Susan Stroman better make room on her mantel for another award. The ultra-acclaimed director/choreographer will receive the 2001 "Mr. Abbott Award" from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, which rewards "an extraordinary body of work" in the theatrical field.
The award ceremony, which, according to Barlow-Hartman spokespersons, will include a "star-studded performance honoring Ms. Stroman," will be held at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, Oct. 8, 6-10 PM (EST).
Certainly, "Stro" has had two extraordinary years. The 1999-2000 season saw her win a Best Choreography Tony for Contact while also receiving plaudits for her work on a revival of The Music Man (both shows are still running on Broadway). She followed that up with 2001's mega-hit The Producers, netting her Tonys for direction and choreography. Her stamp as a choreographer was also left on such works as the Kander & Ebb musical Steel Pier, the annual Madison Square Garden Christmas Carol, the hit tuner Crazy For You and lavish Livent revival of Show Boat.
2001-02 looks no less busy for Stroman, who is prepping Thou Shalt Not with composer Harry Connick Jr. for a limited run this fall and will bring a lauded London revival of Oklahoma! to Broadway in late winter.
SDCF executive director Joe Miloscia said in a statement, "Whether she is creating a new piece or revisiting an older work, Susan is adept with a caliber of artistry rarely scene. As if that weren't enough, she is a woman of extraordinary class, creativity and generosity." Founded in 1985 to honor the late playwright and director George Abbott, the prize has previously gone to such notables as Trevor Nunn, Jerry Zaks, Gillian Lynne, Lloyd Richards Graciela Daniele, Vinnette Carroll and Mike Nichols. This year, a portion of the proceeds from the Oct. 8 ceremony will go to benefit the newly-created Mike Ockrent Fellowship, named after the London-born director and Stroman's late husband. The Fellowship allows a young director to work with an established musical-theatre director on a Broadway show, "from casting to opening night."
For information on the Mr. Abbott Award, contact the SDCF at (212) 302 5359, ext. 244.
— By David Lefkowitz