By Byrne Harrison
The Theatre World Awards Board of Directors has announced a Memorial Celebration for the life of John Willis, founder and former editor of the Theatre World and Screen World Annuals, and founder and longtime producer of the annual Theatre World Awards. The event will take place at The National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, on Monday, November 22, 2010. There will be a cocktail hour from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. (cash bar), with the Memorial itself slated to begin at 8 p.m. Admission is free, however seating is limited, and a reservation is required. Reservations can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Dress code is business casual.)
The life and legacy of John Willis, will be joyfully celebrated in tributes and performances, in an evening co-hosted by Tony, Drama Desk, and Theatre World Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell and Theatre World Awards’ host, journalist, and author, Peter Filichia. Alex Rybeck will be the musical director.
John Willis, died on June 25 at the age of 93 from complications of lung cancer. The marquees of Broadway theatres were dimmed in his memory on Wednesday, June 30, at exactly 8:00 p.m. for one minute. At that time Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League, commented: “John Willis was THE archivist for Broadway for a half a century, and ‘father’ to hundreds of Theatre World Award winners. He was a true gentleman who tirelessly supported and encouraged the theatre industry worldwide by nurturing new talent.” On behalf of Theatre World, Mr. Willis received a 2001 Tony Award for “Excellence in the Theatre” and the 2003 Broadway Theatre Institute Lifetime Achievement Award in addition to having received a Drama Desk Award, a Lucille Lortel Award and the National Board of Review William K. Everson Award.
For more information about the Theatre World Awards, please visit: theatreworldawards.org or go to the Theatre World Awards fan site at Facebook.