Oklahoma! Leads the Pack of 2002 TDF/Astaire Award Nominees

By Andrew Gans
April 29, 2002

That "brand-new state," Oklahoma!, leads the pack of this year's TDF/Astaire Awards, which are presented annually for the "Best Dance on Broadway." The Trevor Nunn-Susan Stroman production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical received nominations in each of the three TDF/Astaire Award categories.

That "brand-new state," Oklahoma!, leads the pack of this year's TDF/Astaire Awards, which are presented annually for the "Best Dance on Broadway." The Trevor Nunn-Susan Stroman production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical received nominations in each of the three TDF/Astaire Award categories.

Theatre Development Fund, the administrator of the awards, announced the nominees in the categories of Best Choreographer, Best Female Dancer and Best Male Dancer on April 29. The nominees follow.

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER
Rob Ashford, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Susan Stroman, Oklahoma!
Christopher Wheeldon, Sweet Smell of Success

BEST FEMALE DANCER
Sutton Foster, Thoroughly Modern Millie
Josefina Gabrielle, Oklahoma!
Kate Levering, Thou Shalt Not

BEST MALE DANCER
Vernel Bagneris, One Mo' Time
Justin Bohon, Oklahoma!
Norbert Leo Butz, Thou Shalt Not

The awards will be presented on May 16 at the Hudson Theatre (145 W. 44th Street) in an evening hosted by former Chicago star and previous Astaire Award winner Bebe Neuwirth. Ann Reinking and Hinton Battle — both TDF/Astaire Award recipients — will also be on hand to present awards, and the evening, directed and choreographed by Bobby Bianca, will celebrate the education of the Broadway dancer and teachers of Broadway dance. The four dance teachers who will be honored are Frank Hatchett, Phil Black, Luigi and Madame Gabriela Taub-Darvash.

The TDF/Astaire Awards were established — with the cooperation of Fred Astaire, to honor him and his sister Adele — in 1982 to recognize outstanding achievement in dance on Broadway. Previous Astaire Award winners include Debbie Allen, Charles "Honi" Coles, Gregory Hines, Chita Rivera, George Balanchine, Michael Bennett, Savion Glover, Scott Wise, Lar Lubovich and dozens of others.

The 2002 TDF/Astaire Awards Committee comprises Douglas Watt, New York Daily News (emeritus) chairman; Clive Barnes, New York Post; Howard Kissel, New York Daily News; Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press; Donald McDonagh, Ballet Review; Richard Philp, Dance Magazine; Charles L. Reinhart, director of the American Dance Festival; and Linda Winer, Newsday. The committee chose nominees from this season's productions of By Jeeves, Into the Woods, Mamma Mia!, Oklahoma!, One Mo' Time, Sweet Smell of Success, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Thou Shalt Not and Urinetown.

Theatre Development Fund, which was created in 1968, is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is two-fold: "to identify and provide support, including financial assistance, to theatrical works of artistic merit and to encourage and enable diverse audiences to attend live theatre and dance in all their venues." For more information, go to www.tdf.org.