Tom Viertel, Chairman of the Board of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, has announced that Stephen Sondheim will present Harold Prince with the organization's Monte Cristo Award at a gala benefit on Monday, April 5, 2010 at Bridgewaters. The Award, given annually in recognition of a distinguished career exemplifying Eugene O'Neill's pioneering spirit and standard of excellence, has previously been presented to Kevin Spacey, Neil Simon, Jason Robards, Jr., Edward Albee, August Wilson, Zoe Caldwell, Brian Dennehy, Karl Malden, Arthur and Barbara Gelb, and Wendy Wasserstein.
Beginning in 1957, Sondheim and Prince collaborated on a series of ground-breaking musicals that have since achieved legendary status, including: West Side Story, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Merrily We Roll Along, making Sondheim's presentation, according to O'Neill Executive Director Preston Whiteway, "particularly poignant, and with the well deserved honors going to Steve this spring, it is fun to turn the tables and have him present to Hal, his longtime friend and collaborator."
Lauren Bacall and Phyllis Newman served on the event's Honorary Committee, joining a previously-announced slate of theater luminaries, including: Co-Chairs Angela Lansbury, Stephen Sondheim, and Tom Viertel & Pat Daily; Committee Members Kate Baldwin, Pat Birch, Jerry Bock, Carol Burnett, Len Cariou, John Cullum, Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ellen Fitzhugh, Joel Grey, Sheldon Harnick, Stephen & Ruth Hendel, Shuler Hensley, Heather Henson, John Kander, Tim Kashani, Judy Kaye, Linda Lavin, John McMartin & Charlotte Moore, Terrence McNally, James Nederlander, Sr., Richard Nelson, Mandy Patinkin, Tony Pontoro, Jordan Roth, Kevin Spacey, Elaine Stritch, Susan Stroman, Jonathan Tunick, Alfred Uhry, in addition to O'Neill founders George C. White and Betsy White.
Highlights of the Monte Cristo Award celebration included performances honoring Prince directed by Marc Bruni (Encores! Fanny) and featuring John Cudia, Kelli O'Hara, Len Cariou, Cheyenne Jackson, Kate Baldwin and more.
Prince has had tremendous success as director, producer and artistic director on Broadway over the past 50 years, playing an integral part of more than 60 productions, including: The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, West Side Story, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, She
Loves Me, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Candide, Sweeney Todd, Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Show Boat. He has received an unprecedented 21 Tony Awards, 6 Drama Desk Awards, and the National Medal for the Arts; Prince is also a Kennedy Center Honoree and has served as trustee for the New York Public Library and on the National Council of the Arts of the NEA.
Photo Credit: Peter James Zielinski
Sheldon Harnick and Margery Gray
Preston Whiteway, Executive Director of the Eugene O'Neill Center
Director Michael Bush and Penny Fuller
Linda Lavin and Husband Steve Bakunas
O'Neill Center Chairman of the Board Tom Viertel and Pat Daily
Michael Berresse, Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen
Kate Baldwin and Husband Graham Rowat
Kathy Voytko and John Cudia
O'Neill Center Founder George C. White and Wife Betsy White
Lombardi Producer Tony Ponturo
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones
O'Neill Center Artistic Director Wendy C. Goldberg and Nilo Cruz
Ayesha Ngaujah, Sahr Ngaujah and Saycon Sengbloh
Kevin Mambo, Saycon Sengbloh and Sahr Ngaujah
Robert Lopez and wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez