On April 15, 2013, Virginia's renowned Signature Theatre will honor the multiple Tony Award-winning Broadway producer and director Harold "Hal" Prince with the company's fourth 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.
"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."
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.