Karen Silas, actress
An alumnus of Shoreham-Wading River High School, Karen has gone on to a successful acting career. She starred in her own TV series, "Under Suspicion," for which she won the Viewer's of Quality Television Best New Actress Award. She has been featured in numerous films, theatrical productions, and tele-films. Ms Sillas won two nominations for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress for her work in "Simple Men" by Hal Hartley and in "What Happened Was" by Tom Noonan.
"To reward a child's theatrical performance is to reward the joyful expression of the soul. In a climate in which arts programs are the first to be cut, it is of utmost importance to support such programs, for they give our children the tools they need to communicate, the confidence to express themselves in public and the opportunity to appreciate, discover and develop talents that will be valuable throughout their lifetime.
Roy Scheider, actor
Perhaps best know for his work in All That Jazz and as Police Chief Brody in "Jaws," Mr. Scheider has starred in numerous films, including The Seven-Ups, Marathon Man, and Still of the Night. He was star of the popular series SeaQuest.
"I fully support the Teeny Awards and am delighted that recognition is being given to our talented high school students."
Joe Pintauro, Playwright
Snow Orchid and the Dead Boy; Beside Herself; Raft of the Medusa; Men's Lives; By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea. His collection of 27 short plays called "Metropolitan Operas" has been produced in various languages. His novel, "Cold Hands," was singled out by the New York Times as one of the best novels of the year.
"Any act that excites the creative instincts in young people is more than a good deed, it's a grace. Who doesn't remember one or two extraordinary moments, a book, a trip to the theatre, a teacher's noticing a latent gift in us that excited us and put us on the road to embracing an art form. This sort of exchange works wonders from adult to adult. Therefore, imagine what a powerhouse it is from adults to young people who are, by their very nature, all potential, all artfulness waiting for permission to run wild."
David Henry Hwang, Playwright
In 1980 an off-Broadway production of his FOB won an Obie Award for the best new play of the season. His 1988 play, "M. Butterfly" won the Outer Critics Circle Award for best Broadway play, the Drama Desk Award for best new play, the John Gassner Award for best American play, and the Tony Award for best play of the year. His The Dance and the Railroad and Family Devotions , both produced off-Broadway in 1981.
"They should be called the Gigantic Awards in their ability to identify, encourage, and cultivate the future artists and audiences of our American theatre."
A letter from Bob McGrath, actor, Sesame Street:
I would like to enthusiastically add my support and encouragement to the work of the East End Arts Council and Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on the occasion of the Teeny Awards.
I wish I could be with you in person tonight to tell you that were it not for an organization similar to yours, that encouraged me in High School and awarded me a scholarship to a summer music camp, I would not have had the courage or opportunity to follow a career in music. I have been eternally grateful to them throughout my life.
It is nearly impossible to measure the impact on the life of a child who has been enriched by participating in the arts.
Some years ago, a 15 year old African American boy from Harlem, who had just won 1st place in an art contest sponsored by Channel 13 told me that he had planned on dropping out of High School soon, and hanging out on the streets with his friends. After winning this award , he said, "You know Bob, I've now decided to finish High School, and see if I can get a scholarship to study art. For this 15 year old boy, this award could literally have made the difference of life or death.
For over 30 years, I have seen my children, my grandchildren and the kids I have performed with around the country, not only develop wonderful skills in music, dance, theater and the visual arts, but more importantly, also develop a sense of confidence and self esteem, which serves them in every facet of life. We must never underestimate the power of our support and encouragement on a child's future life. It's unfortunate that the arts are always at risk in our schools. Each of us must be the strongest advocates we can be.
Again, congratulations to the Teeny Awards and the recipients. May they have a life long enjoyment and appreciation of all that the arts have to offer.
Islip Arts Council
50 Irish Lane East Islip, NY 11730 631: 224-5420