The 2009 Sharaff Awards

TDF's (Theatre Development Fund) Costume Collection celebrated the 15th annual Irene Sharaff Awards in style tonight (Friday, March 27) at the Hudson Theatre in New York. The star-studded crowd included not only such stars of the costume world as award-winners William Ivey Long, Bob Crowley, and Clint Ramos, but also luminaries ranging from costume designer Willa Kim to actress Stockard Channing and Caroline Kennedy. William Ivey Long gave a lively acceptance speech—complete with an Irene Sharaff sketch he had purchased at Christie's and a large family "tree" he made with the names of everyone he has ever worked with in the costume world, theatre friends, etc—following a funny introduction by director Jerry Zaks. Director Jack O'Brien was also funny as presented the Robert L.B. Tobin Lifetime Achievement Award to Bob Crowley, speaking as one Irishman to another (of course only Crowley was born in Ireland, but they have collaborated on some great projects including The Coast Of Utopia). Bob does seem a little young for such a crowning glory and he said that now when he takes a shower he looks for his expiration date. But with the sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera, entitled Love Never Dies, we are all in for a treat as Bob recreates Coney Island in the early 20th century, from the eyes of, well, an Irishman. He noted that there is no event like the Sharaff Awards in London—that is a warm, friendly event in celebration of costume design—and he was going to go back and complain. But he'll be back, as he likes New York: "they keep giving me things," says, referring I assume to his five Tony Awards. William Ivey Long is also a five-time Tony winner, but they both seemed genuinely honored by the Sharaff Award. In honor of Irene Sharaff, the great costume designer for whom the awards are named, she was given a memorial tribute including a fantastic film presented by costume designer Suzy Benzinger—a former Sharaff young master winner—which showed the extradinary work Sharaff did for Broadway, ballet, and Hollywood.

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