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2010 TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards announced!

Date: Mar 09, 2010
Press Release


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Legendary costume designer ALBERT WOLSKY and world renowned scenic designer MING CHO LEE are among the 2010 TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards recipients. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on Friday, April 23 at 6:30pm at the Hudson Theatre (145 West 44th Street).  Two-time Academy Award-winner Albert Wolsky will receive the 2010 TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award for costume design, and Tony Award-winning scenic designer and educator Ming Cho Lee will receive the TDF/Irene Sharaff Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatrical Design.

In addition to Mr. Wolsky’s TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award and Mr. Lee’s Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatrical Design, costume designer ALEJO VIETTI will receive the TDF/Irene Sharaff Young Master Award, and famed theatre craftsman/designer JOHN DAVID RIDGE will receive the TDF/Irene Sharaff Artisan Award.

During the ceremony, as a special memorial tribute to legendary designer RANDY BARCELO, there will be the screening of an original 15-minute film on his life, created by designer SUZY BENZINGER and theatre director DREW SCOTT HARRIS.

Throughout her long and distinguished career, elegance and an attention to detail were the trademarks of costume designer IRENE SHARAFF. Miss Sharaff was revered as a designer of enormous depth and intelligence, equally secure with both contemporary and period costumes. Her work exemplified the best of costume design. Such excellence is demonstrated by the winners of the 2010 TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards, who were selected by the TDF Costume Collection's Advisory Committee. The TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards are presented through Theatre Development Fund's Costume Collection.


ALBERT WOLSKY (TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award) was born in Paris and immigrated to the United States at age 10. He lived in New York City and graduated from The City College of New York and began his career in New York theatre, receiving his first solo Broadway design credit for the play Generation, starring Henry Fonda. Other stage credits include Sly Fox, starring George C. Scott; The Sunshine Boys; Joseph Papp's production of Hamlet in Central Park; and Tennessee Williams' 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, starring Meryl Streep.  His most recent Broadway credits were the recent revivals of The Country Girl and Sly Fox. He has twice won the Academy Award for All That Jazz, and Bugsy. In a career that encompasses more than 70 films, Mr. Wolsky also received Academy Award nominations for Sophie's Choice, Toys, The Journey of Natty Gann, Across the Universe and Revolutionary Road. His recent work includes Charlie Wilson's War, Ask the Dust, Jarhead, The Manchurian Candidate, Road to Perdition, Maid in Manhattan, Runaway Bride, Galaxy Quest, You've Got Mail, Red Corner, Lucky Numbers, The Jackal, The Grass Harp and Duplicity.

Mr. Wolsky's first project with filmmaker Paul Mazursky, Harry and Tonto, led to a prolific, 11-film relationship, including Next Stop, Greenwich Village; An Unmarried Woman, Moscow on the Hudson; Down and Out in Beverly Hills; and Enemies: A Love Story. He first worked with Bob Fosse on Lenny, starring Dustin Hoffman, later designing the costumes for Fosse's All That Jazz and Star 80, Fosse's last film. Wolsky's other credits include Grease, Manhattan, The Pelican Brief, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Little Murders, The Jazz Singer, The Falcon and the Snowman and Crimes of the Heart. In 1999, The Costume Designers Guild honored Albert Wolsky with their first Career Achievement Award.

MING CHO LEE (Robert L. B. Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatrical Design) is one of the foremost set designers in America today. His extensive credits include work in opera, theatre and dance. Born in Shanghai, Mr. Lee attended Occidental College and UCLA. He has worked with many leading American dance companies, including Martha Graham, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Eliot Feld Ballet, Jose Limon and Pacific Northwest Ballet. From 1962 through 1973, he was the principal designer for Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival. He has designed sets for opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera. He has also designed for regional theatres including Arena Stage, Mark Taper Forum, Guthrie Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and for Broadway. Internationally, Mr. Lee has designed productions for Covent Garden (London), Hamburgische Staatsoper, Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), Royal Danish Ballet, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (Taipei), the Hong Kong Cultural Center and Buhnen Graz (Austria). His numerous awards and distinctions include a Tony Award (for K2), an Obie for sustained achievement, New York Drama Desk and New York and Los Angeles Outer Circle Critics Awards, three honorary doctorates, awards for long-term achievement from six major theatre and opera organizations, membership in the Theatre Hall of Fame, and the Mayor's Award for Arts and Culture from New York City. His work has been shown in two separate retrospectives at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and in Taipei. As an architectural consultant, Mr. Lee designed theatres for Joseph Papp's Public Theatre and the State University of New York at Purchase. He holds the Donald Oenslager Chair in Design and is the co-Chair of the design department at the Yale University School of Drama.

ALEJO VIETTI’s (TDF/Irene Sharaff Young Master Award) credits in New York include: Nightingale (Manhattan Theatre Club), Rooms, Grace (MCC), Make Me a Song, Tryst, Roulette, The Last Sunday in June, 16 Wounded, 2 X Tennessee, The Wau Wau Sisters, Servicemen, Five Flights, Measure for Measure, Of a White Christmas. He has designed regionally at: Alley Theatre, Arena Stage, Arizona Theatre, Asolo Rep, Barrington Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, Colorado Ballet, Florida Stage, Ford’s Theatre DC, Goodspeed, Guthrie Theatre, Hangar Theatre, Hartford Stage, Longwharf , Metrostage, NY Stage & Film, Northlight, Pasadena Playhouse, Philadelphia Theatre Co, Pittsburgh Public, Rockland Opera, San Diego Rep, Saint Louis Rep, Signature Theatre VA, Theatreworks Hartford, Westport Country Plahouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Donetsk Opera Ukraine. Additional credits include Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Boom’A’Ring and Stephen Schwartz’s opera, Séance on a Wet Afternoon. Upcoming: The 39 Steps (Alley Theatre), Annie Get Your Gun (Goodspeed), and Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia (Wolf Trap).

JOHN DAVID RIDGE (TDF/Irene Sharaff Artisan Award.) heads a Hollywood costume shop that bears his name. He has a wealth of varied experience behind him: draper and tailor for Ray Diffen Stage Clothes, costume department head at the Juilliard School, manager of Brooks Van Horn Costume Company, and vice president and design director of Halston. His company, which is located near Paramount Studios in the heart of Hollywood, makes costumes for dozens of films each year. Mr. Ridge has designed and supervised the costumes for several Broadway productions and received a Tony Award nomination for his costume designs for the Lincoln Center Theatre production of Jean Anouilh's Ring Round the Moon.

RANDY BARCELO (Memorial Tribute) was a set and costume designer on and off Broadway. At the age of 14,  he left Cuba and studied art at the University of Puerto Rico and dance at Ballet de San Juan. He lived in Puerto Rico until 1965, when he moved to New York, where he began his career as a dancer. He enrolled in Lester Polakov's School of Design, later becoming Assistant Professor of Costume Design at Purdue University.

Mr. Barcelo’s Broadway career begins at the age of 24. He was the first Hispanic to be nominated as best costume designer for a Tony Award, for his designs for Jesus Christ Superstar in 1972. Barceló designed the costumes for several Broadway productions, including Lenny, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Magic Show, Sergeant Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band, A Broadway Musical and Ain't Misbehavin', for which he received a Maharan Award nomination for the best costume design of 1977-78. He worked in opera productions and he costumed the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Company and numerous other dance and ballet productions. His opera credits include Leonard Bernstein’s Mass for the Kennedy Center, Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat for Carnegie Hall, Les Troyen for Viena State Opera, Salome and Lily for New York City Opera, among others.

Randy Barcelo was at the peak of his career when he died of cancer in 1994 at the age of 48. For his last project he designed the costumes for the Ballet Hispanico: Si Señor! Es Mi Son!, choreographed by Alberto Alonso with music by Gloria Estefan.

The awardees were selected by the TDF/Costume Collection's Advisory Committee, which is comprised of leading members of the theatrical costume design community. They are: Gregg Barnes, Suzy Benzinger, Dean Brown, Stephen Cabral, Linda Fisher, Lana Fritz, Rodney Gordon, Desmond Heeley, Allen Lee Hughes, Holly Hynes, Carolyn Kostopoulous, Mimi Maxmen, David Murin, Sally Ann Parsons, Robert Perdziola, Carrie Robbins, Tony Walton, Patrick Wiley and David Zinn. The committee is co-chaired by Kitty Leech and Gregory A. Poplyk.

The TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award, first presented to the legendary Miss Sharaff in 1993, is bestowed upon a costume designer who, over the course of his or her career, has achieved great distinction and demonstrated a mastery of the art. The award is presented to a designer whose work embodies those qualities of excellence represented in the life work of Irene Sharaff: a keen sense of color, a feeling for material and texture, an eye for shape and form, and a sure command of the craft.  Such a designer's achievement may stem from work for the theatre, opera, dance or film or, as was true of Irene Sharaff, from all of them together.

Previous winners of the TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award are: Desmond Heeley (1994), Miles White (1996), Alvin Colt (1996), Patricia Zipprodt (1997), Jane Greenwood (1998), Willa Kim (1999), Ann Roth (2000), Freddy Wittop (2001), Theoni V. Aldredge (2002), Jose Varona (2003), Anthony Powell (2004), Florence Klotz (2005),  Lester Polakov (2006), Bob Mackie (2007), Robert Fletcher (2008) and William Ivey Long (2009).

The Robert L. B. Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatrical Design not only honors the name of Robert Tobin, but also symbolizes his passion, respect and esteem for the art of theatrical design. The recipient of this award has achieved a career so distinguished in theatrical design that his or her work becomes an example to all designers of the beauty, feeling and empathy that a designer creates through true mastery of this art. The Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatrical Design was first presented in 2004 to acclaimed set and costume designer Tony Walton. The award has since been presented to Robert O'Hearn (2005), Franco Zeffirelli (2006), Santo Loquasto (2007), John Conklin (2008), and Bob Crowley (2009).

The TDF/Irene Sharaff Young Master Award is presented to a designer whose work, beyond being promising, has come to fruition. The award, honoring a designer of distinction early in his or her career, is given in recognition of Irene Sharaff's wish to see young designers encouraged on their way to fully acknowledged success and excellence in the field. TDF Irene Sharaff Young Master Award has been bestowed upon: Gregg Barnes (1994), Toni-Leslie James (1996), Paul Tazewell (1997), Martin Pakledinaz (1998), Suzy Benzinger (1999), Robert Perdziola (2000), Constance Hoffman (2001), Gregory Gale and Jonathan Bixby (2002), Anita Yavich (2003), Mirena Rada (2004), David Zinn (2005), Emilio Sosa (2006), Murrel Horton (2007), Fabio Toblini (2008) and Clint  Ramos (2009).

The TDF/Irene Sharaff Artisan Award, which was created in 1999, recognizes an individual or company that has made an outstanding supportive contribution in the field of costume technology. Among those who this award honors are: assistant and associate costume designers, costume shops that take sketches and turn them into glorious and breathtaking realities, teachers who dedicate their lives to turning raw talent into professional accomplished designers, and authors who create the texts and trade publications without which designers could not function.

The TDF/Irene Sharaff Memorial Tribute, also created in 1999, recognizes, celebrates and remembers those artists who have pioneered the art of costume design, setting the standard for years to come. TDF believes that in reliving and reviewing the body of work of these artists, a new generation of designers is able to learn and grow, standing on the shoulders of the giants who went before them.

TDF Irene Sharaff Artisan Awards have been previously awarded to: Ray Diffen (1999), Woody Shelp (2000), Barbara Matera (2001), Paul Huntley (2002), Maria Brizzi/Grace Costumes (2003), Nino Novellino (2004), Vincent Zullo (2005), Martin Izquierdo (2006), Kermit Love (2007), Bessie Nelson (2008) and Sally Ann Parsons (2009); and the Memorial Tribute Award to Raoul Pene DuBois (1999), Lucinda Ballard (2000), Aline Bernstein (2001), Cecil Beaton (2002), Ruth Morley (2003), Lemuel Ayers (2004), Oliver Messel (2005), Lila De Nobili (2006), Rouben Ter-Arutunian (2007),Tanya Moiseiwitsch (2008) and Irene Sharaff (2009).

THE TDF COSTUME COLLECTION maintains an extensive inventory of more than 70,000 costumes and accessories for rental at discounted price by any not-for-profit theatre company, opera company, university, high school, church group, etc. Last year, The Collection, which is located in a 14,000 square foot loft at 601 W. 26th Street in NYC, served organizations that produced 848 productions in 29 states. It stocks all periods and accepts donations from productions, institutions and individuals. These donations are tax-exempt to the degree allowed by law.

THE TOBIN THEATRE ARTS FUND was founded by the late Robert L. B. Tobin, who was heir to one of the largest family fortunes in Texas.  Robert Tobin admitted to being a frustrated theatre designer with a need to be creative.  All through his academic years and early adulthood, he collected rare theatrical volumes, etchings, engravings and drawings. At the time of his 50th birthday in 1984, The Tobin Wing of the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, was constructed specifically to provide a museum setting for the theatre arts. As such, the wing houses Robert Tobin's extensive collection of over 20,000 original models, scenic and costume designs, as well as some 8,000 rare and illustrated books.  This unprecedented collection of preliminary sketches, final renderings, maquettes, engravings and illustrated texts, provides a visual history of theatre art from the renaissance to the present.  The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund has underwritten the publication of the new book, "MAKING THE SCENE: A History of Stage Design and Technology in Europe and the United States,” co-authored by Dr. Oscar Brockett, Margaret Mitchell and Linda Hardberger. This work is a lively, beautifully illustrated history of theatrical stage design from ancient Greek times to the present.

THE TOBIN THEATRE ARTS FUND exists to stimulate public interest in the art of the theatre designer through a far-reaching program of exhibitions, lectures, expansion of the collection at the McNay and to provide broad-based access to this collection. In its continuing effort to promote the art of the designer, The Fund also sponsors programs that offer students an opportunity to exhibit their work. It also funds visiting artists' programs to area colleges and universities and assists in the publication of monographs on individual designers.

THEATRE DEVELOPMENT FUND, the largest not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts in the United States, was established in 1968 to foster works of artistic merit by supporting new productions and to broaden the audience for live theatre and dance. TDF has played a unique role in strengthening live theatre and dance in New York City for the past 42 years. The largest not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts in the United States, TDF’s programs have filled over 76 million seats at discount prices (with theatre lovers who would normally not be able to attend live performance) and returned nearly 2 billion dollars in revenue to thousands of theatre, dance and music productions. Best known for its TKTS Discount Booths, TDF’s membership, voucher, access and education programs, as well as its Costume Collection, help to make the unique experience of theatre available to everyone. For more information about TDF and its programs, go to

This year's TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards Ceremony is being generously underwritten by The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund.