The Wally Russell Foundation is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2008 Most Promising Newcomer Award is Ben Hagen, a young lighting designer who is making quite a splash. The Award will be presented in conjunction with the 2008 Wally Russell Lifetime Achievement Award to Richard Pilbrow on Saturday, October 25, 2008 during the awards ceremony at LDI2008 in Las Vegas.

Hagen earned a masters degree in lighting design from Rutgers University in 2007, under the guidance of R. Michael Miller and F. Mitchell Dana, completing his internship with Howell Binkley at The George Street Playhouse. He also holds a BA from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Since graduating, Hagen’s career highlights include; working with Alan Adelman at Carnegie Hall, traveling to Washington D.C. to design The Wiz for The Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and several productions in New York City. 2008 marked Hagen’s second year with The Lincoln Center Festival, serving as one of Stan Pressner’s associate LDs. This summer’s project Die Soldaten was an internationally recognized endeavor to bring Ruhr Triennale’s massive production to the Park Avenue Armory. He most recently assisted Tim Mitchell and associate Vivien Leone on the first U.S. production of Dirty Dancing. Upcoming projects include returning to Rutgers University to design Big Love, and Project Y’s new play Fubar at 59E59 Theatres in New York City.

“Ben is a delightfully talented young designer,” comments Stan Pressner. “He came to me fully formed, and I rapidly came to trust him in any situation. My congratulations to Ben, and to those who taught him, especially Mitch Dana.”

The Most Promising Newcomer Award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional promise in their chosen field within the industry. This award is intended to provide an individual some level of financial and practical assistance in furthering their career objectives through travel or access to educational opportunity. The recipient will have demonstrated a talent for providing new and unique contributions to the industry to which Wally gave his lifetime dedication. Previous Newcomer Winners are: 1994 Robert Bell; 2006 Charles Kirby; 2007 Patrick Dierson.

For additional information about The Wally Russell Foundation and how to make a donation: www.wallyfund.org