33rd Annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards Review - Bravo to Dancers on Broadway and Film

The 33rd Annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards was held at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts – June 1, 2015 honoring Joel Grey and Harvey Weinstein - For the Passion of Dance. The Fred & Adele Astaire Awards were established in 1982 to recognize outstanding achievement in dance on Broadway and in film. These awards remain the gold standard in this field. Over the years, additional awards have been added, including the award for best choreography in film, the lifetime achievement award and a unique award determined annually for exceptional contribution to the field.

Two Time Drama Desk Award nominated actress and host for the evening – Christina Bianco

And introducing…………Christen Chenowith…. But not really….The incredibly, multi-talented, Christina Bianco, opened the night with voice and personality imitations of practically every woman who has hit the Broadway stage. Even though Christen Chenowith never did show, you gladly accepted Christina’s version of her and the audience was blessed with her talents throughout the entire production.  She could easily host every award show in town and bring the audience to their feet.

Harvey Weinstein accepting his award for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre and Film

The two honorees this year were Joel Grey, who received the Douglas Watt Lifetime achievement award and Harvey Weinstein, for outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre and Film. Among the presenters of the evening, were Richard Thomas, Bebe Neuwirth and Tovah Feldshuh.

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient - JOEL GREY 

To present the award to Mr. Grey was his daughter, Jennifer.  In many touching moments where Ms. Grey couldn’t hold back the tears, she gently and lovingly went through her dad’s years being in ‘the business’ and growing up being a child who was constantly amazed with the talent and commitment of her dad.  She stood by the sidelines as her dad accepted his award and thanked countless people, professional and otherwise who were integral people in his life throughout his entire career.  Although Cabaret comes to mind when we think of Joel Grey, he has been a man of many talents and continues to be loved by all who know him and have worked with him.

In a career that was launched in the early 1950’s, Joel Grey has created indelible stage roles each decade since. Grey made his theatrical debut at the age of 9 in the Cleveland Playhouse production of On Borrowed Time (and recently directed a production of the play for Two River Theater Company's 20th Anniversary Season). He made his Broadway debut exactly two decades later as a replacement in Neil Simon’s first comedy hit, Come Blow Your Horn (1961). Since then, his Broadway credits include the Stop the World I Want to Get Off, Half a Sixpence, Cabaret (Tony Award), George M! (Tony nomination), Goodtime Charley (Tony nomination), The Grand Tour (Tony nomination), Chicago (Drama Desk Award), Wicked and most recently, Roundabout Theatre Company’s Tony Award-winning revival of Anything Goes. Joel’s dramatic stage roles include Marco Polo Sings a Solo, Chekhov’s Platonov, the Roundabout Theatre production of Give Me Your Answer, Do! (Drama Desk nomination), New York City Opera’s Silverlake (directed by Hal Prince) and Larry Kramer’s seminal The Normal Heart at the Public Theatre, which he also co-directed with George C. Wolfe in its Broadway premiere (Drama Desk Award, Tony nomination). In 2012, Joel served as Master Teacher for the Ten Chimney’s Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program, which focused on the American Musical Theatre.

Joel Grey accepting his award while his daughter, Jennifer Grey lovingly looks on. Photo courtesy of Splash Magazine

Joel received the Academy Award, the Golden Globe and the British Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1972 film version of Cabaret (directed by Bob Fosse). He is one of only nine actors to have won both the Tony and Academy Award for the same role. Other film credits include Man on A Swing, Robert Altman’s Buffalo Bill and the Indians, the Seven Percent Solution, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Steven Soderbergh’s Kafka, Altman’s The Player, The Music of Chance, Michael Ritchie’s adaptation of The Fantasticks, Lars von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark and Clark Gregg’s Choke. Recent television appearances include "Brooklyn Bridge" (Emmy nomination), "OZ," "Law and Order: CI," "House," "Brothers & Sisters," "Private Practice,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Nurse Jackie” and "Warehouse 13." He was recently honored for his illustrious television career by The Paley Center for Media in both NYC and Los Angeles.

Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theatre and Film - HARVEY WEINSTEIN

I was pleasantly surprised to learn of the depth of commitment and professionalism Mr. Weinstein has contributed to dance.  Aside from turning the Broadway production of Chicago into a great film, he is proud of his recent production on Broadway of Finding Neverland.

Harvey Weinstein launched The Weinstein Company, a multi-media company, with his brother Bob on October 1st, 2005.   


This photo is (in the center) Patricia Watt – Producer & Director

Harvey Weinstein founded Miramax Films in 1979 with his brother Bob, naming the company after their parents, Miriam and Max. Under Harvey and Bob’s leadership, Miramax Films released some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful independent feature films, including sixteen Best Picture nominations over a span of sixteen years: THE AVIATOR, FINDING NEVERLAND, CHICAGO, GANGS OF NEW YORK, IN THE BEDROOM, CHOCOLAT, THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (LA VITA É BELLA), GOOD WILL HUNTING, THE ENGLISH PATIENT, IL POSTINO (THE  POSTMAN), PULP FICTION, THE PIANO, THE CRYING GAME, and MY LEFT FOOT, as well as a Best Picture nomination for THE HOURS, which was a co-production. The outstanding quality of Miramax's films under the Weinsteins’ leadership was represented in the company's success in the annual Academy Awards race.
During Harvey and Bob’s tenure at Miramax and The Weinstein Company, they have received 341 Oscar nominations and won 81 Academy Awards.

The Astaire dancers graced the stage throughout the show with dance, both interpretive and modern.

There were performances from on the 20th Century, On the Town and Finding Neverland

As you see the winners with an *, it is clear that nostalgia on Broadway were the big winners.  There were 2 ties in 2 categories for An American in Paris and On the Town


Richard Thomas Actor and Presenter

Best Female Dancer:
Annaleigh Ashford - You Can't Take it With You
* Leanne Cope - An American in Paris
Jill Paice - An American in Paris
Megan Fairchild - On the Town
Erin Davie - Sideshow
Emily Padgett - Sideshow
XiaoChuan Xie - The King and I
Melanie Moore - Finding Neverland

Best Male Dancer:
* Robert Fairchild - American in Paris (tie)
Clyde Alves - On the Town
*Tony Yazbeck - On the Town (tie)
Jay Armstrong Johnson - On the Town
Phillip Attmore - On the Twentieth Century
Rick Faugno - On the Twentieth Century
Drew King - On the Twentieth Century
Richard Riaz Yoder - On the Twentieth Century
Christian Borle - Something Rotten!
Alex Sharp - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Choreographer:
* Christopher Wheeldon - American in Paris (tie)
* Joshua Bergasse - On the Town (tie)
Christopher Gattelli - The King and I
Warren Carlyle - On the Twentieth Century
Casey Nicholaw - Something Rotten!
Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Steven Hoggett - The Last Ship
Mia Michaels - Finding Neverland

The fabulous Astaire Dancers

It was an exciting evening for all.  The love of dance permeated the entire theatre and standing ovations became the norm as the winners took the stage to accept their awards.  More information can be found at The Astaire Awards website



Photos:Ellen Eichelbaum



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