The Ziegfeld Club, which existed for many years as an organization for former Ziegfeld Follies performers, re-formed earlier this year as one of Broadway's first performing arts charities to benefit women. The award is named for the wife of impresario Florenz Ziegfeld, who carried on his work after his death in the 1930s. Burke, however, is perhaps best known as a performer who created the role of Glinda the Good Witch in the 1939 movie classic "The Wizard of Oz."
Asare, songwriter of Sympathy Jones and a PhD. candidate in Performance Studies at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, will receive the cash prize of $10,000 in a Nov. 2 ceremony at the New Amsterdam Theatre, home to the legendary Follies, 1913-1927.
Asare will also receive creative mentorship from Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori and producing mentorship from Tony Award-winning producer Daryl Roth. Honorable mentions for the Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award go to composer-lyricists Kathryn Hathaway, Katya Stanislavskaya and Dana Levenson.
The Nov. 2 event will open with an introduction by composer Michael John LaChiusa, followed by words from executive director Laurie Sanderson. A performance will include an original song by Asare performed by Kate Shindle, and the premiere of an original song "I Can Always Count on the Girls," created for the Ziegfeld Club by composer Nadav Wiesel, and performed by Tony winner Donna McKechnie. The evening will be directed by Shea Sullivan.
The last of the Ziegfeld performers—believed to be Doris Eaton Travis—died in 2010 at the age of 106. The revived Ziegfeld Club will also revive the tradition of the Ziegfeld Ball at a date to be announced in spring 2016 to commemorate the organization’s 80th jubilee.