Powell won the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Walton was the recipient of a new prize, the Robert L. B. Tobin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatrical Design. The honor was named for philanthropist Robert L.B. Tobin. The annual winner "will be an artist whose mastery of his or her craft as exemplified through his or her body of work, in one or more disciplines of theatrical design (costume, settings, lighting, sound), has become an inspiration to all designers."
Walton's name has been ubiquitous in set and costume design for the last three decades, his work in constant display on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in regional houses. Shows for which he did both scenic and costume design include Little Me (1982), Anything Goes (1987), Jerome Robbins' Broadway and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1996). Walton's heyday was arguably the late '80s and early '90s, when he designed such landmark productions as Six Degrees of Separation, Grand Hotel, The Will Rogers Follies, Guys and Dolls and The House of Blue Leaves.
Powell has received three Tony Award nominations and a Tony win for his costume designs for Sir John Gielgud's School for Scandal. On Broadway he also designed costumes for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Sunset Boulevard, Lettice and Lovage and Private Lives.
Other Sharaff honorees includes Mirena Rada, winner of the Young Master Award; Nino Novellino, who received the Artisan Award; and Lemuel Ayers, who was given a posthumous award. Ayers, who was the original set and costume designer of such Broadway classics as Kismet, The Pajama Game and Kiss Me, Kate, died at age 40 in 1955.
The awards will be presented on March 26. Award namesake Irene Sharaff was revered for her costume designs for a multitude of Broadway productions. She won a Tony Award for her designs for the 1952 production of The King and I, and she also received nominations for her work on Candide, West Side Story, Flower Drum Song, The Girl Who Came to Supper, Sweet Charity and Hallelujah, Baby!