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2018 TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards celebrate designers from the world of dance

Date: Feb 28, 2018


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Special filmed memorial tribute to KARINSKA


Legendary ballet costume designer HOLLY HYNES and costume and scenic designer ZACK BROWN are among the 2018 TDF/Irene Sharaff Award recipients which were just announced by TDF, the not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts. Ms. Hynes was selected to receive the 2018 TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award for costume design and Mr. Brown will receive the Robert L. B. Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatrical Design. The awards are presented through TDF’s Costume Collection. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on Friday, April 20, at 6:30pm, at the Edison Ballroom (240 West 47th Street).  
Additionally, costume designer TRAVIS HALSEY will receive the TDF/Kitty Leech Young Master Award and FRITZ MASTEN will receive the TDF/Irene Sharaff Artisan Award.  
“During this year’s selection process, a majority of the nominees for the awards in each category had a very strong presence in the world of dance,” said TDF’s Costume Collection Director STEPHEN CABRAL. “This is the first year in the awards’ 24 year history that designers of magnificent ballets from Balanchine to Wheeldon have won all of the awards.”

During the ceremony, as a special memorial tribute to the legendary designer, KARINSKA, there will be a screening of an original 15-minute film on her career, created by designer SUZY BENZINGER.

The awardees were selected by the TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards Voting Committee, which is comprised of leading members of the theatrical costume design community. They are: Stephen Cabral, Chair; Gregg Barnes, Suzy Benzinger, Dean Brown, Traci DiGesu, Linda Fisher, Lana Fritz, Rodney Gordon, Allen Lee Hughes, Holly Hynes, Carolyn Kostopoulous, Anna Louizos, Mimi Maxmen, David Murin, Sally Ann Parsons, Robert Perdziola, Gregory Poplyk, Carrie Robbins, Tony Walton, Patrick Wiley and David Zinn.

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 2018 TDF/Irene Sharaff awardees. 
HOLLY HYNES (TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award) has designed more than 250 ballets in her career as a costume designer. For 21 years, she was Director of Costumes for the NYC Ballet (1985-2006) where she designed more than 70 ballets. Ms. Hynes has been the resident costume designer for The Suzanne Farrell Ballet since its inception in 1991 and has designed 36 ballets for the company. Her costumes were featured in a one-woman show celebrating her designs for the company at the Kennedy Center in 2011.

Her ballet designs have been featured in countless productions for major ballet companies including American Ballet Theatre: Seven Sonatas (2009), New York City Ballet: Concerto DSCH (2008), San Francisco Ballet: Symphonic Caprice (2014), National Ballet of Canada: Don Quixote (2007), Houston Ballet: One/End/One (2011), Joffrey Ballet: Liturgy (2015), Pennsylvania Ballet: Polyphonia (2015), Pacific Northwest Ballet: Tide Harmonic (2013), Richmond Ballet: The Enchanted Toy Shop (2015), Nashville Ballet: Appalachian Spring (2017), Boston Ballet: Stars and Stripes Pas de Deux (2018), Alvin Ailey: After The Rain (2014), Ballet West: Red Angels (2008), The Suzanne Farrell Ballet: Gounod Symphony (2016) and William Whitener’s Tom Sawyer for Kansas City Ballet featuring Maury Yeston’s original score.

Her choreographer collaborators include Jerome Robbins, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Stanton Welch, Jorma Elo, Devon Carney and Benjamin Millepied. 

Internationally, her designs can be seen at companies including Paris Opera Ballet: Daphnis and Chloë (2014), The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden: Tzigane (2008), La Scala in Milan: Concerto DSCH (2012), Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia: Aria Suspended (2007), Bolshoi in Moscow, Russia: Dream of Dream (2012), Stuttgart Ballet in Germany: Slice to Sharp (2008), Norwegian National Ballet in Oslo: Theme and Variations (2016) and Berlin State Opera Ballet: Daphnis and Chloë (2017).

In addition to her design work, Holly serves as a consultant with authority to teach costume reproductions of various established designs for the Jerome Robbins Estate and The George Balanchine Trust, serving many companies in Europe and the United States including The Mariinsky Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Bavarian State Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, State Opera of Berlin, La Scala, Hamburg Ballet, Het National Ballet in Amsterdam and the Royal Ballet in London.

This 2017-2018 season, her work can be seen at The New York City Ballet: Polyphonia and Liturgy, American Ballet Theatre: Daphnis and Chloë, Houston Ballet: Carousel and Just (premiere at Jacob’s Pillow in August), Alvin Ailey: After the Rain pas de deux, Kansas City Ballet: Nutcracker, Charlotte Ballet: Nutcracker, Miami City Ballet: Concerto DSCH, Atlanta Ballet: Tutu, Richmond Ballet: Gargoyles, Nevada Ballet: Carousel and the world premiere of Bespoke at San Francisco Ballet.

Holly’s theatre credits include: Broadway: On Borrowed Time (1991), Getting Married (1991), Off Broadway: The Baker’s Wife (1985), Lost in the Stars (1988), The Lark (1989), Marry Me a Little (1987) and Theater for the Young Audiences at Kennedy Center: Kite on the Wind (2008), Trumpet of the Swan (2008) and Barrio Grrrl! (2009) as well as the national tour of Barrio Grrrl!.

ZACK BROWN (Robert L. B. Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatrical Design), a designer of both sets and costumes is one of the most versatile theatrical designers, with a career that has spanned Broadway, opera, ballet and television. Since obtaining a B.F.A. from Notre Dame and an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama he has designed sets and costumes for more than 150 productions: from the Metropolitan Opera to the Spoleto Festivals in Charleston and Melbourne; from Hamburg Ballet to Arena Stage in Washington; from San Francisco Opera to the Maly Theatre in Moscow, Mr. Brown’s talents have been employed throughout the world.

He made his Broadway debut in 1977 with scenic designs for The Importance of Being Earnest at Circle in the Square (Tony nomination) and later that year, the scenic and costume designs for Tartuffe at the same theatre, which was subsequently filmed for Great Performances. (Drama Desk nomination and Emmy nomination for costumes) Also at Circle in the Square: costumes for Saint Joan (1977 Drama Desk nomination), scenic and costume design for 13 Rue de L’Amour (1978), scenic and costume designs for Man and Superman (1978), Major Barbara (1980), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1980), The Devil’s Disciple (1988), Salome (1992 American Theatre Wing nomination for set design) and Suddenly Last Summer (1995) and scenic design for The Night of the Iguana (1988), as well as the sets and costumes for the Tony Award winning revival of On Your Toes (1983 Drama Desk nomination for costumes).

For the Metropolitan Opera, he designed scenery and costumes for Rigoletto (2000), but Washington, D.C. has seen the bulk of his work in opera: as principal designer for Washington Opera he created more than 40 productions at The Kennedy Center, including La Boheme, Die Fledermaus, Rigoletto, Turandot, The Tsar’s Bride, Otello and The Flying Dutchman. San Francisco Opera’s productions of Prince Igor, Le Nozze de Figaro and Don Carlos, among others, were designed by Mr. Brown.

His work has been seen regionally at the Guthrie Theatre, the McCarter Theatre, Seattle Repertory, the Williamstown Theatre Festival, American Repertory Theatre, the Manhattan Theatre Club and Arena Stage.  

For American Ballet Theatre he created the sets and costumes for Swan Lake (filmed for Dance in America – WNET), Dim Lustre, Raymonda, Theme and Variations, and the sets for Gaite Parisienne, Jardin aux Lilas and La Sonnambula (both of the latter filmed for Dance in America – WNET), Milwaukee Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet and Alberta Ballet all have productions of The Nutcracker designed by Mr. Brown.

Mr. Brown has won two Emmy Awards for his work on the televised production of La Gioconda from San Francisco Opera.  He also received an Emmy nomination for his costume designs for WNET’s Great Performances mini-series of Mourning Becomes Electra

TRAVIS HALSEY (TDF/Kitty Leech Young Master Award) has a diverse and expansive background in both design and the technical aspects of costume construction.  He is the owner of Halsey Onstage in Chicago IL, where he and his team produce costumes for live performance around the world. For over fifteen years, he has designed and built costumes for ballet, opera, theatre, circus arts, film, and television. Mr. Halsey most recently designed Nutcracker on the Indian River for the Vero Beach Ballet in Florida.  He also designed the world premiere of Garrett Smith's Imbue, which debuted at Texas Ballet Theatre.  Halsey co-designed Beauty and the Beast for the Omaha Community Playhouse, taking charge of all of the mechanical characters and enchanted objects.  This set of costumes is now being rented across the USA.  This past year Halsey and team constructed a large portion of Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker, designed by Timothy Goodchild and choreographed by Stanton Welch. 

Other recent credits include his co-design and construction for Act II of an underwater rendition of George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream for Miami City Ballet. Halsey has constructed for Madonna's Rebel Heart world tour under designer Arianne Phillips and brought to life the beautiful tutu renderings of William Ivey Long for the production, Little Dancer, which premiered at the Kennedy Center in late 2014. Mr. Halsey has also recently worked on the films Chi-Raq, Divergent, Bolden!, and Transformers. TV shows include Chicago PD, and Chicago Fire. Mr. Halsey as worked in, or associated with, many major American costume shops, fulfilling roles such as Lead Patternmaker, Stitching Supervisor, and Designer. He has worked on numerous world premieres, such the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago's Don Quixote, choreographed by Yuri Possokhov and Son of a Chamber Symphony, choreographed by Stanton Welch; Houston Ballet's Return, choreographed by Garrett Smith and co-design for A Doll's House, choreographed by Stanton Welch; Ballet West's Facades, choreographed by Garrett Smith; and Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre's The Sleeping Beauty

As a craftsman, Halsey is highly skilled in many costume disciplines, including, but not limited to: classical tutu construction, stretch garments, puppetry, corsetry, tailoring, fabric sublimation, thermoplastics, and quick change magic.

FRITZ MASTEN (TDF/Irene Sharaff Artisan Award) is a versatile artist working in theatre. He has designed costumes and sets for theatres internationally, among them, The Joseph Papp Public Theater, The Juilliard School, Alberta Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Houston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance, Theatre du Rhin, The Paul Taylor Dance Company and Introdans Netherlands. As draper Fritz has created clothes for Tony Award-winning designers Gregg Barnes, Jane Greenwood, Susan Hilferty, William Ivey Long, Bob Mackie, Martin Pakledinaz, Ann Hould-Ward, Paul Tazewell and fashion designers Thierry Mugler and Narciso Rodriguez. He has done tons of rhinestone heavy duds for three companies of the Ringling Brothers Circus. He has dressed such performers as Joey Arias, Alec Baldwin, Polly Bergen, Don Cheadle, Billy Crudup, Willem Dafoe, Olympia Dukakis, Paloma Herera, Bill Irwin, Julie Kent, Kevin Kline, Idina Menzel, Lynn Redgrave, Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles and Santa Claus. His contribution to Bill Hayward’s photo book, Bad Behavior was featured in Vanity Fair Magazine. To learn more go to

KARINSKA (Memorial Tribute). George Balanchine once said: “There is Shakespeare for literature and Karinska for costumes!” The lady to whom this accolade was paid was Mme. Barbara Karinska, Principal Costume Designer and former Director of the costume shop for New York City Ballet. Barbara Karinska was born Varvara Andreievna Jmoudsky in Kharkiv, Ukraine in 1886, to a successful textile manufacturer. She learned embroidery as a child, and, as a young woman, ran a coffee house and embroidery shop in Russia. Shortly before WWI she married the editor of a Socialist newspaper—the two had a daughter who would later go on to have a costume shop of her own in Paris. After the death of her first husband, she married a lawyer, Karinsky, in Moscow and used his name in her career. 

In 1933 Karinska made her first ballet costumes, from designs by Christian Bérard, for George Balanchine’s Cotillion for Les Ballets de Theatre Monte Carlo. During her brief career in Paris, she collaborated with André Derain, Joan Miró, and Balthus, among a long list of other painters and designers, and costumed the plays of Jean Cocteau and Louis Jouvet. Karinska costumed the six ballets performed by Les Ballet 1933, Balanchine's short-lived company he founded in Paris before leaving for New York. Next settling in London, she costumed ballet, musicals, and operas. Together with Bérard, Karinska experimented very successfully with new materials never before used in theatre. Here Karinska began her long lasting collaborative relationship with Cecil Beaton. 

In 1939, she came to the US. Balanchine gave her an unused room at the fledgling School of American Ballet in New York City—it was here that she collaborated with Salvador Dali on Dream of Venus for the Spanish Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair of 1939. During the war years, Karinska worked in Hollywood and, along with Dorothy Jeakins, won an Oscar in 1948 for her costuming of Ingrid Bergman in Joan of Arc. Her other film work includes the 1953 French adaptation of La Dame aux Camélias and the Samuel Goldwyn musical Hans Christian Andersen, starring Danny Kaye, for which she was Oscar nominated. Soon afterwards, the label “Karinska Stage and Art” was sewn into costumes for ice shows, musicals, plays, motion pictures, lyric opera, and, most important to Karinska, ballet. She joined New York City Ballet in 1949 to make costumes for Balanchine’s Bourrée Fantasque and, following that, became responsible for the execution of almost all of the company’s costumes, at first simply making them and then later designing them too. She soon faced a design problem: with a large assembly of dancers on stage, as was often preferred by Balanchine, the traditional "pancake" tutu, with its stiff wired layer, would bob and dip when the dancers’ skirts brushed up against one another. Karinska solved this problem by devising the "powder puff" tutu, or Balanchine-Karinska tutu, employing a shorter skirt made of six or seven layers of gathered net that obviated the need for a wire hoop. This design has become standard in ballet companies all over the world since it first appeared in 1950 in the ballet Symphony in C.  

Balanchine said, "I attribute to [Karinska] fifty percent of the success of my ballets to those that she has dressed." They collaborated together on seventy-five ballets over their careers. In 1956, for Balanchine's Allegro Brillante, Karinska created the knee-length chiffon ballet dress, which has also become a standard design for ballet costumes. In 1963 the operation of the shop was taken over by New York City Ballet, for which Karinska worked exclusively. Her major works included designs for Scotch Symphony, La Valse, Symphony in C, Tchaikovsky Suite No. 3, Liebeslieder Waltzer, The Nutcracker, Raymonda Variations, Bugaku, Jewels, Who Cares?, and Chaconne. Her last and perhaps most lavish work, Vienna Waltzes, was produced in 1977. 

Karinska was the 1962 recipient of the Capezio Award, an annual honor given for outstanding contributions to the world of dance. She was the only costume designer ever to win this award. Although illness in her last years prevented Karinska from continuing as an active participant in the daily operation of the costume shop, any line in a program reading: “Costumes by Karinska” still denoted the finest and most beautiful costumes on the stage.  Karinska died in 1983 at the age of 97.


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), William Ivey Long (2009), Albert Wolsky (2010), Lewis Brown (2011), Carrie Robbins (2012), David Toser (2013), Deborah M. Dryden (2014), Jess Goldstein (2015), Susan Tsu (2016) and Catherine Zuber (2017).

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), Bob Crowley (2009), Ming Cho Lee (2010), Robin Wagner (2011), Lloyd Burlingame (2012), Desmond Heeley (2013), Marjorie Bradley Kellogg (2014), Douglas W. Schmidt (2015), Michael Yeargan (2016), and Tony Straiges (2017).

The TDF/Kitty Leech Young Master Award (formerly known as 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), Clint  Ramos (2009), Alejo Vietti (2010), Olivera Gajic (2011), Mathew J. LeFebvre (2012), Daniel Lawson (2013), Linda Cho (2014), Brian Hemesath (2015), Suttirat Larlarb (2016), and Paloma Young (2017).

The TDF/Irene Sharaff Artisan Award recognizes an individual or company that has made an outstanding supportive contribution in the field of costume technology. Among those whom 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 a designer could not function.

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), Sally Ann Parsons (2009), John David Ridge (2010), Michael-Jon Costumes (2011), Lynn Pectal (2012), Lawrence Vrba (2013), Marjorie Krostyne (2014), Gino Bifulco – T.O. Dey Shoes (2015), Liz Covey & Rosemary Ingham (2016) and Ernest Smith (2017).

The TDF/Irene Sharaff Memorial Tribute was created to recognize, celebrate and remember 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 Memorial Tributes have been presented in memory of Raoul Pene Du Bois (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), Irene Sharaff (2009), Randy Barcelo (2010), Charles LeMaire (2011), William and Jean Eckart (2012), Martin Pakledinaz (2013), Sam Kirkpatrick (2014), Raoul Pene Du Bois (2015), Dorothy Jeakins (2016) and  MOTLEY - Margaret Harris, Sophie Harris and Elizabeth Montgomery Wilmot - (2017).

THE TDF COSTUME COLLECTION consists of the TDF Costume Collection Rental Program and TDF Costume Collection Research Program.  The rental program maintains an extensive inventory of more than 80,000 costumes and accessories for rental at discounted prices by any not-for-profit theatre company, opera company, university, high school, religious group, etc.  The Collection resides in a 16,000 square foot home at the Kaufman Astoria Studios. This past year, the Collection served organizations that produced over 900 productions in 35 states. It stocks all periods and accepts donations from productions, institutions and individuals. These donations are tax-deductible to the degree allowed by law. The research program provides resources for those looking to study the art of theatrical costume design.

THE TOBIN THEATRE ARTS FUND (formerly The Tobin Foundation for Theatre Arts) 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 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. 

TDF is a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. Founded in 1968, TDF’s mission is to sustain live theatre and dance by engaging and cultivating a broad and diverse audience and eliminating barriers to attendance. 

TDF fulfills its mission with a variety of programs that expand access, cultivate communities and support the makers of the performing arts. Best known for its theatregoing programs (including the TKTS by TDF Discount Booths and TDF Membership Programs), TDF’s accessibility (including open captioned, audio described and Autism Friendly performances), school (serving over 10,000 New York City student annually), community engagement and information programs — as well as the TDF Costume Collection Rental and Research Programs — have introduced millions of people to the theatre and helped make the unique experience of theatre available to everyone. TDF envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible and inspirational. To learn more about TDF, go to:

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