LaChanze And Lar Lubovitch To Be Honored At Boston Conservatory Commencement

Interim Executive Director Michael Shinn will present honorary doctorates during the Conservatory's commencement on Saturday, May 11.

By: Apr. 11, 2024
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Interim Executive Director Michael Shinn will present honorary doctorates during the Conservatory's commencement on Saturday, May 11.

Boston Conservatory at Berklee Interim Executive Director Michael Shinn will present an honorary doctorate to three-time Tony Award-winning actor and producer LaChanze and internationally renowned dancer and choreographer Lar Lubovitch at the Conservatory's commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11. 

LaChanze and Lubovitch will be recognized for their achievements and influences on stage, screen, and television. Past honorary degree recipients for Boston Conservatory at Berklee include Cynthia Erivo, Awadagin Pratt, Debbie Allen, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Chita Rivera, André De Shields, Betty Buckley, Billy Porter, Sutton Foster, Nicholas Paleologos, Victoria Livengood (M.M. '85, voice), Leontyne Price, and Brian Stokes Mitchell, among others.

“It is an absolute honor to welcome award-winning Broadway actor, singer, and producer LaChanze and award-winning choreographer Lar Lubovitch to Boston Conservatory at Berklee as part of this year's commencement festivities,” said Shinn. “LaChanze's illustrious career has garnered a multitude of theater, television, and film fans across the U.S., and Lar Lubovitch's celebrated performances have brought joy and inspiration to audiences around the world for decades.”

Boston Conservatory at Berklee will hold its commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11 at 4:00 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center.


With a career that has spanned 38 Broadway seasons, LaChanze consistently brings women of complexity and triumph into the cultural lexicon. As an actor, LaChanze won her first Tony Award for her performance as Celie in the musical The Color Purple. She originated the role of Ti Moune in Once on This Island, and upheld her commitment to artistic excellence as Wiletta in Alice Childress's historic play, Trouble in Mind, which led to her earning Tony Award nominations for both productions. Other notable stage performances include roles in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, A Christmas Carol, The Secret Life of Bees, If/Then, The Wiz, Ragtime, Uptown... It's Hot!, and Dreamgirls.

On screen, she has delivered memorable roles in both television and film including East New York, The Blacklist, The Help, HBO's The Night Of, Law & Order: SVU, The Good Fight, Sex and the City, and the Disney animated feature film Hercules, among other titles.

Now, in a new phase of her unparalleled career, the award-winning stage actor is transitioning from performer to producer in an effort to expand diversity behind Broadway's curtains. In 2023, LaChanze made her debut as a producer on two shows, the 20th anniversary revival of Suzan-Lori Parks's acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Topdog/Underdog, and the musical Kimberly Akimbo by Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire. Topdog/Underdog won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play and Kimberly Akimbo won five, including one for Best Musical. LaChanze also produced the groundbreaking musical Here Lies Love by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, and the play Jaja's African Hair Braiding, written by award-winning Ghanaian-American playwright Jocelyn Bioh and directed by Obie Award winner Whitney White

In the coming year, LaChanze will join the producing team of The Outsiders, a new musical based on S.E. Hinton's beloved novel, and she is also slated to make her New York City directorial debut with Alice Childress's Wine in the Wilderness at Classic Stage Company this fall.

LaChanze is the president of Black Theatre United, a community of creatives dedicated to awareness, accountability, and advocacy. 

Lar Lubovitch

Praised by the New York Times as “one of the ten best choreographers in the world,” Lar Lubovitch was born in Chicago and educated at the University of Iowa and the Juilliard School in New York. His teachers at Juilliard included renowned ballet masters Antony Tudor, who founded the London Ballet; José Limón, who developed what is now known as the Limón technique; Anna Sokolow, whose work is known for its social justice focus and theatricality; and Martha Graham, whose style, the Graham technique, reshaped American dance.  

Lubovitch danced in numerous modern, ballet, jazz, and ethnic dance companies before forming the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in New York City in 1968. Over the course of 56 years, the company has gained an international reputation as one of America's top dance companies and has been called a “national treasure” by Variety. Celebrated for both its choreographic excellence and its unsurpassed dancing, the company, under his direction, has created more than 120 dances, and has performed throughout the United States and in more than 40 foreign countries. His dances have been performed by American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, among other distinguished dance companies.

Lubovitch's work is renowned for its musicality, rhapsodic style, and sophisticated formal structures. His radiant, highly technical choreography and deeply humanistic voice have been praised around the globe. His Othello: A Dance in Three Acts (created for American Ballet Theatre in a three-way collaboration with the San Francisco Ballet and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company) was featured on PBS's Great Performances and earned an Emmy Award nomination. 

Lubovitch made his Broadway debut in 1987 with the musical staging for the Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical Into the Woods, for which he received a Tony Award nomination. In 1993 he choreographed the highly praised dance sequences for the Broadway show The Red Shoes. The final ballet from that show joined the repertories of American Ballet Theatre and the National Ballet of Canada, and he received the 1993–1994 Astaire Award from the Theater Development Fund for his work.

In addition to his work in theater, film, and television, Lubovitch has also made a significant contribution to the advancement of choreography in the field of ice-dancing. He has created concert dances for Olympic gold medalists John Curry, Peggy Fleming, and Dorothy Hamill and has choreographed a full-length ice-dancing version of The Sleeping Beauty, starring Olympic medalists Robin Cousins and Rosalynn Sumners. In 1987, he conceived Dancing for Life, which took place at Lincoln Center's New York State Theater (now known as the David H. Koch Theater). It was the first response by the dance community to the AIDS crisis, raising over $1 million.

Over his expansive career Lubovitch has been recognized as a master in his field. In 2011, the versatile choreographer was named a Ford Fellow by United States Artists and he received the Dance/USA Honors, the dance field's highest award. In 2012, he received the Prix Benois de la Danse for Choreography for his dance, Crisis Variations, at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Lubovitch was presented with the American Dance Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Juilliard School, and appointed a distinguished professor of dance at the University of California, Irvine, in 2013 and 2014, respectively. In 2015, he was named “one of America's irreplaceable dance treasures” by the Dance Heritage Coalition, and in 2016, he received the ADF Scripps Award for Lifetime Achievement and also the Dance Magazine Award. In 2018 Lubovitch was honored with the Martha Graham Award.


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