By Josh Austin
Broadway director-producer Harold Prince, composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and dancer-actor Chita Rivera are the recipients of the 2013 Jerome Robbins Award, the Jerome Robbins Foundation announced Jan. 25.
“My colleagues and I could not think of three greater Broadway luminaries than Hal, Chita, and Stephen,” Christopher Pennington, executive director of the Jerome Robbins Foundation, said in a statement. “They were obvious choices for their astounding body of work, for their commitment to and passion for musical theatre, and for bringing their vitality and talent to the American stage for more than half a century.”
It’s fitting that Prince, Sondheim, and Rivera are sharing the honor, having all collaborated with Robbins for the original Broadway production of “West Side Story” in 1957.
“When these three artists came together in 1957 to join Jerome Robbins and the other creators of ‘West Side Story,’ their collective contributions changed musical theatre forever,” Jerome Robbins Foundation Directors Ellen Sorrin and Allen Greenberg said in a statement.
The trio will be honored Feb. 18 at an invitation-only ceremony hosted by Frank Rich at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in Manhattan.
The ceremony will be separated into three acts to highlight each artist’s work, separately honoring “West Side Story’s” producer, lyricist, and original Anita. Performances will feature selections from “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Show Boat,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Chicago,” and Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” and “Sunday in the Park with George,” including a special appearance by Bernadette Peters performing a Sondheim song. The ceremony’s finale will appropriately close with “America” from “West Side Story,” featuring Georgina Pazocogiuin and dancers from the New York City Ballet.
The Jerome Robbins Award was established by the Jerome Robbins Foundation to honor an astounding individual or institution in the arts, focused on but not limited to dance and theater. Previous recipients include Twyla Tharp, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and The New York City Ballet.