The Tom Killen Award is the highest honor the Connecticut Critics Circle bestows. It is for a lifetime of dedication to the theater and to theater in Connecticut. It is named after Tom Killen, a talented young critic who died at the age of 33 in August 1989 and who helped found the Connecticut Critics Circle.
The recipient for 2015-16 was Anne Keefe.
Anne Keefe, a long-time stage manager at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre and at various Broadway venues, and part of the leadership team that saved and transformed Westport Country Playhouse, is this year’s recipient of the Connecticut Critics Circle’s Tom Killen Award.
Fresh out of college, Keefe began her career as a stage manager at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, N.J in the late 60s. From 1973 to the late ’90s, Keefe worked as a production stage manager and production supervisor at Long Wharf Theatre, where many of its shows moved to New York, beginning with the American premiere of David Storey’s The Changing Room in 1973. She was 27 and the only female stage manager on Broadway.
Other New York transfers included American Buffalo, Spokesong and The National Health. Keefe’s Broadway credits include Death of the Maiden, Watch on the Rhine, Night Must Fall and Hamlet starring Ralph Fiennes.
Beginning in 1999, she and friend Joanne Woodward began working together, programming the Playhouse’s 2000 season. They also worked together to develop plans to save the famed historic Westport theater from demolition, and in 2003 construction began on the $30 million transformation of the theater and its grounds that converted it into a year-round multi-purpose facility. It re-opened in 2005, its 75th anniversary year.
Keefe’s roles at that theatre included artistic associate and interim co-artistic director with Woodward. She is now curator and director of the Playhouse’s popular “Script in Hand” series.