By Andrew Gans
and Thomas Peter
24 Jan 2011
The 2010 Theater Hall of Fame inductees include actors Brian Dennehy, Linda Lavin and Fritz Weaver; director Michael Blakemore; playwright Caryl Churchill; conductor/music director Paul Gemignani; director-librettist James Lapine; and, posthumously, director-playwright Joseph Chaikin.
Presenters for the annual event include Hal Prince, Barbara Cook, Roger Berlind, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Robert Falls, Alexander Gemignani, James Houghton and James Nicola.
Terry Hodge Taylor produces.
Last year's inductees included actors Jim Dale, John McMartin and the late Lynn Redgrave; producers Roger Berlind and Ted Mann; composers Stephen Schwartz and Andrew Lloyd Webber; and the late playwright/actor Charles Ludlam.
Michael Blakemore holds the distinction of winning two Tony Awards for direction in the same season. He won the awards in 2000 for his work on Michael Frayn's Copenhagen and the revival of Cole Porter's classic musical Kiss Me, Kate. An Australian native who often works in London, Blakemore's work has also been seen on Broadway in Blithe Spirit, Is He Dead?, Deuce, The Life, Lettice and Lovage, City of Angels, Benefactors, Noises Off, Players and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.
The late director-playwright-actor Joseph Chaikin founded the experimental Open Theatre in the 1960s. His innovative productions included The Serpent, Viet Rock, The Mutation Show (Drama Desk Award for direction), The Dybbuk and Samuel Beckett's Endgame.
British playwright Caryl Churchill won three Obie Awards, for Serious Money, Top Girls and Cloud Nine. She also earned an Obie for Sustained Achievement in 2001. Her other plays include Drunk Enough To Say I Love You?, A Number, The Skriker, Crimes, A Light Shining in Buckinghamshire and Downstairs.
The winner of two Tony Awards for his performances as James Tyrone in Long Day's Journey Into Night and Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, Brian Dennehy has also appeared on Broadway in Desire Under the Elms, Inherit the Wind and Translations.
Conductor/music director Paul Gemignani is most associated with the work of Stephen Sondheim, serving as replacement music director on the original productions of Follies and A Little Night Music and holding that position solely for Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Assassins and Passion. His many other credits include On the Twentieth Century, Evita, The Rink, Crazy for You and recent revivals of 110 in the Shade and Pal Joey. He holds a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Director/librettist James Lapine is also known for his collaboration with Sondheim, writing the books and directing the original productions of Sunday in the Park with George (Pulitzer Prize winner), Into the Woods (Tony Award for book; he also directed the revival) and Passion (Tony for book). He also has written the books and directed William Finn's Falsettos (Tony for the book) and A New Brain, and directed Finn's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Linda Lavin won Tony and Drama Desk awards for Broadway Bound, Drama Desk awards for The New Century and Little Murders, and a Theatre World Award for Wet Paint. She has also appeared on Broadway in Collected Stories, Hollywood Arms, The Tale of The Allergist's Wife, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Sisters Rosensweig, Gypsy, Story Theatre, Last of the Red-Hot Lovers, Something Different, "It's a Bird…It's a Plane…It's Superman and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, and Off-Broadway in Other Desert Cities, Death Defying Acts and The Mad Show.
Fritz Weaver, a Tony Award winner for his performance in Child's Play and a Theatre World Award winner for The Chalk Garden, has also appeared on Broadway in Ring Round the Moon, The Crucible, The Price, Absurd Person Singular, Baker Street, All American, A Shot in the Dark, Henry IV Part I and II, Peer Gynt, The Great God Brown and The Power and the Glory.