The award will be presented at a gala event at B.B. King on Monday, May 13, 2013, from 7 – 10pm, with four-time Tony Award-winning playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein, a frequent collaborator of Jerry Mitchell (and bookwriter of Kinky Boots), to emcee a tribute written by six-time Emmy Award winner Bruce Vilanch. Grammy Award-winner Cyndi Lauper, who wrote the music & lyrics for Kinky Boots, will introduce a number from Kinky Boots included in the tribute. Director Jack O’Brien will present Mr. Mitchell with the award.
Marc Bruni and Denis Jones will co-direct the evening’s tribute, with music direction by John McDaniel. Design consultants for the evening include David Rockwell (Scenic), Ken Posner (Lighting), Gregg Barnes (Costumes), David Patridge (Sound). Dori Berinstein is directing the evening’s video tributes to Mr. Mitchell. Nell Benjamin and Laurence O’Keefe, John McDaniel and Eric Kornfeld, and Marc Shaiman have all contributed original material to the tribute.
Cast members for the evening include Sara Andreas, Annaleigh Ashford, Romelda Teron Benjamin, April Berry, DB Bonds, Kerry Butler, Paul Canaan, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Jennifer Cody, Rachel deBenedet, Lea DeLaria, Andre DeShields, Sara Gettelfinger, Gaelen Gilliland, Jason Gillman, Annie Golden, Nina Goldman, Greg Graham, Becky Gulsvig, Andy Karl, Nick Kenkel, Nancy Lemenager, Matthew Morrison, Rusty Mowery, Noah Racey, Pamela Remler, Tory Ross, Angie Schworer, Sarrah Strimel, Clarke Thorell, Marissa Jaret Winokur, and Candice Woods.
The “Mr. Abbott” Award, bestowed through SDCF by a committee of Directors and Choreographers to one of their peers, is named in honor of renowned Director George Abbott and is presented to a director or choreographer in recognition of lifetime achievement. Past recipients of the award include Hal Prince, Bob Fosse, Mike Nichols, Agnes DeMille, Michael Bennett, Trevor Nunn, Susan Stroman, Graciela Daniele, and the 2011 recipient, George C. Wolfe. Mrs. Joy Abbott, George Abbott’s widow, will be in attendance.
Festivities for the evening will begin with cocktails and light dinner followed by tribute performance and dessert. Individual tickets are $250 and open to the public with limited availability. For more information on the evening, please visit www.sdcweb.org/foundation/the-mr-abbott-award/ or call 212.391.1070 x230.
Jerry Mitchell has had an outstanding crossover career working successfully as both a Choreographer and Director. He received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics’ Circle Awards for choreographing the 2005 Tony Award-winning Best Revival of La Cage aux Folles, and was nominated for the Tony as choreographer of Legally Blonde and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He is a current Tony Award nominee for his direction and choreography of this season’s smash hit Kinky Boots, a new musical with a book by Harvey Fierstein and a score by Cyndi Lauper. He’s also at work on The Honeymooners, a new musical based on the iconic Jackie Gleason television series. Jerry made his Broadway and West End debuts as Director of Legally Blonde, which received an Olivier Award for Best Musical. He has also served as choreographer and was nominated for both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his choreography, as well as the Drama Desk Award for his direction. He has received Olivier, Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle and Astaire Award nominations for choreographing Hairspray and Tony, Drama Desk and Astaire Award nominations for choreographing The Full Monty and Never Gonna Dance. On Broadway, Jerry choreographed the hit revivals of Gypsy, starring Bernadette Peters, The Rocky Horror Show (Drama Desk nomination) and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; as well as Hedwig and the Angry Inch, both on stage and film.
He has choreographed for films including Scent of a Women and for television working as staff Choreographer for The Rosie O'Donnell Show and was Emmy-nominated for his work on The Drew Carey Show.
Twenty years ago while dancing on Broadway in The Will Rogers Follies, Jerry conceived and created Broadway Bares, a comedy burlesque show performed annually for the charity, Broadway Cares. The fundraising efforts have brought more than ten million dollars to Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS. Jerry also proudly serves on the board of BC/EFA.
Founded in 1965, SDCF exists to foster, promote and develop the creativity and craft of stage directors and choreographers. SDCF’s goals are to provide opportunities to practice the crafts of directing and choreography; to gather and disseminate craft and career information; to promote the profession to emerging talent; to provide opportunities for exchange of knowledge among directors and choreographers; to increase the awareness of the value of directors’ and choreographers’ work, and to convene around issues affecting theatre artists.
Because the work can often feel isolating, and these career paths can feel inaccessible to emerging artists, SDCF events and programs are designed to offer access, opportunity and community to directors and choreographers at all levels of career.