Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Theatre Hall of Fame Announces 2015 Honorees

Every year, a few new honorees are inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame, reflecting lifetime achievement in the American theater as voted upon by . This year's inductees are:

Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, the songwriting duo behind musicals like Ragtime, Lucky Stiff, Once on This Island and Seussical as well as the movie Anastasia.

Ken Billington, principal lighting designer for Radio City Music Hall from 1979 to 2004, as well as the lighting designer for almost a hundred Broadway shows.

Merle Debuskey, press rep for Broadway shows from The Rose Tattoo in 1952 through Racing Demon in 1995.

Robert Falls, an Illinois native (and U of I grad) who has been closely identified with Chicago theatre; he's served as artistic director of both Wisdom Bridge and the Goodman Theatre.

Stacy Keach, the powerhouse actor who has played everything from Buffalo Bill in Arthur Kopit's Indians to P. T. Barnum, Lear and Richard Nixon.

Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright behind Angels in America.

Roger Rees, the late Welsh actor and director who rose to prominence in the U.S. (and won a Tony) when he played the title role in the Royal Shakespeare Company's epic production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

Julie Taymor, the director and creative visionary who put The Lion King on Broadway (as well as Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark).

Roger Rees (center L) in Nicholas Nickleby
The Theater Hall of Fame was founded in 1971 by James M. Nederlander, Earl Blackwell, Gerard Oestreicher and L. Arnold Weissberger, with the 90 first inductees honored in October, 1972.

Here's how the process is described in an American Theater Critics Association press release:

"This year's ballot was mailed in July to 275 members of the Theater Hall of Fame and American Theater Critics Association. Fifty nominees are listed each year on the ballot. To be nominated, a theatre professional must have 25 years in the Broadway/American theatre and five major credits."

The 2015 Theater Hall of Fame Ceremony and Dinner will take place on November 16 at 7:30 pm (Eastern) at the Gershwin Theatre, followed by a supper at The Palm.

The Theater Hall of Fame is the only nationally trademarked non-profit organization that honors the professionals of the American theatre. This annual celebration supports these on-going programs: the Video Collection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts/Lincoln Center, the THF Dorothy Strelsin Memorabilia Collection at the Gershwin Theatre and the THF Fellowship Grants for Emerging Theater Artists.

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