Ron Raines, Heidi Blickenstaff and Pamela Myers Will Salute Jonathan Tunick at Signature's Sondheim Award Gala

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03 Apr 2014

Heidi Blickenstaff
Heidi Blickenstaff

The Signature Theatre will honor award-winning orchestrator Jonathan Tunick with the Stephen Sondheim Award at a black-tie gala benefit April 7.

The event, which will be held at the Embassy of Italy, will feature performances by Ron Raines (Follies, Show Boat), Heidi Blickenstaff ([title of show], Meet John Doe) and Pamela Myers (Company, Into the Woods) alongside an 18-piece orchestra.

The evening will also feature performances by Jean Cantrell, Austin Colby, Susan Derry, Erin Driscoll, Maria Egler, Bob McDonald, Donna Migliaccio, Angela Miller, Christopher Mueller, Nova Y. Payton, Paul Scanlan, Bobby Smith and Stephen Gregory Smith.

Tunick, the first orchestrator to win a Tony Award, is one of only 11 people to have also received an Academy Award, an Emmy Award and a Grammy Award.

Tunick has frequently collaborated with Sondheim, and some of his theatre credits include Follies, Pacific Overtures, Putting It Together and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. His film work includes "Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein," "A Little Night Music," "Endless Love," "Reds" and "Sweeney Todd."



"It's so fitting that Jonathan Tunick will be honored with the Sondheim Award," artistic director Eric Schaeffer said in a statement. "His collaboration on Sondheim's musicals over the years is legendary and groundbreaking. He is a passionate artist who loves every aspect of the musical theater, and it will be an honor to celebrate his artistry this spring."

The Stephen Sondheim Award was established in 2009 in honor of the award-winning theatre writer and composer. Previous recipients include Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone and Hal Prince.

"What makes Jonathan Tunick unique as a theater orchestrator is that he understands the theater as well as he does the orchestra," Sondheim said in a statement. "Orchestrators don't get the recognition they deserve. The Signature Theatre Sondheim Award will, I hope, serve as a means of amending this oversight."

Nick Blaemire, a Bethesda native who wrote the music and lyrics for Broadway's Glory Days, will be honored with the Stephen Sondheim Young Artist Citation, a special honor that was made part of the Stephen Sondheim Award in 2009 at the request of Sondheim to encourage exceptional young talent in the field of musical theatre. Blaemire’s musical A Little More Alive, directed by Sheryl Kaller, is currently being presented at The Kansas City Repertory Theatre. His musical Soon will receive its world premiere production in Signature’s ARK Theatre as part of Signature Theatre's upcoming 25th anniversary season.

To date, Signature has presented 23 Stephen Sondheim productions — more than any other theatre in the United States.

The April 2014 gala is sponsored by The Boeing Company.

For more information visit signature-theatre.org.