- It's that time of the year when award ceremonies and gala dinners honoring achievement, commitment and philanthropy are popping up like mushrooms after a summer rain. Even though the venerable New York Times
has cited the problems facing major charities in finding folks to honor (read that cash cows who will donate big time and sell a lot of $25,000 tables), the time honored tradition goes on at least within the arts community and a few charities who really do appreciate the efforts and accomplishments of special folk. And thank heaven they continue to do so for all those good people who open their rolodexes, call their friends, influence foundations, roll up their sleeves and everything that concerned Hamptonites do with regularity.
In the coming weeks there are a number of award galas involving prominent East Enders. One such wonderful fete took place last week sponsored by Women in Need and honored Hamptonite Pamela Fiori
, editor-in-chief of Town & Country
, with the organization's highest honor, the Commit to Win Award. Women In Need, Inc. (WIN), was founded in 1983, and recognizes over 8,500 people, including 5,000 children, who are homeless and disadvantaged. "We strive to restore dignity, promote independence and provide stable housing to vulnerable families who face major obstacles that threaten to destroy their lives. When families find themselves without options, we provide them with housing, skills, knowledge, understanding and support." stated Pamela, who has been a driving force for the organization by hosting events and bringing needed visibility to their life-saving work.
Phyllis Newman will receive the first-ever Isabelle Stevenson Award.
At an elegant dinner at The Pierre Hotel, Tory Burch
presented Pamela with the award in front of a glittering array of fashionable New Yorkers and Hamptonites including Beth Ostrosky
, Fe Fendi
, Gillian Miniter
, Lynn Sherr
, Michael Clinton, Zani Gugelman
and Jack Rudin
and Steve Sadove
, CEO, Saks Fifth Avenue
and Bill McComb
, CEO, Liz Claiborne Inc., Abby
and Brendan Hoffman
, CEO, Lord & Taylor, Katherine Farley
and Jerry Speyer
, Isaac Mizrahi
, Francisco Costa
, Kelly Rowland
, Al Roker
, Rose Marie Bravo
, Josie Natori
, Gayle King
, Mark Badgley
and James Mischka
, Vera Wang
, Adam Lippes
, Simon Collins
, Dennis Basso
with Michael Cominotto
and Italo Zucchelli
Two more powerhouse Hamptonites - Jaqui Lividini
and Kayce Freed Jennings
- the dinner
co-chairs - pulled in this glittering assemblage of the area's leaders in fashion, media and retailing.
And what would spring be without all the theater awards - Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Obie, and others. Once again the nominations lists and special recognitions include a number of our neighbors. This week the Tony Awards nominees were announced, as well as several Special Tony Awards and honors that give the Broadway
community an opportunity to salute individuals and institutions who contribute to the theater in a variety of unique and different ways. Their work on stage and off has enriched the theater and the lives of those affected by their work. On this year's short list of "Specials" is the talented actress, writer and director Phyllis Newman
of East Hampton. The Tony Award winner will receive the first-ever Isabelle Stevenson Award, which recognizes an individual from the theater community for their humanitarian work.
Bebe Neuwirth to appear in "The Addams Family" musical.
In 1995, Newman founded The Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative of The Actor's Fund of America, and for the last 12 years she has raised more than $3.5 million, helping to serve 2,500 women in the entertainment industry. Also among this year's crop of nominees are several nominations for Quogue resident Arthur Laurents
, who was passed over in the director category for his revival of "West Side Story," but nominated for Best Revival of a Musical. Though with all the hoopla - and well deserved I might add - around Diane Paulus'
restaging of the quintessential 1960s rock musical "Hair," I don't think Laurents has a prayer.
The big news was the sweep of Sir Elton John's
electrifying "Billy Elliott" which racked up 15 nominations - a lttle record that matches the tsunami-like effect of East Hampton's Mel Brooks'
"The Producers" several years back. And we all know what happened to that. Expect "Billy Elliott" and its three amazingly talented and engaging young Billys to be dancing down Broadway come Tony night. This year the show spills out on the stage at New York City
's Radio City Music Hall. The three-hour ceremony will be broadcast live on the CBS
Television Network from 8 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Rumors are that Dolly Parton
. whose "9 to 5" only scored a few nods, might host the ceremonies. One can only hope!
"The Addams Family Musical" is scheduled to open on Broadway in April 2010, starring East Ender Nathan Lane
and Bebe Neuwirth
, and will be based on the iconic characters created by Westhampton's Charles Addams
Julie Taymor will tackle Shakespeare.
Utilizing all the zany and lovable Addams' characters, brilliant and spectacular sets and costumes, and other theatrical tricks, this production will be a larger than life, funnier than funny, evening of just the kind of theater magic we love to find on Broadway. Written for the stage by Marshall Brickman
and Rick Elice
of "Jersey Boys" fame, with music by Drama Desk winner Andrew Lippa
, this hilarious musical comedy has both humor and heart, an inspired and electric score, and a production and design concept by the critically acclaimed director/designer team of Julian Crouch
and Phelim McDermott
, who hail from London's "Improbable Theater."
The Roundabout Theatre Company celebrated the official opening of "The Philanthropist." After the show, star Matthew Broderick
partied with his celebrated wife, Sarah Jessica Parker
and confirmed they are expecting twin girls
via a surrogate this summer. Old Vic director and Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey
, Matthew's pal Nathan Lane
, Swoozie Kurtz
, Jerry Stiller
, Phillip Glass
, Martha Plimpton
and playwright Christopher Hampton
were among the crowd of first-nighters wishing the couple well.
, acclaimed for her imaginative direction of the long-running hit "The Lion King," is tackling Shakespeare
next, and has landed Helen Mirren
, Alan Cumming
, Alfred Molina
and Djimon Hounsou
(Kimora Lee Simmons'
boyfriend) to star in a role-reversed film version of "The Tempest." In Taymor's version the gender of Prospero has been switched to Prospera played by the incomparable Mirren. Going back to the 16th or 17th century, women practicing the magical arts of alchemy were often convicted of witchcraft. In Taymor's version, Prospera is usurped by her brother and sent off with her four-year-old daughter on a ship. She ends up on an island that she winds up controlling - then the fun begins.
Nathan Lane is also slated for "The Addams Family."
Beside the annual theater awards the next big thing is the annual CFDA Fashion Awards recognizing the absolute best in American fashion design slated for June 15. After seven years at the New York Public Library, this year the 2009 Awards move to Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall
. The awards ceremony will take place at the venue's theater space, followed by a dinner in the theater lobby. Swarovski, which feted the nominees with CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg
at a party at Rockefeller Center's Rooftop Gardens, is underwriting the awards.
Several special awards have already been announced which will certainly guarantee that a few key folks will show up. Marc Jacobs
will receive the International Award for his work at Louis Vuitton
, and Anna Sui
will be given the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award. Women's Wear Daily
editor-in-chief Edward Nardoza
will receive the Eugenia Sheppard Award, and Jim Moore
, creative director of GQ
magazine, is being honored with the Eleanor Lambert Award.
But the real draw will be First Lady Michelle Obama
whom the CFDA will honor for the mark she has made on the fashion industry with her style choices and penchant for young, up-and-coming talent, such as Jason Wu
and Thakoon Panichgul
, with this year's Board of Director's Special Tribute. When anyone can shine a light on American design it's good for the whole industry.
Sure to be waiting with bated breath that night are the stellar nominees. Marc Jacobs
, Narciso Rodriguez
and Rodarte's Kate
and Laura Mulleavy
who are the nominees for the 2009 Womenswear Designer of the Year award; On the men's side, the nominees are Calvin Klein
Collection's Italo Zucchelli
, Michael Bastian
and Scott Sternberg
for Band of Outsiders
. Jacobs, Vera Wang
and Proenza Schouler's Jack McCollough
and Lazaro Hernandez
will compete for the Accessory Designer of the Year award.
Nominees for the Swarovski Award for Womenswear which honor emerging talent are Thakoon Panichgul
, Alexander Wang
and Jason Wu
. For men's wear, they are Patrik Ervell
, Robert Geller
and Tim Hamilton
. The Swarovski Award for Accessory Design will be decided among Albertus Q. Swanepoel
, Alejandro Ingelmo
and Justin Giunta
for Subversive Jewelry.
Regardless who wins, rest assured, the CFDAs, the fashion industry's Oscars, are going to pull out all the glam ladies for the red carpet at Lincoln Center.