Michael Ellis-Tolaydo (center), St. Marys College of Maryland professor of theater, film, and media studies, recently received the prestigious Helen Hayes Canadian Embassy Award for Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Play, for Heroes at the MetroStage last month at the 26th Helen Hayes Award in Washington, D.C. (Submitted photo)
ST. MARYS CITY, Md. (May 9, 2010) St. Marys College of Maryland (SMCM) professor of theater, film, and media studies Michael Ellis-Tolaydo received the prestigious Helen Hayes Canadian Embassy Award for Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Play, for his acting in Heroes at the MetroStage at the 26th Helen Hayes Award in Washington, D.C. Canadian Ambassador Gary Doerpresented the award to Tolaydo. The Helen Hayes Award is in its 26th year of promoting professional theaters in the Washington area, serving as credentials for artists and theaters alike. This years awards were more competitive than in years past, as the number of productions and eligible theaters has increased significantly.
Tolaydo, who was on a one-semester sabbatical from the college, also appeared in two other plays this year, including The Accident and Benedictus.
Michaels ability to successfully maintain dual careers as an actor and educator has always amazed me, said Merideth Taylor, professor of theater and dance and chair of the Theater, Film, and Media Studies Department. This short sabbatical has given him a chance to concentrate on his work in the acting arena and he has capitalized on it with three roles in the current season, and all to superlative reviews! I think he had a great time, and were happy to have him back!
In The Accident, Tolaydo plays Adam, a man wracked by guilt and uncertainty after he and his friends hit a pedestrian one night coming home from a bar. In Benedictus, Tolaydo stars in the Middle East thriller that investigates the arms race in Iran. Heroes, directed by John Vreeke, is a very different genre, illustrating the pain of World War I felt by three old veterans.
Tolaydo has managed to stay active as a professional in the regional theater scene while simultaneously meeting the demands of his position at St. Marys, said Taylor. In fact, he thrives on it, and feels that his work as an actor keeps his teaching fresh. He stresses the integration of the two and always takes his classes to see his work in shows in the Washington, D.C., area.
A faculty member at SMCM since 1987, Tolaydo was born in Nakuru, Kenya. He graduated with a masters of fine arts in directing from Catholic University. At SMCM, he teaches acting, directing, dramatic literature, Shakespeare, and theater history. Tolaydo is a former Steven Muller Distinguished Professor of the Arts, which honors faculty whose accomplishments in the arts distinguish them among their creative peers.