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Clockwise from top left: Fred Voelpel, Dede Ayite, Michael Curry, Eugene Lee

TDF’s Design-Focused Sharaff Awards Return for In-Person Fête 

This year’s honorees include costume designers Fred Voelpel and Dede Ayite, scenic designer Eugene Lee, and visual artist Michael Curry.

NEW YORK CITY: The TDF Sharaff Awards are returning for their first in-person ceremony since 2019 with a celebration on Oct. 7 at the Edison Ballroom. There the late costume designer Fred Voelpel will be honored with the TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in costume design, and scenic designer Eugene Lee will receive the Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatrical Design. Costume designer Dede Ayite will be awarded the TDF/Kitty Leech Young Master Award, and visual artist Michael Curry will receive the TDF/Irene Sharaff Artisan Award.  

“These wonderful awardees were originally chosen by the committee for the 2020 awards ceremony,” said Stephen Cabral, director of the TDF costume collection, in a statement. “Sadly, the pandemic put that and last year’s ceremony on hold, but we’re thrilled to finally celebrate these incredible artists. We were very upset to lose Fred Voelpel this past June. I had been in contact with Fred and he was happy to have been chosen for the award and had been looking forward to attending. He will be sorely missed.” 

This year’s award recipients were chosen by a voting committee that included leading members of the theatrical design community. The committee included Cabral, Gregg Barnes, Suzy Benzinger, Dean Brown, Traci DiGesu, Linda Fisher, Lana Fritz, Jess Goldstein, Rodney Gordon, Allen Lee Hughes, Holly Hynes, Daniel Lawson, Anna Louizos, Katherine Marshall, Mimi Maxmen, David Murin, Sally Ann Parsons, Scott D. Pask, Robert Perdziola, Gregory Poplyk, Carrie Robbins, Alejo Vietti, Patrick Wiley, and David Zinn.

This year’s ceremony will include a 15-minute memorial tribute to costume designer Caroline F. Siedle, created by designer Suzy Benzinger. 

TDF (formerly known as Theatre Development Fund) was founded in 1968 as a nonprofit service organization with the mission of bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. Costume designer Irene Shraff was a renowned costume designer known for her elegance and attention to detail for both contemporary and period costumes.

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