The York Theatre Company's 29th Oscar Hammerstein Award Gala—honoring musical theatre composing team Richard Maltby, Jr. and David Shire (Baby; Big; Starting Here, Starting Now; Closer Than Ever) with the 2021 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre—was held November 1 in Manhattan at The Edison Ballroom.
Watch highlights from the evening (including Norm Lewis' rendition of the title tune from Starting Here, Starting Now and Liz Callaway re-creating her Baby showstopper, "The Story Goes On") in the video above. Also featured are performances by Montego Glover, Kerry Butler, Sierra Boggess, Josh Dela Cruz, Daniel Jenkins, Santino Fontana, Loni Ackerman, Margery Cohen, and George Lee Andrews, as well as Maltby and Shire themselves.
Hosted by Adam Gopnik, the evening also included the talents of Jordan Barrow, Christian Borle, Kerry Butler, Jenn Colella, George Dvorsky, Santino Fontana, Sydney James Harcourt, Eddie Korbich, Charlotte Maltby, Sally Mayes, Janet Metz, Julia Murney, Christiane Noll, Sal Viviano, John Weidman, York MTTP student alumini Charlie Beck, Molly Fitzsimmons, Ifedayo (Thomas) Gatling, Adeleke Goring, Max Grozalsky-Wernick, Ariana Jackman, Isabella Leonardo, Briana Powell-Cooper, Flor Rosales-Euceda, Kassandra Sánchez, Preston Simon, and Zoey Zo, with video appearances by Stephen Sondheim and Barbra Streisand.
Michael Unger directed the concert celebration with music direction by Deniz Cordell. Musicians included Annie Pasqua, Danny Weller, and Alex Wyatt.
“This celebration of two favorite people—of mine and The York’s—was put on hold several times over the past year and a half,” said James Morgan, producing artistic director, in an earlier statement. “We’re so excited that we can schedule it now in the beautiful venue for many of our OH Galas, The Edison Ballroom. We’re delighted to share this spectacular evening with everyone and to see this incredible line-up of performers honor one of the longest collaborations in musical theatre history. That we are also honoring another wonderful friend, Elisa Loti Stein, with the York Theatre Founders’ Award puts the icing on the cake. (All three honorees are members of The York’s Honorary Board.) We hope you will join us!”
Past recipients of the Oscar Hammerstein Award, which was created in 1988 to recognize significant lifetime achievement in musical theatre, include Stephen Sondheim, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Harold Prince, Cy Coleman, Charles Strouse, Arthur Laurents, Jerry Herman, Stephen Schwartz, Peter Stone, David Merrick, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Terrence McNally, Cameron Mackintosh, Carol Channing, Tony Walton, Joseph Stein, George S. Irving, Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, Thomas Meehan, Barbara Cook, Paul Gemignani, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Angela Lansbury, Joel Grey, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, Susan Stroman, and, most recently, André De Shields.
The celebration also honored Elisa Loti Stein with The York Theatre Company Founders Award.