This is the first time in the awards' 22-year history that one show received the awards in each of the categories: Best Choreographer (Twyla Tharp), Best Female Dancer (Elizabeth Parkinson) and Best Male Dancer (John Selya).
The TDF/Astaire Awards 2003 presentations were made by former TDF/Astaire awardees, Graciela Daniele (to John Selya), Scott Wise (to Elizabeth Parkinson, who is also his wife) and Susan Stroman (to Twyla Tharp).
At the beginning of the ceremony, Broadway star Chita Rivera, currently starring in the hit Broadway production of Nine, received a Lifetime Achievement Award. She received a TDF/Astaire Award in 1993 for her performance in The Kiss of the Spider Woman. This is only the fourth time that a Lifetime Achievement Award has been given by the TDF/Astaire Awards. The previous "Lifetime Achievement Awards" were given to Jerome Robbins in 1985, Hanya Holm in 1987 and Donald Saddler in 2001.
The Astaire Awards are authorized under a special agreement between Mrs. Fred Astaire and Theatre Development Fund. The nominees for the TDF/Astaire Awards 2003 were chosen from this season's Broadway productions of A Year With Frog and Toad, Dance of the Vampires, Flower Drum Song, Gypsy, Hairspray, Imaginary Friends, Man of La Mancha, The Look of Love, Movin' Out, Nine and Urban Cowboy.
Also nominated in the category of Best Choreographer were Robert Longbottom (Flower Drum Song) and Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray). The other nominees in the performance categories were Ashley Tuttle (Movin' Out) and Marissa Jaret Winokur (Hairspray) in the Best Female Dancer category, and David Burtka (Gypsy) and Keith Roberts (Movin' Out) in the Best Male Dancer category.
The TDF/Astaire Awards committee includes Douglas Watt, New York Daily News (emeritus), chairman; Clive Barnes, New York Post; Howard Kissel, New York Daily News; Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press; Donald McDonagh, Dance Perspectives Foundation; Richard Philp, Dance Magazine; Charles L. Reinhart, director of the American Dance Festival; and Linda Winer, Newsday.
The Astaire Awards were established in 1982 by the Anglo American Contemporary Dance Foundation and administered by Theatre Development Fund since 1991. They recognize outstanding achievement in dance on Broadway each season on the part of a dancer or dancers and choreographer. The awards were established with the cooperation of Fred Astaire, to honor him and his sister, Adele, who starred with her brother in 10 Broadway musicals between 1917 and 1931. The musicals were: Over the Top (1917), The Passing Show of 1918, Apple Blossoms (1919), Love Letter (1921), For Goodness Sake (1922), The Bunch & Judy (1922), Lady Be Good (1924), Funny Face (1927), Smiles (1930) and The Band Wagon (1931). Before going to Hollywood, Fred Astaire starred on Broadway (without sister Adele) in one more show, The Gay Divorcee (1932).
For more information about TDF, visit http://www.tdf.org.