CBGB (country, bluegrass and blues). Katic, who was born in Canada and later lived in Aurora, Ill., studied acting at DePaul. According to her biography, she speaks Croatian, Serbian, Slovene, French and Italian, in addition to English.
Miller, a DePaul Theatre School alumnus, is a Broadway and special event lighting designer whose work includes “Titanic,” “The Sound of Music,” “Hairspray” and “Legally Blonde: The Musical.” Since 2001, Miller has been the lighting director for the New Year’s Eve celebration in Time Square. A video interview with him on Dec. 31, 2012, in Times Square is online at http://bit.ly/Z9gOFx. Miller is receiving the 2013 Alumni Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Allstate Insurance Company will receive the Corporate Award for Excellence in the Arts. With its headquarters in Northbrook, Ill., Allstate serves approximately 16 million households through its multiple insurance products. As the largest personal lines insurer, Allstate enacted its “You’re in Good Hands with Allstate” slogan once again with the creation of the Allstate Foundation in 1952. The Allstate Foundation works at the local, state and national levels to help people lead better lives and drive social change. Victoria Dinges, vice president of public social responsibility, will accept the award.
Past honorees include Ed Asner, Gillian Anderson, Laurence Fishbourne, Angela Bassett and Alec Baldwin. Past recipients of the Corporate Award include American Airlines, Bank of America and McDonald’s Corporation.
Co-chairs for the 2013 Awards for Excellence in the Arts include Joseph Antunovich, president of Antunovich Associates; Sondra A. Healy, chairman of Turtle Wax Inc.; Carole Segal, co-founder of Crate & Barrel and founder of Foodstuffs; and Monsignor Kenneth Velo, senior executive for Catholic Collaboration at DePaul University. The host is Dexter Bullard, director and Head of Graduate Acting at The Theatre School.
The 2013 Awards for Excellence in the Arts gala begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards presentation at 7 p.m. on April 22 at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Place. Ticket information is available at DePaul University’s Office of Advancement, 312-362-8455 or eventRSVP@depaul.edu.