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TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards Announced

Date: Feb 10, 2009


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Legendary designers WILLIAM IVEY LONG and BOB CROWLEY are among the four recipients of the 2009 TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards. Five-time Tony Award winning costume designer William Ivey Long will receive the 2009 TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award for theatrical costume design, and, for his achievements as both a costume and scenic designer, Bob Crowley (also a five-time Tony Award winner) will receive the TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards´ special Robert L. B. Tobin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatrical Design at a ceremony on Friday, March 27, at the Hudson Theatre in New York City.

In addition to Mr. Long´s TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award and Crowley´s Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Lifetime Achievement, costume designer CLINT RAMOS will receive the TDF/Irene Sharaff Young Master Award, and famed theatre craftsman/designer SALLY ANN PARSONS will receive the TDF/Irene Sharaff Artisan Award. In honor of the 15th Anniversary of the awards, there will be a special memorial tribute to legendary designer IRENE SHARAFF, for whom the awards are named.

 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 2009 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.

 WILLIAM IVEY LONG (TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award) was born in 1947 in Seaboard, North Carolina and attended the College of William and Mary and later the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to pursue a Ph.D. in art history. While there, he met visiting professor Betty Smith who suggested he apply to the design program at Yale University. Upon his acceptance to Yale, he left UNC and began to study set design at the Yale School of Drama. While at Yale he studied under designer Ming Cho Lee, whom he has credited with being a major influence on his work.

 Upon his graduation from Yale, Mr. Long moved to NYC where he worked for Charles James as an unpaid apprentice until James's death in 1978. A friend of his from Yale, Karen Schulz, who was the set designer for a revival of Nikolai Gogol's The Inspector General, suggested that Long be hired to do costume designs for the show. This was Long's first Broadway production. Since then he has designed over 50 Broadway shows -- A Streetcar Named Desire in 2005 marked his landmark 50th. Most recent and current Broadway productions: Young Frankenstein; Pal Joey, 9 to 5, The Ritz, A Streetcar Named Desire, Sweet Charity, La Cage Aux Folles, Hairspray, The Producers, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Chicago, Curtains, Grey Gardens and Losing Louie. Other Broadway credits include: The Frogs Twentieth Century Never Gonna Dance The Boy From Oz, Little Shop of Horrors, 45 Seconds From Broadway, Thou Shalt Not, Seussical, The Man Who Came to Dinner, The Music Man, Contact, Swing, Epic Proportions, The Civil War, Annie Get Your Gun, Cabaret, 1776, King David, Steel Pier, Big, Company, Smokey Joe's Café, Picnic, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Face Value, Guys and Dolls, Private Lives, Crazy For You, The Homecoming, Six Degrees of Separation, Lend Me a Tenor, Eastern Standard, Mail, Smile, The Tap Dance Kid, Nine, Mass Appeal, Passione, and The 1940's Radio Hour.

 Off Broadway credits include: The New Century (Lincoln Center Theater), Regrets Only (Manhattan Theatre Club Stage), Grey Gardens (Playwrights Horizons), Valhalla (New York Theatre Workshop), A Bad Friend (Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater), The Syringa (Tree Playhouse 91), Godspell (York Theatre), La Terrasse (Manhattan Theatre Club), The Mystery of Irma Vep (Westside Theatre), Tovah: Out of Her Mind (Playhouse 91), Splendora (American Place Theatre), The Food Chain (Westside Theatre), Assassins (Playwrights Horizons), Eleemosynary (Manhattan Theatre Club), Italian American Reconciliation (Manhattan Theatre Club), Principia Scriptoriae (Manhattan Theatre Club), Hamlet (Public Theater), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Public Theater), Hey, Ma...Kaye Ballard (Promenade Theatre), The Lady and the Clarinet (Lucille Lortel Theatre), American Passion (Joyce Theater); Poor Little Lambs (York Theater), Twelve Dreams (Public Theater), Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You and The Actor's Nightmare (Westside Theatre), Hunting Scenes from Lower Bavaria (Stage 73), Passione (Playwrights Horizons), Mass Appeal (Stage 73), and Two Small Bodies (Playwrights Horizons).

 William Ivey Long has been nominated for eleven Tony Awards, winning five (Nine, Crazy for You, The Producers, Hairspray and Grey Gardens). The other nominations were for Lend Me a Tenor, Chicago, Cabaret, The Music Man, A Streetcar Named Desire, and La Cage aux Follies. In 2000, Mr. Long was chosen by the National Theatre Conference as its "Person of the Year" and was honored with the "Legend of Fashion" Award by the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003. Mr. Long was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2005.

BOB CROWLEY (Robert L. B. Tobin Award for Lifetime Achievement) has been nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won five times for Best Scenic Designer (Mary Poppins, The Coast of Utopia, The History Boys, Aida and Carousel). Bob Crowley is not only a scenic and costume designer, but also a director. He began his career at the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company during the 1980s. In England he has designed over 20 productions for the National Theatre and over 25 for the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as noted productions at the Donmar Warehouse and the Almeida Theatre.

In New York, Mr. Crowley has had a long association with the Lincoln Center Theater where his work was seen in: the scenic design for all three parts of The Coast of Utopia, scenic and costume design for Racing Demon, Carousel, scenic design Hapgood, scenic and costume design The Invention of Love, and scenic design for Twelfth Night. His Broadway credits are: scenic and costume design for Les Liaisons Dangereuses, scenic and costume design for The Capeman, scenic and costume design for The Judas Kiss, costume and scenic design for The Iceman Cometh, scenic and costume design for Amy´s View, costume and scenic design for Putting it Together, scenic and costume design for Disney´s Aida, costume and scenic for Sweet Smell of Success, designer for The History Boys, director and designer of Tarzan, costume and scenic design for Mary Poppins, scenic design for The Year of Magical Thinking, and scenic designer for A Moon for the Misbegotten, as well as Public Theatre´s production of The Seagull in the Central Park. He is currently designing a production of Phaedre for London´s The National Theatre starring Dame Helen Mirren, the Andrew Lloyd Webber´s  Love Never Dies as well as a new play by Alan Bennett.

CLINT RAMOS´s (TDF/Irene Sharaff Young Master Award) recent and current design credits include: Women Beware Women for Red Bull Theater, Una Cosa Rara for Opera Theater of St. Louis, The Good Negro for New York Public Theatre and Dallas Theatre Center, Boy´s Life for Second Stage and Three Sisters for Williamstown Theatre Festival (both directed by Michael Greif), King Lear for Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Twelfth Night for California Shakespeare Festival. New York designs have been seen at the Public, Second Stage, Vineyard, Ma-Yi, Mint, Red Bull, Women´s Project, Here, PS 122, New York Theatre Workshop, NAATCO, Juilliard, and others. Regional credits include designs at the American Repertory Theatre, The Guthrie, Dallas Theater Center, Baltimore Centerstage, Roundhouse, Folger Shakespeare, La Jolla Playhouse, Asolo, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera Boston among others. International credits include designs at the Barbican (London), O´Reilly (Dublin), Kanon (St. Petersburg), Rijksteatern (Stockholm), Thalia (Bucharest), Tanghalang Pilipino (Manila). He received the 2007 American Theater Wing Henry Hewes Award for his designs on Madras House at the Mint Theater. Other awards and nominations include Live Design Magazine´s 2007 Designer to Watch, NYTW Design Fellowship, Drama Desk, Audelco, Elliot Norton, IRNE,. Upcoming projects include Eurydice (Roundhouse Theater), Endgame (American Repertory Theater) and the premier of Tony Kushner´s new work The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures at the Guthrie Theater.

SALLY ANN PARSONS (TDF/Irene Sharaff Artisan Award.) has owned and operated Parsons-Meares Ltd., a full service costume shop, since 1980. Broadway shows for which costumes have been created include: Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Sunset Boulevard, Starlight Express, Will Rogers Follies, Guys and Dolls, Wonderful Town, Kiss Me Kate, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Wicked. Film and televison work includes: Fame, Far From Heaven, Bram Stoker´s Dracula, The Cotton Club and Captain Eo and the Space Knights with Michael Jackson. Ballet company clients include: The Joffery Ballet, Feld Ballet and Ballet Tech, ABT, Alvin Ailey, Houston Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. Spectacle and circus costumes have been created for Bette Midler´s The Showgirl Must Go On, Siegfeid and Roy, Disney Ice Shows, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, Walt Disney Theme Parks and Busch Gardens. A member of the United Scenic Artists Guild 829, Sally Ann´s design work has included the Joffrey Ballet and much of the downtown dance world.


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, Linda Fisher, Lana Fritz, Rodney Gordon, Desmond Heeley, Allen Lee Hughes, Holly Hynes, Carolyn Kostopoulous, Kitty Leech, Anna Louizos, Mimi Maxmen, David Murin, Sally Ann Parsons, Robert Perdziola, Carrie Robbins, Tony Walton, Patrick Wiley and David Zinn. The chairman is 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) and Robert Fletcher (2008).

The Robert L. B. Tobin Award for Lifetime Achievement 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), and John Conklin (2008).

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) and Fabio Toblini (2008).

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) and Bessie Nelson (2008); 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) and Tanya Moiseiwitsch (2008).

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 served organizations that produced  848 productions in 29 states. The Collection is located in a 14,000 square foot loft at 601 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001. 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 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. For the past 40 years, TDF has played a unique role in strengthening the performing arts in New York City. TDF´s programs have filled nearly 72 million theatre seats; provided subsidy support to over 900 plays, including 30 Pulitzer Prize honorees; and returned over 1.6 billion dollars in revenue to thousands of productions.

On October 16, 2008, TDF opened their new TKTS Discount Booth in Father Duffy Square, the centerpiece of the newly designed and expanded plaza, operating under a glowing red glass staircase. They also operate satellite TKTS booths in Downtown Brooklyn and at South Street Seaport.

TDF´s membership and voucher programs touch the lives of tens of thousands of New Yorkers who might not otherwise be able to afford the unique experience of theatre. TDF´s award-winning education programs, Open Doors, Stage Doors and Residency Arts Project (RAP), involve thousands of New York City public school students each year, most of whom have never attended a live theatre performance.  TDF also produces the theatre magazine, Play by Play, which is written by and for high school students. It is available online at

TDF´s Accessibility Programs (TAP) make the theatre experience a reality for people with physical disabilities. They also present highly regarded open captioned and sign language interpreted performances for theatregoers with mild to severe hearing loss, and audio described performances for those who are blind or with low vision. Additionally, TDF sponsors comprehensive training courses for future producers, and maintains a 70,000-item Costume Collection which rents professional costumes at low cost to hundreds of not-for-profit organizations across the United States each year. 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.