Membership sale! Use promo code JOIN35 and save $7 (reg. $42). Sign up today! See if you qualify to join TDF.

Press & Media

Translate Page

Desmond Heeley and David Toser among 2013 TDF/Irene Sharaff Awardees

Date: Mar 25, 2013
Press Release


Facebook Twitter

Three-time Tony Award winning costume and scenic designer DESMOND HEELEY, and costume designer DAVID TOSER are among the 2013 TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards recipients. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on Friday, May 3, at 6:30pm, at the Hudson Theatre (145 West 44th Street).  Mr. Heeley will receive the Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatrical Design and Mr. Toser was selected to receive the 2013 TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award for costume design.
Additionally, costume designer DANIEL LAWSON will receive the TDF/Irene Sharaff Young Master Award, and famed theatrical jewelry designer LAWRENCE VRBA will receive the TDF/Irene Sharaff Artisan Award. 

During the ceremony, as a special memorial tribute to two-time Tony Award winner MARTIN PAKLEDINAZ (who passed away last summer), there will be a screening of an original 15-minute film on his life, created by designer SUZY BENZINGER.

TDF/Irene Sharaff Award honorees are selected by the TDF Costume Collection's Advisory Committee and are presented through Theatre Development Fund's Costume Collection.

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 2013 TDF/Irene Sharaff awardees.

DESMOND HEELEY (Robert L. B. Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatrical Design) is a costume and set designer for theatre, opera, and ballet. Mr Heeley has been called one of the pre-eminent designers of the twentieth century because of his elaborate and imaginative designs.

Beginning as an apprentice with The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Desmond Heeley's practical aptitude for costumes, painting, and properties was noticed by Peter Brook, with whom he assisted on multiple productions. Mr. Heeley then began his career at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company followed by Titus Andronicus (1955) with the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Through his partnership with The Stratford Festival, he has created over thirty-seven production designs since 1957.

His legendary work has been produced for opera and ballet companies around the world including the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, England's National Theatre, American Ballet Theatre, the Vienna State Opera, La Scala, the Marquis de Cuevas Ballet, New York City Opera, and The National Ballet.
On Broadway his work has been seen in The Importance of Being Earnest (2011 - scenic and costume design), The Circle (1989 - Scenic Design), Camelot (1981- scenic and costume design), Teibele and Her Demon (1979- scenic and costume design), Cyrano (1973 - costume design), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1967 - scenic and costume design), and Twelfth Night (1958 - scenic and costume design). He is the winner of the 2011 Tony award for best costume design of a play for The Importance of Being Earnest and the 1968 Tony awards for costume design and scenic design for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. He was the first person to win a Tony Award for costume and scenic design for the same show.

He was professor of design at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and has taught and lectured on stage and costume design at universities throughout The United States, Canada, and England.  Mr. Heeley has received numerous awards throughout his distinguished career. He was the first recipient of the TDF/ Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award (1994). The Allan Jones Memorial Award followed in 1995, and in 1997 he was the recipient of the Institute for Theater Technology Award in recognition of his lifetime contribution to the performing arts. Having celebrated over sixty years working in the theatre, Mr. Heeley’s designs can be seen in museums, archives, and private collections across Canada, the United States and Great Britain.

DAVID TOSER (TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award). A native of Wisconsin, Mr. Toser moved fifty years ago to NYC with intermediate stops in Providence, New Haven, and Pittsburgh. A graduate of Brown University and Yale School of Drama, he has been designing costumes for professional productions for fifty-four years. His most successful Broadway credits include The Great White Hope (1968), Very Good Eddie (1975), Whoopee (1979), and the all-star revival of Our Town (1969) led by Henry Fonda as the stage manager.

He has worked in regional theatres since the start of his career- notably The American Conservatory theatre (6 productions), Goodspeed Opera House (53 productions), and The Pittsburgh Public Theatre (17 productions). Some of the additional theaters where his work has been seen are Syracuse Stage, Capital Rep, Olney Theatre, Two River, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, Houston Grand Opera, Cleveland Playhouse, Paper Mill Playhouse, PAF, Pennsylvania Stage Company, The Alley Theatre, and most recently at The Pioneer Theatre in Salt Lake City designing The Philadelphia Story (2013). His considerable off and off-off Broadway credits include regular representation with The Actors Company Theatre and the Irish Repertory Theatre. He recently designed It’s a Wonderful Life (2012) and The Freedom of the City (2012) for the Irish Repertory Theatre.

He has been the costume designer for the last twenty-six Tony Awards broadcasts and for a number of PBS specials including Sondheim, A Celebration at Carnegie Hall (1993), Under Milkwood (1972), The Ira Gershwin Tribute (1998), and Gregory Hines: Tap Dance In America (1989). Mr. Toser also styles wardrobe for both the Memorial Day Celebration and A Capital Fourth broadcasts from the National Mall in Washington, DC.

DANIEL LAWSON (TDF/Irene Sharaff Young Master Award) studied costume design and theatre at Northwestern University and received his graduate degree from Rutgers University. Upon moving to New York City, he worked on One Life to Live and assisted Albert Wolsky on Revolutionary Road (2008) and Across the Universe (2007). Mr. Lawson’s theatre design work includes: Once Around the Sun (2005 - Zipper Theatre), The Normals (2005 - Luna Stage), Deception (2003 - Adobe Theatre Company), Sand Pilot (2003 - Luna Stage), Last Lists of My Mad Mother (2001 - Luna Stage), and Rapture (2001 - Luna Stage).

His television credits include The Good Wife (2009 - 2013) for which he received a 20120 Emmy Award nomination, Bored to Death (2009 - 2011), Kings (2009), David Alan Grier: Comedy You Can Believe In (2009), Lipstick Jungle (2008), Waterfront (2006), and Third Watch (2002-2005) and his film deigns can be seen in Gotham (2012), 40 (2012), Hard Luck (2006), Lenexa, 1 Mile (2006), Spin the Bottle (1999), and Remembering Sex (1998). He was the assistant costume designer for Enchanted (2007), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Perfect Stranger (2007), Without a Trace (2006), Third Watch (1999-2002), and Oz (1998). 

LAWRENCE VRBA (TDF/Irene Sharaff Artisan Award) spent his early years in Nebraska and passed through the United States Army on his way to New York, arriving in June of 1968.  He sought employment in the costume jewelry industry and eventually worked from 1971-1979 as designer for the Miriam Haskell Company, creating commercial work which is today considered eminently collectable. His first job was with Castlecliff on 17th Street in Manhattan, next door to Brooks-Van Horn Costume Company, and he became friends with Kitty Duffy, a costumer there who introduced him to David Toser, this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree.  David was working with Raoul Pene de Bois on the revival of No, No, Nanette (1971) and Larry placed his first Broadway jewelry around the fabulous neck of Ruby Keeler.

An incomplete mention of subsequent theatre work would include: Follies (1971) and A Little Night Music (1973) with Florence Klotz; Mrs. Aldrege’s Barnum (1980), Ballroom (1978), La Cage aux Folles (1983), Dreamgirls (1981); Flower Drum Song (2002) for Gregg Barnes; and with Catherine Zuber, How to Succeed… (2011) and Born Yesterday (2011).  His work for William Ivey Long extends from Nine (1982) through The Lost Colony (yearly festival), Steel Pier (1997), The Producers (2001), and Hairspray (2002) to this season’s Cinderella (2013).  Eight times a week, Glenda the Good floats onto the stage of Wicked (2003) in her gown by Susan Hilferty and tiara and wand from Mr. Vrba.  His rhinestone buckles have decorated a staggering number of famous women in Chicago (1996).  His favorite project was the ill-fated but gorgeous Pirate Queen (2007) designed spectacularly by the late Martin Pakledinaz, this year’s Memorial Tribute honoree.

Mr. Vrba manages a small business in concert with his talented assistant of eight years, Chris Crouch, who was Empress of New York in 2010.  Their jewelry is available at The Kentshire Galleries at Bergdorf Goodman.

MARTIN PAKLEDINAZ (Memorial Tribute), ten-time Tony Award nominated costume designer who won the coveted award twice and whose work in opera, dance and regional theater made him one of the most prolific stage craftsmen of his generation, died at age 58 in 2012. He worked in opera, dance and regional theater which made him one of the most prolific stage craftsmen of his generation.

Educated at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan, Martin Pakledinaz moved to New York City in 1977 and within a few seasons he received his first Broadway credit as costume designer, for the short-lived comedy Inacent Black (1981).  Mr. Pakledinaz received Tonys for the revival of Kiss Me, Kate (1999), and for Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002).  He was nominated for eight other productions, including the revival Anything Goes (2011), Lend Me a Tenor (2010), Gypsy (2008), The Pajama Game (2006), Golden Child (1998) and the revival of Blithe Spirit (2009).  His first nomination was for The Life (1997) and his final for Nice Work if you Can Get It (2012). Mr. Pakledinaz’s work on Broadway spanned three decades including Chaplin (2012), Man and Boy (2011), Master Class (2011), The Normal Heart (2011), Is He Dead? (2007), Grease (2007), The Pirate Queen (2007), Wonderful Town (2003), The Look of Love (2003), A Year With Frog and Toad (2003), The Boys from Syracuse (2002), A Thousand Clowns (2001), Taller Than a Dwarf (2000), The Diary of Anne Frank (1997), Summer and Smoke (1996), The Father (1996), Holiday (1995), Hedda Gabler (1994), A Grand Night For Singing (1993), Anna Christie (1993), Hamlet (1992), You Never Can Tell (1986). Off-Broadway, Mr. Pakledinaz was represented in productions at many major New York City theatres including The Public, Manhattan Theatre Club and Playwrights Horizons, among others.

He has designed plays for the leading regional theatres of the United States and the Royal Dramatic Theatre of Sweden as well as for the Metropolitan Opera,  the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Mark Morris Dance Group, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, San Diego Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Santa Fe Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular (2011) and the film My Week With Marilyn (2011).

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: Kitty Leech, Chair; Gregg Barnes, Suzy Benzinger, Dean Brown, Stephen Cabral, Traci DiGesu, Linda Fisher, Lana Fritz, Rodney Gordon, Desmond Heeley, Allen Lee Hughes, Holly Hynes, Carolyn Kostopoulos, Anna Louizos, Mimi Maxmen, David Murin, Sally Ann Parsons, Robert Perdziola, Gregory Poplyk, Carrie Robbins, Tony Walton, Patrick Wiley and David Zinn.

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), and Carrie Robbins (2012).
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) and Lloyd Burlingame (2012).
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), and Mathew LeFebvre (2012).
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.
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 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), and Lynn Pectal (2012); and the TDF/Irene Sharaff 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), Irene Sharaff (2009),Randy Barcelo (2010), Charles LeMaire (2011), and William and Jean Eckart (2012).
THE TDF COSTUME COLLECTION maintains an extensive inventory of more than 75,000 costumes and accessories for rental at discounted price 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 854 productions in 28 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 (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 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 was created in the conviction that the live theatrical arts afford a unique expression of the human condition that must be sustained and nurtured. It is dedicated to developing diverse audiences for live theatre and dance, and strengthening the performing arts community in New York City. Since 1968, TDF’s programs have provided over 83 million people with access to performances at affordable prices and have returned over $2.2 billion to thousands of productions. Best known for its TKTS Discount Booths, TDF’s membership, outreach, access (including its newly formed Autism Theatre Initiative) and education programs — as well as its Costume Collection — have introduced thousands of people to the theatre and helped make the unique experience of theatre available to everyone, including students and people with disabilities. Recent TDF honors include a 2011 Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture, a 2012 Tony Honor for Excellence for its Open Doors Arts Education Program and a 2012 New York Innovative Theatre Award for its support of the off-Off Broadway community.

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