Monday, October 06, 2008

This Just In: Signature Announces Sondheim Award

This news release from Signature Theatre in Arlington just became available about 35 minutes ago:

Signature Theatre to Honor Stephen Sondheim at Gala Benefit in April

Theatre to pay tribute to composer by establishing annual ‘Sondheim Award’

Arlington, VA − October 6, 2008 – Eric Schaeffer, the Artistic Director of Signature Theatre, tonight announced that Signature will honor Stephen Sondheim at a Gala Benefit in April and establish an annual award as a tribute to America’s most influential contemporary musical theater composer. Signature will salute Mr. Sondheim at a black-tie Gala Celebration on Monday, April 27, 2009, in Washington, DC highlighted by a musical tribute, festive dinner, and dancing and inaugurate an annual honor to be known in future years as The Sondheim Award. The award will be presented to individuals for their career contributions to interpreting, supporting, and collaborating on Sondheim’s musical works. Schaeffer announced the gala and creation of the award at Signature’s second Great American Musicals in Concert benefit performance of Sondheim’s Anyone Can Whistle. Proceeds from the April event will benefit the non-profit Signature Theatre.

“As Signature prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary season, we have decided that it is very fitting and appropriate to honor Stephen Sondheim, the composer whose musicals mean so much to us. Through his long collaboration with our company and the 18 Sondheim productions we have presented over the years, Steve’s works have come to be our ‘signature.’ Steve has been a great friend to Signature over the past two decades and we look forward to doing many more presentations of his musicals in the future. I’m thrilled that Steve has agreed to accept this tribute and inaugurate ‘The Sondheim Award’,” stated Schaeffer.

Stephen Sondheim said, “When Signature approached me about creating an award in my name, I was simultaneously flattered, honored and embarrassed flattered that Signature should think so highly of me, honored because I think so highly of Signature, and embarrassed because I'm pathetically neurotic about being in the spotlight. The fact is that Signature has done me proud over the years, not merely in the frequency with which they have produced musicals I worked on but because the quality of the productions has been so consistently high and inventive. I look forward to being embarrassed when I inaugurate the award this spring.”

For information on sponsorship for The Sondheim Gala, ranging from $2,500 to $50,000, please visit or contact Signature Theatre at (571) 527-1828.

Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for Bounce (2003), Passion (1994), Assassins (1991), Into the Woods (1987), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sweeney Todd (1979), Pacific Overtures (1976), The Frogs (1974), A Little Night Music (1973), Follies (1971, revised in London 1987 and in New York 2001), Company (1970), Anyone Can Whistle (1964) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962); as well as lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), Do I Hear a Waltz (1965), and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983), and Putting it Together (1992, 2000) are anthologies of his work. For film he composed the scores for Stravinsky (1974) and Reds (1981) and songs for Dick Tracy (Academy Award, 1990). He wrote the songs for television’s Evening Primrose (1966), co-authored the film The Last of Sheila (1973) and the play Getting Away With Murder (1966), and provided incidental music for the plays The Girls of Summer (1956), Invitation to a March (1961), and Twigs (1971). He won Tony® Awards for Best Score of a Musical for Passion, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Follies (1971 version), and Company. All of these shows won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, as did Pacific Overtures and Sunday in the Park with George, the latter also receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1985). Mr. Sondheim is on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, having served as its president from 1973 to 1981, and in 1983 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1990, he was appointed the first Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Oxford University, and in 1993 was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.

Signature Theatre is nationally renowned for its presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s musicals. Since the 1991-1992 season when the company first mounted Sweeney Todd, Signature has performed Assassins (1992-1993), Company (1993-1994), Into the Woods (1994-1995), Passion (1995-1996), Sunday in the Park with George (1996-1997), A Stephen Sondheim Evening (1997-1998), A Little Night Music (1998-1999), Sweeney Todd (1999-2000), Gypsy (2000-2001), Putting It Together (2000-2001), Company (2000-2001), Follies (2002-2003), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (2003-2004), Pacific Overtures (2004-2005), Assassins (2005-2006), Into the Woods (2006-2007), Merrily We Roll Along (2007-2008), and Anyone Can Whistle (2008-2009). Signature’s Eric Schaeffer was the Artistic Director of the Sondheim Celebration at the Kennedy Center in 2002.


Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, Signature is a non-profit professional theater company dedicated to producing contemporary musicals and plays, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work. To date, Signature has presented over 25 world premiere productions and is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces. In addition to the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been a home to such theater luminaries as John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, as well as Stephen Sondheim. Signature has been nominated for 234 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the professional theater and has been honored with 59 Helen Hayes Awards, including Outstanding Musical in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2005, and 2006, and Outstanding Play in 1999.

Contact Info
Ticketmaster (703) 573-SEAT (7328)

Signature Administration (571) 527-1860
Signature Theatre
4200 Campbell Avenue
Arlington, VA 22206

No comments: