The evening will include a performance of the national tour of Movin' Out, Azenberg's latest production. The producer's work spans four decades of Broadway theatre. His stage productions have earned a total of 134 Tony Award nominations and have won 40 Tony Awards. Azenberg's Broadway career began with James Goldman's The Lion in Winter in 1966 and continues today with Movin' Out, the national tour of which launched Jan. 27 in Detroit.
Azenberg has produced all of Neil Simon's plays since 1972, including The Good Doctor, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues and Lost in Yonkers. An educator, Azenberg has taught at Duke University for the past 18 years, and also taught at Yale and New York University. He is also a longtime general manager of productions and his early career included company managing shows.
"Manny Azenberg is an example of the type of professional for whom this award was created," said Linda Moore, dean of Wayne State University's College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, in a statement. "Not only has Mr. Azenberg made a tremendous impact on the theatre world, he also believes very strongly in the education of our next generation of theatre professionals, our rising stars."
The Apple Award is part of a visiting artist fund, the Sarah Applebaum Nederlander Award for Excellence in Theatre, established at Wayne State University by the Nederlander family. Named in honor of Sarah Applebaum Nederlander, the matriarch of the Nederlander family who was also known affectionately as Apple, the Apple Award is presented each year to a nationally renowned theatre professional who demonstrates excellence in their field. Carol Channing and Neil Simon are past recipients. The honorees conduct master classes for WSU's theatre department. The classes consist of a question-and-answer session with students. The recipient is later feted at a gala benefit at the Fisher Theatre, the flagship Nederlander house in Detroit.
Tickets to the Apple Award are $250 and can be purchased by calling WSU s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at (313) 577-5336. All proceeds benefit WSU's Department of Theatre.
The Nederlander empire began in Detroit with patriarch D.T. Nederlander, who first leased the now-gone Detroit Opera House and partnered with the Shuberts, around 1912. In the 1930s he operated the Shubert-Lafayette Theatre (also gone now) and the family empire grew over the decades to a multi-venue international organization.
In 1961, the Nederlanders opened the renovated Fisher Theatre, which has remained the flagship touring house of Detroit (though the family does book the Masonic Temple Theatre and has programmed works into a new opera house that is home to Michigan Opera Theatre).
Scion Harry Nederlander ran the unique commercial stock house, The Birmingham Theatre 1979-1995. Productions were created from the ground up, and cast and rehearsed in New York. The venue is now a movie house. Harry, the oldest son of D.T., died in 2002.