On January 29, several theatre notables will be on hand at Broadway's Gershwin Theatre to present awards to this year's inductees to the Theatre Hall of Fame. Posthumous inductions will be facilitated through the use of a single representative, typically a colleague with a professional connection to the inductee. This representative will speak about the recipient and then accept the induction award on their behalf.
This year's inductees are:
Liza Minnelli (Flora the Red Menace, The Act, The Rink, Chicago, Minnelli on Minnelli) will receive her award from lyricist Fred Ebb.
Mary Alice (Strong Breed, No Place to Be Somebody, Fences, Shadow Box, Having Our Say) is expected to receive her award from director Lloyd Richards, pending final arrangements.
June Havoc (actor in Pal Joey, Old Lady's Guide, Unexpected Evening and playwright for Marathon 33, Love Regatta, I Said the Fly) will receive her award from The New York Times columnist and author Frank Rich.
Nancy Marchand (posthumously; Miss Isobel, Mornings at Seven, The Cocktail Hour, Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, Forty Carats, After the Rain) will be represented by director Merlin Bernhardt.
Playwright: Athol Fugard (The Blood Knot, Boesman and Lena, Lesson from Aloes, Road to Mecca, My Children My Africa!, Master Harold and the Boys) is expected to receive his award from Susan Hilfarty, chair of the NYU School of Design, pending final arrangements.
Robert Fryer (posthumously; Wonderful Town, Redhead, Noises Off, Benefactors, Chicago, On the 20th Century, Sweet Charity, Mame) will be represented by producer Marty Richards.
Jon Jory (regional theatre pioneer, producing director (1969-2000) at Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Humana Festival of New American Plays) will receive his award from actress Anne Pitoniak.
Otis Guernsey (theatre critic, Herald Tribune, editor of “Best Plays” since 1964, and described by the late Garson Kanin as “the Boswell of American Theatre.”) will receive his award from ATCA chair Jeffrey Eric Jenkins.
As reported earlier, inductees to the Theatre Hall of Fame, now in its 30th year, are nominated and to be eligible they must have “25 years on Broadway or in American Theatre and five major credits.” The Theatre Hall of Fame was founded in 1971 by Earl Blackwell, James M. Nederlander and Arnold Weissberger.
In a Nov. 1 story, Playbill On-Line outlined the inductees for the Theatre Hall of Fall inductions in January. There has been one change since that time; actor Al Pacino contacted Hall of Fame organizer Terry Hodge Taylor and asked that his induction be postponed, in part because he plans to do more theatre work in the future.
Through his spokesperson, Pacino told Taylor that while he “honors the Hall of Fame” and appreciates the recognition “he believes it is premature and asks that you postpone it because he feels he has not been active enough in theatre recently to warrant induction.” Pacino is also scheduled to be in California early next year, when he will receive the Cecil B. De Mille award at the Golden Globes.
While the Hall of Fame has deferred Pacino’s induction at his request, Playbill On-Line has learned that the actor was a clear front-runner in the vote, which is conducted among members of the American Theatre Critics Association, the living members of the Theatre Hall of Fame and a select number of theatre writers in New York City.
Actress and event co-chair Marian Seldes (The Play About the Baby) will be the emcee for the evening. The inductions will take place in the lobby rotunda at the Gershwin Theatre. Dinner follows at Sardi’s, which is being opened by the restaurant's management (on a normally closed Monday evening) for the invitation-only event.
— By Murdoch McBride