Thomas Meehan Will Get York's Oscar Hammerstein Award in Fall 2010; Barbara Cook Is 2011 Honoree

News   Thomas Meehan Will Get York's Oscar Hammerstein Award in Fall 2010; Barbara Cook Is 2011 Honoree The York Theatre Company, the Off-Broadway company committed solely to musical theatre, will present the 19th Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre to Tony Award-winning librettist Thomas Meehan. The award ceremony on Nov. 22 is a major annual benefit event for the troupe.

Thomas Meehan
Thomas Meehan Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Meehan's libretti include Annie, The Producers, Hairspray and more. The evening's performance will be directed by Tony winning director-lyricist-librettist Richard Maltby. The award will be presented by Alice Hammerstein Mathias, daughter of Oscar Hammerstein II.

The starry concert celebration honoring the legendary librettist will be held at The Racquet & Tennis Club (370 Park Avenue, between 52nd and 53rd Streets) and will feature performers and performances from his many Broadway musicals, which will be announced shortly.

Due to a scheduling conflict, Tony and Grammy Award winner Barbara Cook, who had been planned as this year's honoree, will receive the award in 2011.

Meehan won the 2003 Tony for co-writing the book for Hairspray, the 2001 Tony for co-writing the book of The Producers, and the 1977 Tony for the book of Annie, which was his first Broadway show. He has also written the books for Young Frankenstein, I Remember Mama (currently included in York's 2010 Musicals in Mufti series), Ain't Broadway Grand, Annie Warbucks, Bombay Dreams, Cry-Baby and Elf (opening on Broadway in November). He is an Emmy-winning television writer and a collaborator on screenplays, including Mel Brooks' Spaceballs, To Be or Not to Be and The Producers. He is a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild.

For more information, visit www.yorktheatre.org or call (212) 935-5824 ext. 15. *

The Oscar Hammerstein Award was created by York's founder, Janet Hayes Walker, and is named in honor of the legendary lyricist who helped shape the American musical theatre through his collaborations with a number of different composers and writers. The Oscar Hammerstein Award Gala is the major fundraising event of the York Theatre Company, and is presented with the endorsement of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization and the Hammerstein Family. Past recipients include Stephen Sondheim, Betty Comden & Adolph Green, Harold Prince, Cy Coleman, Charles Strouse, Arthur Laurents, Jerry Herman, Stephen Schwartz, Peter Stone, David Merrick, John Kander & Fred Ebb, Terrence McNally, Cameron Mackintosh, Carol Channing, Tony Walton, Joseph Stein, George S. Irving and Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick.

The York Theatre Company is the only theatre in New York City — and one of very few in the world — dedicated to developing and fully producing new musicals and preserving neglected, notable shows from the past. Over the past two seasons, York productions have been nominated for a combined 25 Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Awards (and its productions of Yank! A WWII Love Story and Enter Laughing, The Musical have both been announced for Broadway transfers).

For over four decades, York's "intimate, imaginative style of producing both original and neglected classic musicals has resulted in critical acclaim and recognition from artists and audiences alike." Under the guidance of artistic director James Morgan since 1997, the York has focused exclusively on new musicals in its Mainstage Series — most of them world, American, or New York premieres — by some of the field's most esteemed creators, and has also helped launch the careers of many talented new writers. Over 30 cast recordings from York Theatre Company productions are now available on CD, and commercial transfers of such York premieres as The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), Souvenir, Jolson & Company and its acclaimed revivals of Sweeney Todd and Pacific Overtures have all showcased the importance of the York and its programs.

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