NEW YORK CITY: Legendary sound designer Abe Jacob will be honored with the Ming Cho Lee Award for Lifetime Achievement in Design, bestowed by the Henry Hewes Design Awards at the 59th annual ceremony, Oct. 23 in New York. Jacob, known as the “Godfather of Sound,” has had a profound impact on the aural experience of Broadway audiences and concertgoers for five decades.
“We are delighted to celebrate the extraordinary career in sound design that Abe Jacob has created,” said Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, chairman of the Henry Hewes Design Awards Committee, in a statement. “Abe is a heroic figure of the past 50 years in live sound reproduction, and we are proud to present him with the 2023 Ming Cho Lee Award for Lifetime Achievement in Design.”
Jacob’s remarkable career has spanned five decades, with achievements in theatre sound design that virtually brought the field into existence. Major Broadway, touring, and world-wide production credits include Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin, Seesaw, Mack and Mabel, The Rocky Horror Show, A Chorus Line, Chicago, The Act, Dancin’, Evita, Cats, and Rain. His credits at New York City Opera included A Little Night Music, 110 in the Shade, Die Soldaten, Harvey Milk, and Sweeney Todd. Jacob was the creative consultant for the Broadway Sound Master Class, and has mentored several generations of talented sound designers. He was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2022.
Legendary theatre designer Ming Cho Lee was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Henry Hewes Design Awards, and the award was renamed for him at that presentation ceremony. The Henry Hewes Design Awards honor designers for work in venues on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway, recognizing not only such categories as scenic design, costume design, lighting design, sound design, and media design but also “notable effects,” which encompass music, puppetry, and other creative elements. All nominated designs must have originated in United States productions. The Henry Hewes Design Awards Committee annually considers more than 200 productions when making its nominations.
Known as the Maharam Awards at their inception in 1965, the Hewes Awards were later renamed the American Theatre Wing Design Awards in honor of the Wing’s generous sponsorship. In 1999, they became the Henry Hewes Design Awards to honor noted critic Henry Hewes, who created and nurtured the awards until his death in 2006 at age 89.
The Henry Hewes Design Awards Committee includes theater critics Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, chair; David Barbour; David Cote; Naveen Kumar; Brittani Samuel; Helen Shaw; and Martha Wade Steketee. The awards are sponsored by the Henry Hewes Foundation for the Theater Arts.
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