The Theatre Museum Gala Honors Stagedoor Manor with Star Alumni Appearances, 4/23

By: Apr. 22, 2012
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Since 1976, young artists have flocked to Stagedoor Manor to pursue their dreams of performing. And on Monday, April 30, 2012, some of the Manor's best and brightest will pay tribute to their alma mater as it receives the prestigious Theatre Arts Education Award at the 2012 Theatre Museum Awards Gala Celebration.

Such familiar Broadway faces as Marni Raab, Jeff Blumenkranz, Noah Silverman, Katherine Doherty, Nick Christopher, Grace Eberle, Derek Speedy, Julia Murney, and Etai BenShlomo are among the Stagedoor Manor talents scheduled to perform at the legendary Players Club at 16 Gramercy Park South. See photos of some of this year's alumni participants below!

"When you consider the top training grounds for theatre, Stagedoor Manor has to be among the best, " says Theatre Museum president Helen Guditis. "The Theatre Museum is proud to be honoring an organization that has contributed so much to the performing arts."

Last year, Stagedoor Manor was host to young actors from 27 countries and 46 states.

Broadway director, producer, writer and lyricist Richard Maltby, whose credits include Ain't Misbehavin', Big, Miss Saigon, and Ring of Fire, presents the award.

Theatre Museum Award Gala director Lawrence Lesher is also no stranger to Stagedoor Manor, having helmed several productions there. Lesher has directed regionally from California to Florida to New York. His efforts have included The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Run for Your Wife, and Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Next up is a production of The 39 Steps. Joining Lesher is musical director Kimberly Grigsby. As a music director/conductor, she has worked on numerous Broadway productions including Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, Spring Awakening, The Light in the Piazza, and The Full Monty.

Heading the evening's festivities is sparkling song and dance man John Bolton. Bolton, whose recent stage appearances include the Broadway-bound A Christmas Story: the Musical, and the touring companies of The Music Man and Same Time, Next Year, is marking his third straight appearance as The Theatre Museum Award's Master of Ceremony. The versatile performer has frequently been seen on Broadway in such musicals as Curtains, Spamalot, Contact, Damn Yankees, and Titanic.

The Museum also honors Frederick O. Olsson with its distinguished Career Achievement Award. A stage veteran with a lifelong and multifaceted dedication to all things theatre, Olsson served as master carpenter for 38 shows at The Broadway Theatre, while also continuing his career as a singer and performer.

Longtime resident of Queens, New York, Olsson attended the Juilliard School of Music, and the Columbia University School of Engineering. He then spent his lengthy career combining his two passions. Olsson appeared in two Broadway shows, Arms and the Girl (1950), and Music in the Air (1951) while he simultaneously juggled his job as carpentry foreman on the construction of the United Nations Security Building. Soon after, he began overseeing the stage design for productions such as South Pacific, Mr. Wonderful, A Most Happy Fella, Gypsy and My Fair Lady. In 1964, Mr. Olsson joined The Shubert Organization, the largest theatrical firm in the world, where he excelled as Facilities Director, becoming Senior Consultant in 1992.

IATSE Local One president James J. Claffey, Jr. will present Olsson with his Career Achievement honor.

Don B. Wilmeth, Emeritus Professor of Theatre and of English at Brown University, will receive the 2012 Theatre History Preservation Award. A member of the University for 36 years, Professor Wilmeth has either written, co-authored or edited over forty books on theatre, He is co-editor of the award-winning three-volume Cambridge History of American Theatre and writer of George Frederick Cooke: Machiavel of the Stage (Hewitt Award). For a decade, the professor was series editor for Cambridge University Press' "Studies in American Theatre and Drama" and is currently editor of Palgrave Macmillan's "Studies in Theatre and Performance History." An ardent collector of theatre and entertainment ephemera and memorabilia, he has mounted three public exhibits drawn from his collection.

Professor Wilmeth will accept his award from Laurence Maslon, Associate Chair/Associate Arts Professor at the NYU Graduate School of Acting.

This year's Award for Distinguished Service to the Theatre goes to the Theatre Communications Group (TCG). For 50 years, this national organization has existed to strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit American theatre. TCG's constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 13,000 individuals nationwide. TCG is North America's largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 11 Pulitzer Prizes for Best Play on its booklist. TCG also publishes the award-winning AMERICAN THEATRE magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts.

Two time Pulitzer Prize finalist and distinguished playwright Tina Howe will present the award.

The Theatre Museum's 2012 Awards Gala kicks off at 6:00 pm with a cocktail reception and buffet dinner featuring a silent auction hosted by award-winning jewelry designer Judith Ripka. The Awards Presentation will begin at 7:30 pm, culminating in a sponsors' toast to the honorees at 8:30 pm.

Founded in 2003, The Theatre Museum is New York's first and only chartered, non-profit museum dedicated to the history of theatre. Currently a museum-at-large -- it presents exhibitions on a myriad of subjects in collaboration with other cultural institutions. The Museum's community outreach includes teaching children how to write, direct and stage live theatre, as well as the presentation of the Theatre Museum Awards for Excellence at its annual Gala. Its primary mission is to preserve, protect and perpetuate the legacy of theatre through innovative programming. The Theatre Museum grew out of the legacy of The Broadway Theatre Institute.The Museum's Board of Trustees includes five-time Tony Award-winning producer and owner and operator of the Palace Theater Stewart F. Lane (Chairman), Helen M. Guditis (President), James Heinze (Treasurer), Joseph Benincasa (Secretary), and William Walters (Trustee).

Honorees and presenters will be available for interviews in advance via phone and prior to the event on site.

Ticket opportunities are available through The Theatre Museum website, by calling the office (212 764-4112), or by emailing

For more information, visit See photos of some of this year's alumni participants below!