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Recent News: Harvey Weistein & Joey Grey Honorees @                   33rd Annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards 2015 !

SMI Entertainment / June 01 , 2015
NEW YORK (SMI-WIRE,06.01.15)On Monday June 1st, 2015, the 33rd Annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards, which recognizes outstanding achievement in dance on Broadway and in film each season, honored Broadway legend Joel Grey as well as film and theater producer Harvey Weinstein at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. The gala evening was hosted by Two-Time Drama Desk Award nominated actressChristina Bianco.Presented by Patricia Watt, the Producer of the Astaire Awards and The Douglas Watt Family Fund for the Performing Arts, as well as The Fred Astaire International Dance Studios, the event began with a VIP cocktail reception followed by the show and awards presentation. For the first time, the awards were live-streamed across the United States.

The ceremony began with a performance of “New York, New York” from the three-time Astaire Award nominated musical On The Town.  Proceeding, actress and impressionist Christina Bianco channeled Kristen Chenowith and Bernadette Peters in a rousing duet of sorts to “Shall We Dance.” She brought some of her other impersonations into the performance including Barbara Streisand, Julie Andrews, Liza Minelli, Sutton Foster and Patti Lupone. Following that performance, Astaire Awards Executive Producer Patricia Watt and Director Joe Lanteri took the stage to welcome the crowd to the awards ceremony.

The foundation works with children, usually on the autism spectrum, to help develop social skills and communication through dance. “For children who are nonverbal, it’s important to learn to communicate through their bodies” said Patricia Watts on the stage.

Finding Neverland choreographer and Astaire Awards nominee Mia Michaels presented the award to Weinstein. “Not only was he the father of Finding Neverland,” she said, “he was my teacher and my bad ass big brother.”

Harvey Weinstein opened up his speech by stating, “I am not leader of Finding Neverland, that’s Diane Paulus. I’m just the bad ass big brother.”

Host Christina Bianco then took to the stage to introduce a performance of “Life Is Like A Train” from On The Twentieth Century with the show’s porters Philip Attmore, Rick Faugno, Drew King and Richard Riaz Yoder. At the conclusion of the performance, the men were surprised with an Astaire Award for Outstanding Dance Ensemble. 

When accepting his award, Joel Grey opened by saying, “I’m reminded that I’ve always been in love with dance and always will.”His path to dance was a rough one, he said sharing stories of his childhood dance teacher yelling at him for having a tough time breaking into dance. His first paid performance was in a Jones Beach Dance show called Mardi Gras. After nearly giving up, Hal Prince gave him a call for a show he thought he’d be good for, which was Cabaret. To conclude, he thanked a litany of top Broadway choreographers for helping him with his career including Kathleen Marshall and Bob Fosse. “My life was in their hands and they gave it to me,” he said.

Charlotte d’Amboise then presented the Astaire Award for Outstanding Male Dancer, which was a tie for Robert Fairchild (An American In Paris) and Tony Yazbeck (On The Town). In Fairchild’s speech, he thanked the dance partners he’s had throughout his life including his sister fellow Astaire Award nominee Megan Fairchild. Yazbeck shared in his acceptance speech that he got his start in dance watching Fred Astaire on TV in black and white at age 4. “My parents saw my enthusiasm and signed me up for tap dancing lessons,” he said.

Lee Roy Reams and Scott Wise presented the Astaire Award for Outstanding Female Dancer to Leanne Cope (An American In Paris). She shared that she first fell in love with dance by watching presenter Jennifer Grey in her movie Dirty Dancing. 

Kathleen Marshall and Patricia Wilcox presented the award for Outstanding Choreography on Broadway to Joshua Bergasse(On The Town) and Christopher Wheeldon (An American In Paris). Bergasse shared that he started dancing when he was a 3-year-old in his mother’s basement and dedicated the award to her.

The nominees for Best Female Dancer were: 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). 

The nominees for Best Male Dancer were: Robert Fairchild (An American In Paris); Clyde Alves (On The Town); Tony Yazbeck (On The Town); Tony Danza (Honeymoon in Vegas); Jay Armstrong Johnson (On The Town); Philip 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).


The nominees for Best Choreographer were: Christopher Wheeldon (An American In Paris); Joshua Bergasse (On The Town); 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 nominees for Best Choreography in a Feature Film were: Longinus Fernandes (The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel);Aakomon Jones (Get On Up); Aakomon Jones (Pitch Perfect 2); Akram Khan (Desert Dancer); Alphonse Poulin (Match); Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys); Travis Wall (The Wedding Ringer).


The Nominating Committee Chair is Wendy Federman, and Nominee Committee includes Nikki Atkins, Don Correia, Sandy Duncan, Wendy Federman, Jonathan Herzog-Sheffield, Judith Jamison, Anna Kisselgoff, Pia Lindstrom, Donna McKechnie, Bruce Michael, Mary McColl, Michael Milton, Andy Sandberg, Mary Beth O’Connor. The Awarding Committee is made up of Sylviane Gold (Chair), along with Judith Jamison, Anna Kisselgoff, Donna McKechnie, Bruce Michael, Wendy Perron, Lee Roy Reams.


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