Brynn O'Malley, Debra Monk & Claybourne Elder Will Honor James Lapine at Signature Theatre's Sondheim Award Gala

On April 20, 2015, Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Debra Monk will join Brynn O'Malley, Claybourne Elder and Donna Migliaccio to honor renowned Stephen Sondheim collaborator James Lapine (Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Passion).

Lapine will receive Signature's sixth Stephen Sondheim Award, to be presented on April 20, 2015 at a black-tie Gala Benefit at the Embassy of Italy. The award, established in 2009 in honor of America's most influential musical theater writer and composer, benefits Signature's artistic, education and community programs. This spring's Gala is sponsored by Helen Henderson.

"With the opening of Sunday in the Park with George in our 25th Anniversary season and the upcoming film of Into the Woods, it is more than fitting that we honor James Lapine with this year's Stephen Sondheim Award," says Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. "Their collaborations have brought us legendary shows and it will be a thrill to toast James in April at the Embassy of Italy."

"James has been my good friend and collaborator over the course of thirty-two years, and it's about time I thanked him ostentatiously," says Stephen Sondheim. "Signature Theatre has given me the opportunity, and I'm grabbing it."

"I am thrilled to receive the Sondheim Award from the wonderful Signature Theatre," says James Lapine. "I have already received the invaluable gift of over twenty-five years of collaboration and friendship with Steve. Now I get to have his award, too! I am most grateful."

Debra Monk (The Bridges of Madison County, The Devil's Advocate, Broadway's Curtains) worked with Lapine on Broadway's Act One and Vineyard Playhouse's Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing and Brynn O'Malley (Broadway's Honeymoon in Vegas) was Grace Farrell in Lapine's Broadway revival of Annie in 2012. O'Malley also starred in Signature Theatre's recent production of Sunday in the Park with George alongside Donna Migliaccio (Broadway's Ragtime) and Claybourne Elder (Broadway's Bonnie and Clyde). The evening will also feature performances by Christopher Bloch, Austin Colby, Erin Driscoll, Susan Derry, Emily Dey, William Diggle, Maria Egler, Jimmy Mavrikes, Bob McDonald, Amy McWilliams, Angela Miller, Christopher Mueller, Gannon O'Brien, Paul Scanlan, Stephanie Waters, and Bayla Whitten.

Signature is thrilled to welcome Helen Henderson, Executive Director of the HRH Foundation and member of the Signature Council, as the sponsor and Gala chair for the evening. "I'm honored to serve as Gala Chair for this year's Sondheim Award Gala and excited to celebrate the career of one of Mr. Sondheim's closest collaborators, James Lapine," said Helen Henderson. "From Sunday in the Park with George to Into the Woods, Mr. Lapine's work has had a profound impact on the American theatre. I hope Mr. Lapine will enjoy a well-deserved and wonderful evening in his honor."

"Signature Theatre is a great institution in Washington and the United States," stated Ambassador of Italy to the U.S. Claudio Bisogniero. "The Sondheim Award honors not only a true master, but also American theatrical and musical traditions. We are pleased to once again host this event and great names of modern and contemporary musical theater at the Italian Embassy, including the recipient of this year's award, James Lapine. From Broadway, to off-Broadway and even Hollywood, Lapine's talent has inspired generations."

Darius Smith, a Washington DC based composer (Marcus Nate is Alive and Great in Detroit, U.G.L.Y.) and musical director (Signature's Soon) will be honored with the Stephen Sondheim Young Artist Citation. This special honor was made part of The Stephen Sondheim Award in 2009 at the request of Sondheim to encourage exceptional young talent in the field of musical theater. Smith's music was featured in Signature's Sizzlin' Summer Cabaret Series presentation of Songs in the Key of Chocolate in 2014.

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