With such musicals as Blast!, Follies, The Full Monty, The Producers, Bells Are Ringing, A Class Act, 42nd Street, Seussical and Rocky Horror reaching Broadway this season, there's sure to be strong competition for the 2001 TDF Astaire Awards for excellence in dance. Founded in 1982, the awards — which select a choreographer, male dancer and female dancer for honors — will be held at a benefit lunch for Theatre Development Fund May 18 at the Hudson Theatre on West 44th St. TDF will announce the nominees May 2, according to spokesperson David LeShay.
Originally, the awards were to be announced May 1, but the last-minute opening-night date change for King Hedley II (because Brian Stokes Mitchell needed several days' mandatory vocal rest) forced the Astaire judges to juggle their schedules.
Scott Wise, who won an Astaire for his dancing in the Damn Yankees revival, will direct and choreograph the May 18 event.
For tickets and information on the 20th annual Astaire Awards, call (212) 221-0885, ext. 252.
* The winners of last year's Astaires were announced May 18 at a benefit luncheon for the Theatre Development Fund (TDF) at the Hudson Theatre. The three winners were Susan Stroman for Best Choreographer (Contact and The Music Man), Deborah Yates for Best Female Dancer (Contact) and Clyde Alves for Best Male Dancer (The Music Man).
Addressing the awards luncheon during her acceptance remarks, director and choreographer Susan Stroman, who has received numerous award nominations this season, called the Astaire Awards her "favorite event of them all."
Theatre Development Fund (TDF), is the largest non-profit performing arts service organization in the United States. TDF has been supporting plays of merit and building new audiences for theatre since 1968. TDF is world famous for its TKTS discount ticket centers in Times Square and Two World Trade Center.
-- By David Lefkowitz
and Murdoch McBride