The awards, honoring the best performance in a professional production of a classic play (one written prior to 1920) in the New York metropolitan area, are presented at Equity’s Eastern Regional Membership Meeting.
Both performers were recognized for their performances in David Ives' The Heir Apparent, adapted from the 18th century play by Jean-Francois Regnard, which was presented by the Classic Stage Company.
In addition, Bertish was cited for her performance in the Roundabout Theatre production of Machinal. She has worked extensively in London and with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she received an Olivier Award for her performance in Nicolas Nickleby. Her work in America includes The Moliere Comedies, for which she received a Tony nomination.
Paxton Whitehead has appeared on Broadway in, among other plays, The Importance of Being Earnest; Absurd Person Singular; Lettice and Lovage; Noises Off, for which he received a Drama Desk Award; Camelot, where he received a Tony nomination; The Crucifer of Blood; A Little Hotel on the Side; and Artist Descending a Staircase. He played Colonel Pickering and later Henry Higgins in the Broadway revival of My Fair Lady, garnering a Helen Hayes Award for his performance.
Established by Equity member Joe A. Callaway in 1989, the award includes a $1,000 check plus a commemorative engraved plaque for each recipient.
Previous recipients of the Callaway include Laura Ambrose, Kate Burton, Byron Jennings, Frank Langella, Laura Linney, Lily Rabe, Liev Schreiber and, in 2013, Jonathan Cake and J. Smith Cameron.
The judges panel included Joe Dziemianowicz, Daily News; Adam Feldman, Time Out New York; Susan Haskins, Theater Talk; and Harry Haun, Playbill.