By: Maryann Lopinto
THEATRE WORLD first started publishing 70 years ago in 1945 covering the theater season 44/45 covering every Broadway off and off-off Broadway shows. It covers shows
that died before arriving, national touring companies also revues, and many times special theaterical events and was edited by Daniel Blum. It was taken over by John Willis when he passed away. Theatre World is a theatre bible, It contains photos, names of original casts, replacement casts, creative people and crews and titles of songs. There are also bios of performers, some obituaries and also some facts. It is the most concise theater reference book ever.
The Theatre World Awards were created by John Willis at the same time to acknowledge outstanding on and off Broadway performers making significant debut performances on the live stage. It is the oldest awards to performers. The awards are chosen by a committee and does not limit it to only those making their career debuts, as many of the recipients have enjoyed major careers in the movies, tv and music business, before stepping foot on the stage.
Among the first recipients were Judy Holliday and Betty Comden. Just some of the prominent names who made their start on the Broadway stages, or made their debuts coming from illuminous careers are Carol Burnett, Liza Minnelli, Robert Goulet, Dick Van Dyke, Cloris Leachman, Paul Newman, John Voight, James Dean, Dustin Hoffman, Hugh Jackman. Both Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer received their awards in the 1954/55 Season and later went on to co-star in the motion picture THE SOUND OF MUSIC and husband and wife Liam Neison and the late Natasha Richardson received theirs in 1992/93 season.
This Monday presentation held at the Circle in the Square was again hosted by Peter Filicia whom in my mind should do
a one man show on Broadway himself. His articulate facts and sense of humor would be on the top of my want to see lists.
The show is made up of former recipients presenting the awards to the recipients of this season. Some are connected in a way and some not. The show opened with Len Cariou (1970) performing and later giving the award to Zachery Levi who received it for "FIRST DATE. Later on Rob McClure (2013) performed a song from the upcoming HONEYMOON IN VEGAS and then presented the award to Chris O’Dowd OF MICE AND MEN. Nellie McKay (2006) closed the show.
John McMartin (1960) gave the award to Bryan Cranston (ALL THE WAY) Dylan Baker to Sarah Green THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAN. One of the three kids who received theirs for BILLY ELLIOTT, Trent Kowalik presented the award to newcomer Emerson Steele (VIOLET). Lauren Worsham (A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER) received her from her co-star Jefferson Mays. Other recipients: Nick Cordero (BULLETS OVER BROADWAY), Mary Bridget Davies (A NIGHT WITH JANIS JOPLIN), Ramin Karimloo (LES MISERABLES), Chris O’Dowd, Sophie Okonedo (A RAISIN IN THE SUN). Both Paul Chahidi (12th NIGHT OR WHAT YOU WILL) and Rebecca Hall (MACHINAL) were not present to receive theirs. Other presenters were: De’adre Aziza (2008), Ben Daniels (2008), Zachary Quinto (2011) and Keala Settle (2013).
Two special awards were presented, The Dorothy Loudon Foundation presented The Dorothy Loudon Award to Celia Keenan- Bolger, who was a recipient of her original in 2005 and given to her by co-star Zachary Quinto in THE GLASS MENAGERIE and "The John Willis Award – Lifetime of Acheivement in the Theatre was presented to Christopher Plummer by Tovah Felshuh (1976).
After the awards, everyone moved on to THE COPA roof and continued the celebration.
I look forward to this special awards show every year and am a fan of THEATRE WORLD and have almost the entire collection.
Photography By Maryann Lopinto