The Sarah Siddons Society celebrates its 60th Anniversary Gala on Monday, July 16 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Chicago. Barbara Cook will be honored with the prestigious "Sarah Siddons Society Award" and Mike Nussbaum will be honored as Chicago's Leading Actor.
The Sarah Siddons Society Award was first presented in 1952 to Helen Hayes, and since then has been awarded to a roster of America's favorite actresses: Lauren Bacall, Bette Davis, Deborah Kerr, Carol Channing, Angela Lansbury, Julie Harris, Julie Andrews, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera and most recently Patti LuPone. This year, astonishing Broadway and concert performing artist Barbara Cook has been named as the Sarah Siddons Society Award winner. Cook will perform at Ravinia on Sunday, July 15th as a celebration of her 85th birthday and receive the Sarah Siddons Award the following day, Monday, July 16th at a Gala Celebration at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Chicago. In addition to honoring great talents, the annual gala raises money for the Sarah Siddons Society's Scholarship, awarded to outstanding college students in pursuit of a career in music theater.
"We are delighted to pay a tribute to this amazing artist" said Dominic Missimi, Executive Director of the Society. "She is one of the great singers of this past century and a legend of Broadway music theatre history."
Mike Nussbaum, a legend and regular of Chicago's main stages in addition to appearances in 40 films, will also be recognized for his contributions to Chicago Theatre. Under new executive director Dominic Missimi of Northwestern University, who founded the school's Music Theatre Program and the American Music Theatre Project, the Society plans to expand its reach in the theater community. After many years of presenting a "Leading Chicago Actress Award" to many of Chicago's finest performers, Mike Nussbaum will be the first male actor to receive this award.
"It's part of our changing history," said Missimi. "We are hoping that as we celebrate our 60th anniversary, the Sarah Siddons Society will be known for recognizing excellence in all performers, not just our great actresses. Recently we have also recognized the works of Chicago's major directors."
Broadway actress and Tony nominee Kate Baldwin will introduce Cook and Chicago Shakespeare's artistic director Barbara Gaines will provide the introduction for Nussbaum. Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently proclaimed July 16th 2012 , the day of the Gala, as" Barbara Cook Day" throughout the City of Chicago. Several of Chicago's music theatre leading men will be on hand to salute Ms. Cook and members of the Stanley Paul Orchestra will provide music for the evening.