Ever notice the big walls of names in gold letters all over Broadway's Gershwin Theatre? Those are the inductees to the Theatre Hall of Fame, now in its 27th year.
The 1997 honorees will be feted at a ceremony, Feb. 2, 1998 (moved from the previously announced Jan. 26, 1998), set for 6:30 PM at the Gershwin. 350 ballots of over 100 nominees went out to members of the American Theatre Critics Association and the Theatre Hall Of Fame. The list, returned to the Board of Directors by Oct. 1, included actors/actresses, choreographers; composers/lyricists; directors, designers, playwrights/composers, conductors/musical directors and producers.
Chosen this year are:
Lauren Bacall - star of Applause and Woman Of The Year.
Eric Bentley - Brecht translator and critic for "The New Republic."
Philip Bosco - star of Lend Me A Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo. Ming Cho Lee - set designer of K2 and Billy.
Tony Randall - star of the current Broadway Sunshine Boys and founder of the National Actors Theatre.
Donald Saddler - choreographer of On Your Toes and No, No, Nanette..
Also, Otis Guernsey, editor of the annual Best Plays volume, will be honored with a Founders Award for Outstanding Contribution To The Theatre.
Inductees to the Hall must have at least 25 years of theatre experience and five major credits. Their names will be engraved in one of two halls at the Gershwin Theatre.
The widow of director/author George Abbott serves as Chairman of the Board; Terry Hodge Taylor is executive producer. Founded in 1971, the Theatre Hall Of Fame honors "outstanding contribution to the Broadway theatre."
Last year's inductees included Julie Andrews, Brian Timon of Athens) Bedford, Nancy (On the Town) Walker, Earle (The Lady From Dubuque) Hyman, Eileen (Indiscretions) Atkins; designers Florence (Show Boat) Klotz and Irene (West Side Story) Sharaff; and the late critic Richard L. Coe of the Washington Post.
For tickets and information on the Hall Of Fame ceremony call (212) 307-1226.
-- By David Lefkowitz