Broadway newcomers and two dancers from New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet are among the eight finalists for this year’s Clive Barnes Awards, the first since the death of its founder Valerie Taylor-Barnes in 2019. The winners, one for dance and one for theater, will be announced on April 6 at a ceremony hosted by the New York Post columnist Michael Riedel.
Ms. Taylor-Barnes, a former soloist at the Royal Ballet in London, created a foundation in 2009 to administer the awards and commemorate her husband Clive Barnes, The New York Times and New York Post theater and dance critic who died in 2008 at 81. The prizes, which come with $5,000 for the winners, are meant to recognize promising young performers.
“It was always in Valerie’s vision that the Clive Barnes Foundation would live on past her time on earth,” said Holly Jones, the organization’s co-president. “She started the foundation in Clive’s honor but really to support and champion young dancers and actors, who she continued to stay in touch with as time went on.”
India Bradley and Roman Mejia, colleagues at New York City Ballet, are up against Kellie Drobnick from Twyla Tharp Dance, and Aran Bell, a recently promoted soloist at American Ballet Theater, for the dance honor. Gia Kourlas noted Mr. Bell’s contribution to Alexei Ratmansky’s “The Seasons” at American Ballet Theater in her review for The Times last year: “In the commanding role of Winter is an impressive Aran Bell, radiating composure and elegance.”
Three of the four theater finalists made their Broadway debut this season: Andrew Burnap starred in “The Inheritance,” by Matthew Lopez; Christopher Livingston played dual roles in the Lincoln Center Theater production of Robert Schenkkan’s “The Great Society”; and Celia Rose Gooding made a splash in “Jagged Little Pill,” the Alanis Morissette jukebox musical. The fourth finalist, Sophia Anne Caruso, is currently performing in “Beetlejuice” on Broadway.
Ben Brantley called Mr. Burnap “electrically vivid” as Toby Darling, a “flamboyant playwright” who, he said, “has a Hidden Past he pretends never happened.” Last week, it was announced that “The Inheritance” will close March 15 after a disappointing New York run.
The selection committee for this year’s awards includes Diana Byer, the founder and artistic director of New York Theater Ballet, Jenny Chiang, an instructor at the Alvin Ailey School and Frank DiLella, the host of “On Stage,” the weekly theater program on NY1.