Debra Messing, John Chan Win Trinity Rep Pell Awards

Apr 14, 2015

Debra Messing, the East-Greenwich raised actress known for her role in the ``Will and Grace’’ television sitcom and Woonsocket Jazz club owner John Chan will both be honored with Pell Awards at Trinity Reparatory Theater’s annual tribute to the arts and the memory of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell.

Debra Messing
Credit wikimedia commons

The ceremonies are scheduled for June 15 at Trinity Rep, with a reception to follow at the nearby Providence Public Library.

Messing has received an Emmy Award in 2003and has received seven Golden Globe nominations. She has also won many other awards for her performances, including two People’s Choice nominations and TC Guide’s Actress of the Year in a Comedy Series in 2001.

Raised in East Greenwich, Messing performed in musical theater in her childhood, at school and in camp. She graduated from Brandeis University and earned an M.F.A. from New York University.

John Chan is well-known in Rhode Island for his Woonsocket oriental restaurant and jazz club, which has long brought national acts to the Ocean State. Among the musical greats to perform at Chan’s are Dizzy Gillespie, Dave McKenna, Duke Robillard, Tab Benoit, Mose Allison, John Hammond, Odetta, Hubert Sumlin and Mike Renzi.

This year, the theater’s annual gala event will be chaired by Jon and Julie Duffy and Mark and Catherine Gim. All five of Claiborne Pell’s grandchildren will serve as honorary chairs for the event, including Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Neal; Clay Pell and Michelle Kwan; Nicholas and Annie Pell; Dr. Tripler Pell and Tawfik Hammoud; and Eames Yates Jr.

``For 19 years we have honored the Sen. Claiborne Pell’s extraordinary commitment to the arts and humanities by recognizing extraordinary arts leaders across the nation and in Rhode Island,’’ said Curt Columbus, artistic director at Trinity Rep.

Also to be recognized are Michael Gennaro, Trinity’s former executive director, and choreographer Julie Standberg, a longtime professor at Brown University.