Jack O'Brien, double Tony nominee in 2001 for The Full Monty and The Invention of Love, is the 2002 recipient of the Mr. Abbott Award. The citation, bestowed by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, was last awarded to Susan Stroman.
O'Brien has a chance to repeat his double nomination this year with Hairspray, nearly a shoo-in for a Producers-like Tony sweep, and the play with music, Imaginary Friends, set to transfer to Broadway in November. Friends is currently playing at the Globe Theatres, where O'Brien has been the artistic director since 1982. O'Brien's production of Abbott's Damn Yankees was Tony-nominated for Best Musical Revival in 1994. His Broadway credits include musical revivals of Porgy and Bess (Tony nomination) and The Most Happy Fella and the plays Two Shakespearean Actors (Tony nomination), Getting Away With Murder, The Little Foxes and More to Love.
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.
For information on the Mr. Abbott Award, contact the SDCF at (212) 302 5359, ext. 244 or visit the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation on the web at http://www.sdcfoundation.org.
— By Christine Ehren