Founded in 1993, in honor of legendary designer Irene Sharaff, who designed numerous Broadway productions, including the original stagings of Lady in the Dark, West Side Story, The King and I, Juno, Sweet Charity, Funny Girl, Candide and Jerome Robbins' Broadway, the annual awards ceremony unites the best of Broadway's design community.
Among the 2008 recipients are John Conklin, who has created both costume and scenic design for the Broadway productions of The Au Pair Man, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Awake and Sing!, Rex and The Bacchae.
Tony Award winner Susan Hilferty will present the Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Lifetime Achievement to Conklin, whose career has included designs for the Metropolitan Opera, the Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, the Kennedy Center and the Goodman Theatre.
Robert Fletcher, who began his career in theatre as a performer prior to designing costumes for such productions as A Family Affair, Little Me, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Hadrian VII and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, will receive the TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award. Oscar-nominated costume designer April Ferry presents Fletcher with his award.
Xanadu's Kerry Butler, will be on hand to present Fabio Toblini (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Batboy with the TDF/Irene Sharaff Young Master Award; while the TDF/Irene Sharaff Artisan Award will be presented to beadwork design veteran Bessie Nelson, who has created beadwork for such productions as Sunset Boulevard, The Producers and Wicked. Nelson has also designed for such artists as Michael Jackson, Neil Diamond, Liberace, Lionel Richie and Diana Ross. Werner Kulowitz of Euro Co. Costumes will present to Nelson. The TDF/Irene Memorial Tribute Award honors late theatre, scenic and costume designer Tanya Moiseiwitsch. She is best known for her design of the Stratford Festival's thrust stage, which marked the first thrust to be constructed in the Western theatre since the time of Shakespeare. Moiseiwitsch designed for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre in England, the Old Vic, the Royal Opera at Convent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, the Abbey Theatre, and was represented on Broadway with designs for The Critic, The Matchmaker, The House of Atreus and The Misanthrope.
The honored artists were selected by the TDF/Costume Collection's Advisory Committee, which includes designers Gregg Barnes, Suzy Benzinger, Linda Fisher, Lana Fritz, Rodney Gordon, Desmond Heeley, Holly Hynes, Willa Kim, Carolyn Kostopoulous, Kitty Leech, Mimi Maxmen, David Murin, Sally Ann Parsons, Robert Perdziola, Carrie Robbins, Tony Walton, Patrick Wiley and David Zinn.