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Ahrens & Flaherty Honored Tonight at York's 23rd Hammerstein Award Gala

The York Theatre Company will honor Tony Award-winning collaborators Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty with the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre at the 23rd Oscar Hammerstein Award Gala to be held tonight, November 24, 2014 at Park Avenue's Racquet & Tennis Club (370 Park Avenue).

Reception begins at 6:00 p.m. followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. with award ceremony and entertainment beginning at 8:00 p.m. Benefit Committee Co-Chairs are Nina Korelitz Matza and Jim Kierstead. For additional information, pricing and reservations, visit the website at, or call 212-935-5824, ext 215.

Hosted by Liz Callaway (Miss Saigon, Baby), the evening's entertainment will be directed by Stafford Arima (York's Saturday Night), with music direction by Daniel Green (Rocky). Broadway veterans include Jason Danieley (The Full Monty), Quentin Earl Darrington (Ragtime), Ramin Karimloo (LES MISERABLES), Andy Karl (Rocky), Marin Mazzie (Ragtime), Kenita Miller (Ragtime), Margo Seibert (Rocky), Bobby Steggert (Ragtime), and The Broadway Dreams Foundation Choir. Special guests will include playwright Terrence McNally (It's Only a Play), lyricist Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof), and more (all subject to availability). The Production Stage Manager is Kimothy Cruse.

Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty are considered the foremost theatrical songwriting team of their generation. With a creative collaboration that has lasted 30 years, they are winners of Broadway's triple crown - Tony Award, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Award, as well as two Grammy nominations for their score of the hit Broadway musical Ragtime. They also received two Academy Award nominations and Golden Globe nominations for the songs and score of Twentieth Century Fox's animated feature film Anastasia (Gold Record and Number One Song). They are co-creators of the Broadway musical Once On This Island (eight Tony Award nominations; London's Olivier Award, Best Musical). Seussical, based on the works of Dr. Seuss (Grammy Award and Drama Desk nominations), is one of the most frequently performed shows in America. They have premiered four new musicals at Lincoln Center Theater: My Favorite Year, A Man of No Importance (Winner, 2003 Outer Critics Circle Award, Best Musical), Dessa Rose (Audelco Award, Best Musical, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations), and The Glorious Ones (five Drama Desk nominations including Best Musical). Additional theatre credits include Lucky Stiff (Helen Hayes Award, Best Musical), Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life, Ragtime 2009 Broadway Revival (six Tony nominations, seven Drama Desk nominations), and most recently on Broadway, Rocky (four Tony nominations, eight Drama Desk nominations). Rocky premiered in Hamburg, Germany in 2012, where it is now in its second year of performances. Little Dancer, an original musical with book and lyrics by Ahrens and music by Flaherty, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, is now in performances at the Kennedy Center.

The Oscar Hammerstein Award, named in honor of the prolific master lyricist, recognizes significant lifetime achievement in musical theatre. The award is presented at an annual gala which benefits The York Theatre Company, and is presented with the endorsement of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization and the Hammerstein Family. Past recipients include Stephen Sondheim, Betty Comden & Adolph Green, Harold Prince, Cy Coleman, Charles Strouse, Arthur Laurents, Jerry Herman, Stephen Schwartz, Peter Stone, David Merrick, John Kander & Fred Ebb, Terrence McNally, Cameron Mackintosh, Carol Channing, Tony Walton, Joseph Stein, George S. Irving, Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick, Thomas Meehan, Barbara Cook, and Paul Gemignani.

The York Theatre Company is the only theater in New York City-and one of very few in the world-dedicated to developing and fully producing new musicals and preserving neglected, notable shows from the past. For over four decades, York's intimate, imaginative style of producing both original and neglected classic musicals has resulted in critical acclaim and recognition from artists and audiences alike. Under the guidance of Producing Artistic Director James Morgan since 1997, the York has focused exclusively on new musicals in its Mainstage Series-most of them world, American, or New York premieres-by some of the field's most esteemed creators, and has also helped launch the careers of many talented new writers. Over 35 cast recordings from The York Theatre Company productions are now available on CD, and commercial transfers of such York premieres as The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), Souvenir, Jolson & Company, and its acclaimed revivals of Closer Than Ever (2013 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Revival), Sweeney Todd and Pacific Overtures have all showcased the importance of the York and its programs.

Photo by Linda Lenzi.

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