FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 12, 2013
Contact: Hunter Styles, Public and Community Relations Manager 571-527-1833 // firstname.lastname@example.org
Carolee Carmello, Rebecca Luker and Emily Skinner to Perform at Signature Theatre’s 4th Annual Sondheim Award Gala Benefit
to honor Broadway legend Harold Prince
will be held on April 22 at the Embassy of Italy
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April 12, 2013 (Arlington, VA) – On April 22, 2013, Tony nominees Carolee Carmello, Rebecca Luker and Emily Skinner will perform for the multiple Tony Award®-winning Broadway producer and director Harold “Hal” Prince as Virginia’s renowned Signature Theatre honors Prince with the company’s fourth annual Stephen Sondheim Award. The award, established in 2009 in honor of America’s most influential musical theatre writer and composer, will be presented at a black-tie Gala Benefit at the Embassy of Italy. The Sondheim Award Gala will benefit Signature Theatre’s artistic, education, and community programs.
Carmello has known Prince since their work together on the 1998 original production of Parade, in which Prince directed Carmello in the role of Lucille Frank. Luker’s memories of Prince go further back; he directed her in the role of Christine in the 1988 original Broadway run of Phantom of the Opera and again in his Tony Award®-winning revival of Show Boat in 1994.
Skinner has been selected to perform in The Prince of Broadway, a musical retrospective of Prince’s work currently in development.
The evening will also feature performances by Erin Driscoll, Nova Y. Payton, Matthew Scott and Rachel Zampelli.
“It’s a great personal honor to award this year’s Sondheim Award to Stephen Sondheim’s longtime collaborator Hal Prince,” said Signature Theatre’s Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. “After presenting the Sondheim Award to three amazing women of the American theatre – Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters, and Patti LuPone – we felt it was time to celebrate the ‘Prince of Broadway.’ We look forward to saluting this giant of the American musical this spring for all of his contributions to the American theatre and for being an inspiration to us all.”
Stephen Sondheim stated: “After nine major collaborations over a period of 55 years and a friendship that is even longer, it seems somewhat redundant, not to say bizarre, that I should be giving an award in my name to Harold Prince. But any award that acknowledges Hal’s skills, inventions, and generosity is an award worth giving. His achievements range well beyond his contributions as a director and a producer.”
“It is really great to host Signature Theatre again at our Embassy for its gala,” said Ambassador of Italy Claudio Bisogniero. “This year the overall context is particularly significant to us, since 2013 is the Year of Italian Culture in the U.S., featuring over 200 cultural events in more than 50 American cities. In this framework, we are even more happy to give our contribution also to events such as the one proposed by Signature. For us this has become a beautiful, well-established tradition.”
ABOUT HAL PRINCE Over the last half-century Hal Prince has become one of the most well-known and influential theatrical producers and directors in Broadway history. Prince has received the Tony Award® an unprecedented twenty-one times: eight as a director, ten as a producer, and three special awards. Born in 1928 in New York City, Prince attended the University of Pennsylvania and served in the US Army for two years before beginning a career in professional theatre. He got his start under producer and director George Abbot, with whom he co-produced The Pajama Game – the 1955 Tony Award® winner for Best Musical. Prince began directing in 1962, and in 1966 he directed Cabaret in its original Broadway run. Prince first teamed up with Sondheim in 1970, after previously working together on West Side Story. Their productions together in the following years – Company in 1970, Follies in 1971, A Little Night Music in 1973, Pacific Overtures in 1976, Sweeney Todd in 1979, and Merrily We Roll Along in 1981 – cemented their friendship and won both much acclaim. After a period apart, Prince and Sondheim joined forces once again to create Bounce (now called Road Show) in 2003. Prince has also enjoyed a successful career directing operas, including Ashmedai, Willie Stark, Madame Butterfly, Turandot, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, and a revival of Candide. Most recently, Prince teamed with Susan Stroman to direct Paradise Found, featuring the music of Johann Strauss II with a book by Richard Nelson and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh. The production, starring Mandy Patinkin, ran from May through June 2010 at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London. Prince’s current project, Prince of Broadway, will by directed by Prince with co-direction and choreography by Tony Award® winner Susan Stroman, the new musical will celebrate six decades of the shows that earned Prince his long-running acclaim, with music from Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Kander & Ebb, and more. Prince serves as president of the National Institute for Musical Theatre. In 2000 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts, and in 2006 he received a special Tony Award® for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. His name graces the University of Pennsylvania’s Harold Prince Theatre at the Annenberg Center.
THE SONDHEIM AWARD In 2009, Signature Theatre inaugurated The Stephen Sondheim Award in recognition of the importance of Mr. Sondheim’s work to Signature and to theatre in general. In April 2010 the first award was given to stage, screen, and television actress Angela Lansbury. In 2011, Tony Award®-winning actress and singer Bernadette Peters received the award. Last year, the award went to Tony Award®-winner Patti LuPone. The Award is given on a yearly basis to an individual for his or her career contributions to interpreting, supporting, and collaborating on Stephen Sondheim’s music works. To date, Signature has presented 22 Stephen Sondheim productions, more than any other theatre in the United States. In 2002, Signature’s Eric Schaeffer was the Artistic Director of “The Sondheim Celebration” at The Kennedy Center. Sponsorship for the 2013 Sondheim Award Gala ranges from $1,000 to $100,000 and includes rewarding, year-long visibility and entertainment benefits. Individual tickets are $1,000. For more information about sponsorship and tickets contact Zack Lynch, Development Manager at (571) 527-1828 or email@example.com.
ABOUT SIGNATURE Recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Signature Theatre is a non-profit professional theater company in Arlington, Virginia dedicated to producing contemporary musicals and plays, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work. Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, Signature has presented 38 world premiere productions and is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces. In addition to hosting the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been home to such theatre luminaries as Chita Rivera, George Hearn, Hunter Foster, Emily Skinner, Ann Reinking, Marc Kudisch, Judy Kuhn, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, and the company’s signature composer, Stephen Sondheim. Since its founding in 1989, Signature has won 82 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region’s professional theater and has been honored with 320 nominations. Signature is partially supported by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and by a gift from the Arlington Cultural Affairs Division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts.
ABOUT 2013 – YEAR OF ITALIAN CULTURE IN THE U.S. 2013 – Year of Italian Culture in the United States, launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and held under the auspices of the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, will boast over 200 cultural events in more than 50 U.S. cities. Over 80 U.S. institutions and organizations are actively involved with a genuine spirit of partnership and cooperation. No area of achievement is unexplored. Science and Technology, Art, Music and Theatre, Cinema and Photography, Promotion of Italian Language and Literature, Italian Brand and Design, Tastes and Flavors of Italy, Italian Territories, and Next Generations are the different disciplines showcased during the year. For more information check out the website http://www.italyinus2013.org, the Twitter hashtag #2013ItalianYear, the Facebook page https:www.facebook.com/ItalyInUs2013, and the social media platform of the Embassy of Italy in Washington, www.twiplomacy.it/USA.
CONTACT INFORMATION Subscriptions/Groups: (703) 820-9771 Single Tickets: Ticketmaster (703) 573-SEAT (7328) Signature Administration (571) 527-1860 Signature Theatre • 4200 Campbell Avenue • Arlington, VA 22206
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