Signature Theatre Honors Bernadette Peters at Spring Gala, 4/11

On April 11, 2011, Virginia's Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre will honor esteemed stage and screen actress Bernadette Peters with the company's second Stephen Sondheim Award. The award, established in 2009 in honor of America's most influential contemporary musical theater writer and composer, will be presented at a black-tie Gala Benefit at the Embassy of Italy. The 2011 Sondheim Award Gala is chaired by Ted and Mary Jo Shen; Honorary Hosts include Stephen Sondheim, Helen Henderson, His Excellency Gary Doer and Ms. Ginny Devine, The Honorable James Moran, His Excellency Giulio Terzi and Ms. Antonella Cinque, and The Honorable Jim Webb and Mrs. Webb. The Sondheim Award Gala will help to benefit Signature Theatre's numerous artistic, education, and community programs. Last year's recipient was stage, screen, and television icon Angela Lansbury.

To commemorate the evening and to help celebrate Ms. Peters' impressive body of work, special musical performances will be given by Broadway stars Stephen Buntrock (A Little Night Music, Beauty and the Beast) and Rebecca Luker (Mary Poppins, Show Boat, and The Phantom of the Opera), as well as Signature favorites Eleasha Gamble (Chess, Les Miserables, Into the Woods) and Euan Morton (Broadway's Sondheim on Sondheim and Taboo and Signature's Chess).

Stephen Sondheim stated, "This award is given for artistry and achievement, and it is a joy for me that Bernadette, who so deserves it, is the recipient."

To date, Platinum Level Sponsors are The Boeing Company, Bonnie and Kenneth Feld, and Ted and Mary Jo Shen. Gold Level Sponsors are A+ Government Solutions, Adrienne Arsht, BNA, Enrico and Andrea Cecchi, Mercedes and Giuseppe Cecchi, Chevy Chase Trust, Citi Private Bank, Susan Gage Caterers, Marty and Perry Granoff, Maxine Isaacs, Wes Pickard and Jeanette Studley, Robert H. Rosen and Jay Fissette, Kathleen and Douglass Ross, Susan C. Schwab, Victor Shargai, Patty and Jerry Sowalsky, Target, and J. Watkins and Bradley Frey.

Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer said, "The 2011 Stephen Sondheim Award Gala honoring Bernadette Peters promises to be an exciting and momentous evening in Washington. It will be wonderful to have so many ‘old friends' here to celebrate her artistry and toast her long association with Stephen Sondheim."

Most recently starring on Broadway in the acclaimed revival of Sondheim's A Little Night Music, Bernadette Peters has dazzled audiences and critics with her performances on stage, screen, recordings, and in concert for decades.

She has often been recognized for her work with Sondheim, receiving Tony® nominations for her performances in Sondheim's Sunday in the Park With George and Gypsy. Peters also earned a Drama Desk nomination for her portrayal of the Witch in the original Broadway production of Sondheim's Into the Woods. She will play the role of Sally in a Kennedy Center production of Sondheim's Follies, directed by Signature Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer, in May 2011.

In 1985, Peters received her first Tony Award® for her performance in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance. She earned her second Tony® in 1999 for her performance in Annie Get Your Gun. Peters also received Tony® nominations for The Goodbye Girl, Mack and Mabel, and On the Town.

Peters made her Broadway debut in 1967 in Johnny No-Trump, and in 1968 starred with Joel Grey in the musical George M!, earning a Theatre World Award. That same year, she received a Drama Desk Award for her performance in the Off-Broadway hit Dames at Sea.

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