Each year at LDI, a distinguished committee of industry leaders presents the Wally Russell Award or "Wally" for outstanding lifetime achievement in entertainment technology. The award was established in 1992 in memory of industry pioneer Wally Russell, and this year the voting was open to the industry at large for the first time.
Winner Don Stern began his career in 1957 as an apprentice electrician at a small theatre in New Rochelle, NY. After working for Strand Lighting in New York City, he became a production electrician on the Broadway shows of David Merrick and other prominent producers. He also served as the business agent for IATSE Westchester Local #366. From 1976 to 1997, Stern and Bob Cannon headed BASH Theatrical Lighting, a sales and rental company serving the lighting community with innovation and insight. Its projects ranged from top Broadway shows, including Sunset Boulevard, City of Angels, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Six Degrees of Separation, Annie, and Crazy for You, to film, television, opera, ballet, and industrials. In 1997, BASH was purchased by Production Resource Group, where Stern serves as chairman of the Lighting Group.
This year's Wally Award will be presented at 10:30am on Sunday, November 21, as part of the annual LDI Awards ceremony in Orlando, FL, at the Orange County Convention Center.