Manhattan, NY The inaugural Chita Rivera Awards for Dance and Choreography, recognizing the work of choreographers and dancers on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and on film, were held September 11, 2017 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Tony award winner Bebe Neuwirth served as host for the ceremony.
Antonio Vendome, chairman of The Vendome Group and arts patron who has collaborated with architect Philip Johnson on the “Habitable Sculpture,” sculpture you can live in, took the stage to receive the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts and Humanities, a timely tribute that elicited a thunderous ovation from the audience. Vendome opened his Canal St. restaurant 24/7 following 9/11 to offer free meals for all the workers cleaning the debris, and led the community in establishing a “commando cooking operation” that took over all four lanes of Canal St. between Varick and Hudson in order to serve more than a million meals gratis over a year’s time. Vendome was presented with the award by Sex and the City’s Chris Noth and actress Melissa Errico.
During a historic evening that was by turns a star-studded celebration of dance and a solemn remembrance of 9/11, the inaugural Chita Rivera Awards offered both joy and solace to the packed house at the Al Hirschfeld. The honorees for the year’s best dance and choreography on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in film included not only luminaries in categories such as Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show and Outstanding Choreography in an Off-Broadway Show, but also recognition for the Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show and a Lifetime Achievement Award that went to Tommy Tune.