Theatre Musem Panel on Broadway Theatre: Dr. Sue Horowitz with Tony-Award Winners
Stewart F. Lane: Broadway & Film Producer
(4-Time Tony Award Winner)
Joe Franklin: TV/Radio Personality
(Author of 23 Books)
(Annie, Bye Bye Birdie, 3-Time Tony Award-Winner)
The Theatre Museum Annual Awards Event at the historic, elegant Players Club in Manhattan is a gala, festive event that honors live theatre! Attendees include Stewart F. Lane, Executive Director and multiple Tony-Award winning Producer, Helen Marie Guditis, President of the Board of Trustees, and a brilliant bevy of Broadway stars, composers, producers, play publishers etc. The Theatre Museum (dedicated to preserving and celebrating our American Theatre heritage) sponsors museum exhibitions like “Showboat Round the Bend” and “Brooklyn Sees Stars” and arts education at the Village Academy in Harlem’s after school enrichment program.
My personal connection began when I was invited to appear on a panel about ethnic contributions to Broadway Theatre with luminaries like Stewart F. Lane, Joe Franklin, and Charles Strause – and I’ve been a fan ever since.
The Annual Awards Ceremony combines awards, live performances, and a cocktail party. Chief awards recipients include the Sherman Brothers (Robert and Richard) – a songwriting team with five decade career, two Academy Awards (for Mary Poppins
-score and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” -song), the worlds’ most translated and performed song (“It’s a Small World After All”), a ten year tenure as staff writers with Walt Disney, two current hit shows (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,
and Mary Poppins
) plus the National Medal of Arts. Whew!
When Richard, a dapper, erect, self-proclaimed octogenarian sits down at the piano to play and sing, he clearly knows knows a thing or two (or rather, eighty ) about both songwriting and staying young and vibrant. Thomas Schumacher, producer, Disney Theatrical Productions (The Lion King, Aida, Mary Poppins
and The Little Mermaid
) presented the award to the Sherman brothers and commented that their song “Feed the Birds” (exquisitely sung by Sarah Rice -Broadway/Opera/Grammy singer) was Walt Disney’s favorite song.
Other award recipients include Samuel French Publishers (founded in 1830) – whose books and stores feature plays, musicals, translations, songs, etc. (award presented by Tappan Wilder, nephew of Thornton Wilder); and the Mint Theatre (Obie and Drama Desk Award winner),who present neglected but worthwhile plays from the past ( award presented by Actor George Morfogen).
Interspersed with the award presentations (mc’d by Master of Ceremonies Tony Bolton) – like spotlit cameos- were performances from the Sherman songbook by Broadway stars. Tony-Award winner Jim Dale sang a duet from Busker Alley
with sequined singing sensation Jessica Grove. There was a trio of trios: harmonizing children, an updated Andrews Sisters-esqe group called “United We Sing” and a glee-some threesome from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The songs were tuneful, hopeful, and innocent – family entertainment at its best – and a major part of what has revitalized Broadway.
As I was nibbling on my post-ceremony strawberry dipped in chocolate, sipping champagne, and gazing at those Players Club portraits of theatrical greats, I think about how lucky I am to be even a tiny part of a this “small world” of live theatre!
Susan (“Dr. Sue”) Horowitz, Ph.D.
Book: “Queens of Comedy”
(Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers,
Phyllis Diller, and more!) www.smashwords.com/books/view/219367
Musical: “SssWitch”: www.ssswitch.net