TDF Announces 2003 Irene Sharaff Award Winners

News   TDF Announces 2003 Irene Sharaff Award Winners
The 2003 Theatre Development Fund/Irene Sharaff Awards for Theatrical Costume Design were announced Feb. 5.
Jose Verona and his sketches for The Nutcracker and The Nile Revisted
Jose Verona and his sketches for The Nutcracker and The Nile Revisted

Selected by the TDF Costume Collection's Advisory Committee —Gregg Barnes, Suzy Benzinger, Alvin Colt, Lana Fritz, Rodney Gordon, Desmond Heeley, Constance Hoffman, Willa Kim, Gary Jones, Kitty Leech, Sally Ann Parsons, Robert Perdziola, Gregory Poplyk, Carrie Robbins, Ann Roth, Woody Shelp, Eduardo Sicangco, Scott Traugott and Patrick Wiley — the award winners include José Varona (Lifetime Achievement Award), Anita Yavich (Young Master Award) and Maria Brizzi/Grace Costumes (Artisan Award). The late Ruth Morley is also being honored with a posthumous award, which remembers those artists "who have pioneered the art of costume design, setting the standard for years to come."

In 1953 at the age of 22, José Varona made his professional debut with a flamenco spectacle for Carmen Amaya in Buenos Aires. He made his American debut in 1967 designing Julius Caesar for New York City Opera, and since that time he has designed for operas and ballets on four continents, including American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Berlin Opera Ballet, Zurich Opera Ballet, Hamburg Opera, Paris Opera and many others. Previous winners of this Lifetime Achievement Award include Theoni V. Aldredge (2002), Freddy Wittop (2001), Ann Roth (2000), Willa Kim (1999), Jane Greenwood (1998), Patricia Zipprodt (1997), Alvin Colt (1996), Miles White (1995) and Desmond Heeley (1994).

The Young Master Award winner, Anita Yavich, recently designed the costumes for Disney's Aladdin—A Musical Spectacular. Her work has also been seen in productions for the New York Shakespeare Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, Primary Stages, the McCarter Theatre Center, the Long Wharf Theatre, Center Stage, the Goodspeed Opera House, the Dallas Theatre Center, the Houston Grand Opera and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

The Artisan Award will be presented to Maria Brizzi, who with her sister Grace Micelli founded Grace Costumes in 1961. The company has created costumes for most every entertainment medium, including the original Broadway productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, She Loves Me, Lorelei, The Wiz and Beauty and the Beast.

The late Ruth Morley, who will be honored posthumously for her costume designs, created the costumes for 35 Broadway shows, including The Miracle Worker, Toys in the Attic, Wait Until Dark, Deathtrap, Death of a Salesman and Spoils of War. She won an Oscar nomination for her costume designs for "The Miracle Worker," and her other screen credits include "The Hustler," "Taxi Driver," "Annie Hall," "Kramer vs. Kramer," "Ghost" and "The Prince of Tides." Morley, who escaped Austria at age 13 as part of the Kindertransport program, died in Feb. 1991. Award namesake Irene Sharaff was revered for her costume designs for a multitude of Broadway productions. She won a Tony Award for her designs for the 1952 production of The King and I, and she also received nominations for her work on Candide, West Side Story, Flower Drum Song, The Girl Who Came to Supper, Sweet Charity and Hallelujah, Baby!

The TDF Costume Collection contains more than 85,000 costumes and accessories for rental at discounted cost by not-for-profit theatre companies, opera companies, universities, high schools or church groups. The Collection is located in a loft at 601 West 26th Street in New York City. Donations to the organization are tax-exempt to the degree allowed by law. For more information, visit

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