Chita Rivera, Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince Receive Jerome Robbins Award Tonight
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by BWW News Desk
Chita Rivera, Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince will share the 2013 Jerome Robbins Award tonight, February 18, 2013 at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. A full evening of performances, hosted by Frank Rich and featuring stars from Broadway as well as dancers from New York City Ballet will be included in the presentation.
"My colleagues and I could not think of three greater Broadway luminaries than Hal, Chita and Stephen. They were obvious choices for their astounding body of work, for their commitment to and passion for musical theater, and for bringing their vitality and talent to the American stage for more than half a century," said Christopher Pennington, Executive Director, of the Jerome Robbins Foundation.
In 1970, Jerome Robbins, a preeminent figure in the dance and theater world, established The Jerome Robbins Foundation with the intent to support dance, theater and their associative arts. Following the outbreak of AIDS, Mr. Robbins directed the Foundation's resources almost exclusively to the AIDS crisis. Before his death in 1998, Mr. Robbins expressed his wish that the foundation again extend its resources to the performing arts -- dance and theater especially, but not exclusively -- including what developed into The Jerome Robbins Award.
"I would like there to be established a prize to some really outstanding person or art institution, " explained Mr. Robbins in 1995. "The prize should lean towards the Arts of dance and its associative collaborators but not necessarily be defined by that surround," Mr. Robbins cited many callings from teachers and designers to choreographers and presenting organizations, enjoining the directors to award the prize when warranted by the distinction of the individual, organization, or project. Past recipients are Mikhail Baryshnikov, Twyla Tharp, Jennifer Tipton, Robert Wilson, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and 30 current and former principal ballerinas from New York City Ballet.
Directors Ellen Sorrin and Allen Greenberg agreed that, "When these three artists came together in 1957 to join Jerome Robbins and the other creators of "West Side Story", their collective contributions changed musical theater forever."
After opening remarks by Frank Rich, the program will highlight each artist's work in three separate acts. As of this writing, the Harold Prince section will include David Pittu performing "Dressing Them Up," (from Kiss of the Spider Woman) and LaChanze singing "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man of Mine," (from Showboat). Mr. Rich will present the award to Mr. Prince. The Chita Rivera segment will follow with Anthony Crivello performing "Rosie" (from Bye Bye Birdie), as well as Charlotte d'Amboise and Deidre Goodwin performing "Nowadays" (from Chicago). Ms. Rivera's daughter, Lisa Mordente will present the award to her mother. Jessica Molaskey and John Pizzarelli will open the Stephen Sondheim segment by performing, "Children Will Listen/Children and Art" (from Into the Woods and Sunday In The Park with George). Bernadette Peters will then perform a Sondheim song (selection to come), followed by the award presentation to Mr. Sondheim. The finale of the program will be "America," from West Side Story - the show that brought all three honorees together in 1957 on Broadway - and will feature Georgina Pazcoguin and dancers from the New York City Ballet. The performance portion of the evening is being produced and directed by Gregory Victor. The musical director will be Eugene Gwozdz.
Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) is the realization of a long-held vision by artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov who sought to build an arts center in Manhattan that would serve as a gathering place for artists from all disciplines. BAC's opening in 2005 heralded the launch of this mission, establishing a thriving creative laboratory and performance space for artists from around the world. BAC's activities encompass a robust residency program augmented by a range of professional services, including commissions of new work, as well as the presentation of performances by artists at varying stages of their careers. In tandem with its commitment to supporting artists, BAC is dedicated to building audiences for the arts by presenting contemporary, innovative work at affordable ticket prices. In February 2010, BAC opened the Jerome Robbins Theater, which serves as an organic extension of the existing center, featuring multi-disciplinary work, emerging talent, and International Artists, and including artist-centered activity that fosters creative exploration. BAC serves approximately 500 artists and more than 22,000 audience members annually. For more information, please visit www.bacnyc.org.