City Theatre honors Tomé Cousin, Tacy Byham With Annual Robert Frankel Awards

By Sharon Ebderson

Tacy Byham and Tomé Cousin were recipients of City Theatre’s annual Robert M. Frankel Awards today, May 20. The awards, bestowed since 1994, are named for the longtime City board leader and were established “to recognize artists and community members who have provided significant and substantial impact on the organization, field and Pittsburgh.”

The New Play Circle Brunch in City’s lobby and awards ceremony in the Lillie Theater honored multi-hyphenate Cousin, a Pittsburgh-based, internationally known dancer-choreographer, also is a director, author and educator.

In an emotional introduction, City co-artistic director Monteze Freeland recognized Cousin for having nurtured Pittsburgh’s “future famous.” He listing accomplished Black male artists from here to Broadway who were launched with Cousin’s mentorship.

In accepting the award, a tearful Cousin thanked co-artistic director Marc Masterson (above image) for doing the same for him, when Cousin thought he might leave the arts and become a veterinarian. It was Masterson who believed in Cousin and gave him encouragement and opportunities as a lead director, after he had consistently been an assistant for others.

Clare Drobot presents a proclamation to Robert Frankel Award honor Tacy Byham on May 20 at City Theatre’s Lillie Theatre.

The third artistic director in City’s trio, Clare Drobot, recognized Byham, CEO of DDI, a consulting firm that helps companies “hire, promote and develop exceptional leaders.

A longtime City board member, Byham also has developed DDI’s “Women in Leadership” focus with, her #LeadLikeAGirl campaign.

City’s James McNeel and Masterson also used the occasion to pay tribute to Ed Harrell, the former president of Tribune-Review Publishing, who on died May 7, Harrell, a Frankel Award honoree in 2009, was an avid supporter of the arts, including as a board member of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and for many years at the South Side theater.

City Theatre is coming to the end of its 48th season with the National New Play Network rolling world premiere American Fast on the Mainstage and Momentum Festival in the black box Lillie Theatre through tomorrow, May 21, although the South Side venue will remain busy as host to companies such as New Horizon Theatre (Chicken & Biscuits, May 25-June 17, and City’s own The Bash block party on Sept. 9.

Above: Tomé Cousin speaks at the Lillie Theatre Saturday, May 20, as an honoree
at City Theatre’s Robert M. Frankel Awards gathering. Below: Cousin, with his husband, David Reed (left) and Richard Parsakian (center).

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