On June 4th at 7:30pm at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at New York University, the 30th Annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards will honor Liza Minnelli with its Douglas Watt Lifetime Achievement Award. Liza Minnelli is the winner of four Tony Awards, an Oscar, a special "Legends" Grammy, two Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy and is one of the entertainment world's consummate performers.
In addition to honoring Ms. Minnelli this year, The Astaire Awards will also begin a new tradition, paying tribute to the career and work of a choreographer and dancer during the awards. This year they will be remembering Bob Fosseand Gwen Verdon, and a few signature Bob Fosse numbers featuring current Broadway performers will be a part of the show on June 4th. Bob Fosse directed Ms. Minnelli in the film version of Cabaret for which she won the Oscar for Best Leading Actress. This year’s awards ceremony will also be dedicated to Tony and Oscar-winning producer Marty Richards, a longtime friend of the awards.
The Astaire Awards are the only awards show to honor excellence in dance and choreography on Broadway and in film and were first started in 1982 by the late Fred Astaire and the late Douglas Watt (a critic and writer for the NY Daily News and The New Yorker). They are presented each year by Ava Astaire (Fred Astaire’s daughter) and Patricia Watt (the daughter of Douglas Watt). The awards will also feature direction from Joe Lanteri, who is the Executive Director of the New York City Dance Alliance and also a teacher at the Juilliard School.
The nominees for this year’s awards will be announced at an invite-only cocktail reception on Monday, May 7th at The Lamb’s Club (132 West 44th Street) in the categories of Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show, Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show, Outstanding Choreographer for a Broadway Show, Outstanding Choreographer for Film, and Outstanding Director for Dance Documentary. In addition to Ms. Minnelli, other special guests and many of this year’s nominees will be present at the 5/7 cocktail reception.
Each year The Astaire Awards also gives a special ‘Adele Astaire Scholarship’ to a young up and coming dancer, and this year they will also honor three-time Tony Award-nominated Producer Kathleen Raitt with a special award in recognition of her helping to start The Astaire Awards 30 years ago. Ms. Raitt (a former Broadway dancer and actress) is an Honorary Chair for the awards and is also currently the Director of Corporate Relations at the Nederlander Producing Company of America. The Honorary Chairs Emeritus for The Astaire Awards are Jacques Azoulay, Countess LuAnn deLesseps and Wendy Federman. The Gala Chairs are Carolyn Kendall Buchter and Alix Michel, and the Benefit Chairs are Cassandra Seidenfeld Lyster and Sara Johnson Kaplan.