The award, established in 2009 in honor of "America's most influential contemporary musical theatre writer," will be presented at a black-tie benefit at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, DC. Signature is based in Arlington, VA.
Signature Theatre artistic director Eric Schaeffer said in a statement, "With her wonderful performances in Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Company, Passion and more [Patti LuPone] has had an amazing connection to Steve's words and music. It's wonderful to add her name to the distinguished honorees Angela Lansbury and Bernadette Peters. We look forward to saluting Patti and her extraordinary talents in April."
LuPone, a two-time Tony Award winner, has appeared in numerous Sondheim works, including Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd and most recently in Gypsy in 2008, for which she won a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama League Award for her portrayal of Rose. She returns to the Broadway stage this November in An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin.
Composer-lyricist Sondheim said in a statement, "There are few performers who can play both Mrs. Lovett and Fosca, Evita and Reno Sweeney, Nancy in Oliver! and Cora Hoover Hooper in Anyone Can Whistle, and still create roles for David Mamet. In fact, there's only one. Versatility of such a high caliber is rare indeed, and therefore it couldn’t be more appropriate that the recipient of this year's Signature Theatre Sondheim Award is going to the best tuba player on Broadway: Patti LuPone."
For her performance as Rose in the recent revival of Gypsy at the St. James Theatre, Patti LuPone won the Tony Award, the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama League's Distinguished Performance Award. A Tony Award winner for her work in Evita, LuPone also earned an Olivier Award for her performances in the West End productions of Les Misérables and The Cradle Will Rock. Her other theatrical credits include Company, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Sunset Boulevard, Anything Goes, Oliver!, Working, The Old Neighborhood, Master Class and Pal Joey. LuPone also headlined two solo Broadway concerts, Patti LuPone On Broadway and Matters of the Heart, and received raves for her performance as Mrs. Lovett in the Lincoln Center concert version of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and a Tony nomination for her performance in the recent revival of that Sondheim work. She was seen in the Kennedy Center's staging of Marc Blitzstein's Regina and joined Audra McDonald for Los Angeles Opera's production of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. She was also seen as Rose in a Ravinia Festival concert run of Gypsy. Her screen and recording credits are numerous. She is the author of the New York Times best-selling autobiography, "Patti LuPone: A Memoir."
In 2009, Signature Theatre inaugurated The Stephen Sondheim Award in recognition of the importance of Sondheim's work to Signature and to theatre in general. The not-for-profit Signature built its reputation on intimate revivals of the works of Sondheim.
For information about sponsorship opportunities for the 2012 Sondheim Award Gala and ticket information, contact Mari Chin, development coordinator at (571) 527-1828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Signature Theatre, visit www.signature-theatre.org.