Sheldon Harnick to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award March 14

Guild Hall of East Hampton, the premier cultural institution of its kind in the area, has announced the honorees for its 20th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards Gala to be held on Monday, March 14, 2005 at the Rainbow Room, New York City. The distinguished honorees for the year 2004, selected by the 200 member Guild Hall Academy of the Arts, are composer/lyricist Sheldon Harnick for Performing Arts, novelist Louis Begley for Literary Arts, photographer/artist Cindy Sherman for Visual Arts and real estate developer and philanthropist Marshall Rose for Lifelong Patron of the Arts.

The gala will not only pay tribute to this year's honorees but also to the over 60 artists who have been singled out over the past 19 years for sustained excellence in their field -- a veritable who's who in Arts and Letters. Members of an extraordinary collective of talent on the East End, previous award recipients include such luminaries as Robert A. M. Stern, Chuck Close, Steven Spielberg, George Plimpton, Edward Albee, Lauren Bacall, Itzhak Perlman, Jerome Robbins, Sidney Lumet, Cy Coleman, Betty Friedan, Larry Rivers, Jane Freilicher, Kurt Vonnegut and Terrence McNally.

Currently represented on Broadway with the critically acclaimed revival of the award winning Fiddler On The Roof, now starring Harvey Fierstein, Sheldon Harnick continues, after five decades, to be a vital force in the worlds of theater, opera, television and film. The Chicago native first came to New York in 1950, following his dream to be a theatrical songwriter. Within two years, he came to Broadway's attention with his first song "The Boston Beguine" for New Faces of 1952. For the next few years, he contributed songs to a number of on and off-Broadway revues including John Murray Anderson's Almanac, which launched the career of a then unknown Harry Belafonte.

In 1956, he teamed up with Jerry Bock for a collaboration that would make Broadway history. Their musical Fiorello, based on New York's most colorful mayor Fiorello La Guardia (the Little Flower), garnered the duo a Tony Award, New York Drama Critic's Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. The following year, Harnick and Bock brought to Broadway the critically acclaimed Tenderloin. In 1963, She Loves Me delighted Broadway theatergoers and won them a Grammy Award. International acclaim came the next year with their groundbreaking Fiddler on the Roof, which swept all the awards in 1964, a Broadway success story once again - 40 years later! Harnick and Bock continued their Broadway success, with The Rothschilds. Another successful collaboration for Harnick, this time with the legendary Richard Rogers, resulted in the critically acclaimed Rex.

Though best known to the public for his Broadway work, Harnick has embraced projects as diverse as creating the original theme for Jackie Gleason's Dumont Cavalcade of Stars to writing themes for films such as The Heartbreak Kid and Blame It On Rio, both collaborations with the legendary Cy Coleman. His translations/adaptations of operas by Stravinski, Ravel, Mozart, Leher, Bizet, Verdi, Ives and Michelle Le Grand have brought him critical acclaim with productions at several of the country's leading companies including the Houston Grand Opera and the San Diego Opera Company.

Whether a catchy TV theme, a stunning operatic libretto or an old fashioned Broadway tune that leaves you humming all the way home, Harnick's musical gifts truly make him a national treasure.

Under the dynamic leadership of gala Co-chairs Leila and Melville (Mickey) Straus, Chairman, Board of Trustees Guild Hall, Pamela and Edward Pantzer, Peggy and Henry Schleiff, Claude and Bruce Wasserstein, as well as, Roy Furman, President of the Academy of the Arts and, Ruth Appelhof, Guild Hall Executive Director, the gathering will be a festive celebration of world-class artistic talent. Presenters include two Academy Of The Arts members, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Marsha Norman and 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt (Lifetime Achievement Honoree. 2002).

The Art Deco splendor of the Rainbow Room with its sweeping vistas of New York is the ideal setting for the gala, which begins with cocktails at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m. with the awards ceremony and tributes to follow. Individual tickets for the gala which benefits Guild Hall of East Hampton are $1500 (Vice Chair ticket), $1,200 (Benefactor ticket), $600 (Patron ticket), Tables of 10 are $25,000 (Corporate Sponsor Table), $15,000 (Vice-Chair Table) and $12,000 (Benefactor Table). To purchase tickets contact Carole Dioguardi, Director of Development Guild Hall of East Hampton, 631-324-0806 or email

Guild Hall, established in 1931, is the primary cultural center on the East End of Long Island. Its primary focus is to inform, inspire and enrich its diverse audiences by presenting programs of the highest quality in the visual and performing arts, to collaborate with artists of eastern Long Island, and to provide a meeting place for the entire community. Guild Hall continues this mission today with a year-round schedule of changing exhibitions in the museum and theatrical productions, films, music, lectures and performance art in the John Drew Theater as well as education programs in the studio.