Susan Stroman had to wait nearly half a year before adding another award to her mantle, but March 3 the wait is over.
On Oct. 8, the ultra-acclaimed director/choreographer was to receive the 2001 "Mr. Abbott Award" from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF), which rewards "an extraordinary body of work" in the theatrical field. However, owing to the havoc caused by the Sept. 11 Arab terrorist attacks, not to mention Stroman being busy readying Thou Shalt Not for its opening, the award ceremony was postponed to the March 3 date.
According to an SDCF spokesperson, the evening, which includes a "star studded performance honoring Ms. Stroman," will still be held at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, 6-10 PM (EST). Numerous commercial producers are expected to attend, including LCT's Andre Bishop and Bernard Gersten, Harold Prince, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Michael David and Ed Strong and Elizabeth Williams & Anita Waxman.
Certainly, before she hit a bump with Thou Shalt Not, "Stro" has had two extraordinary years. The 1999-2000 season saw her win a Best Choreography Tony for Contact while also receiving plaudits for her work on a revival of The Music Man. She followed that up with 2001's mega-hit The Producers, netting her Tonys for direction and choreography. Her stamp as a choreographer was also left on such works as the Kander & Ebb musical Steel Pier, the annual Madison Square Garden Christmas Carol, the hit tuner Crazy For You and lavish Livent revival of Show Boat. This spring, Stro will bring a lauded London revival of Oklahoma! to the Gershwin heatre.
SDCF executive director Joe Miloscia said in a statement, "Whether she is creating a new piece or revisiting an older work, Susan is adept with a caliber of artistry rarely scene. As if that weren't enough, she is a woman of extraordinary class, creativity and generosity." 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. This year, a portion of the proceeds from the ceremony will go to benefit the newly-created Mike Ockrent Fellowship, named after the London-born director and Stroman's late husband. The Fellowship allows a young director to work with an established musical-theatre director on a Broadway show, "from casting to opening night."
For information on the Mr. Abbott Award, March 3, contact the SDCF at (212) 302 5359, ext. 244.
— By David Lefkowitz