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On April 3, 2023, Virginia’s Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre will honor the theatrical icon Chita Rivera with the company’s twelfth Stephen Sondheim Award. The Stephen Sondheim Award will be presented at a black-tie Gala Benefit at the Embassy of Italy and will benefit Signature Theatre’s artistic, education, and community programs. This year’s Gala Benefit will be chaired by Cathy Bernard. More information can be found online at SigTheatre.org/Support/SondheimGala.

“It felt appropriate to look towards the beginning of Mr. Sondheim’s accomplished career when selecting this year’s recipient of the Stephen Sondheim Award,” said Signature’s Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner. “Ms. Rivera is perhaps best known for her iconic performance as Anita in West Side Story, the musical that marked Mr. Sondheim’s first foray onto the Broadway stageWe are thrilled to bestow this honor upon Ms. Rivera, who has long been a dear friend of Signature, having graced our stage in 2008 in The Visit. She now joins a distinguished group of honorees who have received this award over the past decade. We look forward to celebrating her storied career this spring with a festive and joyous evening at the Italian Embassy.”

“Chita and my uncle, Fred Ebb, were dear friends and she starred in one of the last musicals he wrote with John Kander, The Visit at Signature in 2008,” said Gala Chair, Cathy Bernard. “Uncle Fred and Chita celebrated Christmas together every year with my grandmother as a cherished family friend, and we are honored to have her as part of the Signature family and present her with the Sondheim Award in recognition of her legendary career. Chita is one of the true icons of Broadway and the American musical theater and we are fortunate to be able to celebrate her achievements and immense talent.”

Signature’s Sondheim Award Gala honors individuals who have made important contributions to the American Musical Theater. This spring, Signature is thrilled to celebrate the legendary Chita Rivera, one of Broadway’s greatest triple-threat talents.  Her electric performance as Anita in the original Broadway production of West Side Story brought her stardom and launched a storied career. She is one of the most nominated performers in Tony Award history, having earned 10 nominations and three awards. Her most recent nomination was in 2015 for The Visit, the final collaboration between John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Terrence McNally, for the role she previously played to great acclaim at Signature in 2008.

In addition to honoring Chita Rivera, Signature will celebrate Michelle S. Lee, Founder, President, & CEO of STG International, Inc. with The J. Watkins Distinguished Service Award for her incredible leadership and support for Signature and for making a difference in the lives of people throughout the region. The J. Watkins Distinguished Service Award was created to honor community leaders who’ve made an extraordinary impact in the greater DC community through their advocacy and passion for the arts and arts education. The award is made in memory of J. Watkins, a long-time Signature Board member, an important part of the Sondheim Award Gala leadership team, and a tremendous ambassador for Signature and the arts in our community.

Table sponsorship for the 2023 Sondheim Award Gala ranges from $12,000 to $100,000 and includes rewarding, year-long visibility and entertainment benefits. Individual tickets are $1,200. For more information about sponsorship and tickets contact Ashley Richardson, Donor Services Manager at 571-527-1828 or [email protected].

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