Naomi Jacobson, the chameleon-like character actor whose work in such diverse pieces as A Bridge Too Far, Maria/Stuart, Dead Man’s Cell phone and State of the Union has won her widespread Washington critical acclaim, has been awarded a Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship by the Ten Chimneys Foundation, the Foundation announced yesterday.
The fellowship will permit Jacobson to participate in a Master Acting class taught by acclaimed actor Lynn Redgrave at Ten Chimneys, the former home of the legendary Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine. The fellowship also contains a cash award.
Jacobson, who was nominated for the award by Arena Stage, will join ten other regional-theater actors in the class. “All of the actors who were nominated for this honor: have 20-plus years of experience as professional actors; are widely considered among the top actors in their community; and are widely respected by audiences, directors, and fellow actors for their talent, dedication to craft, attention to detail, and passionate pursuit of excellence,” according to the Foundation’s release.
In nominating Jacobson, Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith noted that “Naomi is a perpetual favorite on our stage…[her] range is remarkable.” Smith emphasized Jacobson’s off-stage work as well. “She has taught classes in acting, improvisation, and speech at several large universities in the area and is a well-respected coach for public speaking and auditioning.”
The Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship, named to honor the legendary actors Alfred Lunt and Lyne Fontanne, was established to provide training opportunities for “actors in great theatre cities across the country who are – in essence – the ‘master actors’ of their communities,” according to their website, which went on to describe fellowship recipients as “the best of the best – widely considered the top actors in their cities. They are their communities’ theatre mentors.”
Ten Chimneys – a three-story, fourteen-room mansion in eastern Wisconsin which served as the Lunt’s retreat away from New York – has recently been restored and open to the touring public. The Ten Chimney estate also includes a cottage and a Swedish log-cabin studio.