Theater Hall of Fame Inductees

NEW YORK — Stephen Sondheim, Neil Simon, Terrence McNally and Ann Reinking made it a pretty starry night at the 38th annual induction into the Theater Hall of Fame, and those were just some of the inductors and fans. (Website)

Leading the list of the eight actual inductees was actor Nathan Lane. Joining him in the class of 2008 (the year of their election) were composer Marvin Hamlisch, playwright Alan Ayckbourn, producer Emanuel Azenberg, actor Richard Easton, director-choreographer Patricia Birch, orchestrator Jonathan Tunick and, posthumously, actor Roscoe Lee Browne….

Former New York Times theater critic Frank Rich, now a commentator on politics and culture, inducted composer Hamlisch. Rich mentioned several of Hamlisch’s other shows, but he focused on the iconic “A Chorus Line,” which he said we tend to take for granted,

it’s such a Broadway brand, such a seamless creation at the heart of it is Hamlisch’s music. Timeless.”

In response, Hamlisch, who works with several symphonies as principal pops conductor and in movies, called himself

a die-hard fan of theater” and concluded, “for a composer, having your name in a theater named Gershwin is truly awe-inspiring.”

The ceremony complete, everyone adjourned to the Friars Club for convivial dining and reminiscence.
The Hall of Fame event is produced each year with grace and dispatch by Terry Hodge Taylor. Inductees are selected by ballot by members of the Hall and the nation-wide membership of the American Theatre Critics Association. The minimum requirement for the 63 names that appeared on the 2008 ballot was at least five major theater credits over 25 or more years.

First Row (L-R) Zoe Caldwell; George Grizzard; Hal Prince and Earl Blackwell Second Row (L-R) Florence Klotz, Earl Hyman, Julie Andrews, Eileen Atkins and Henry Hewes; Joel Grey, Bernadette Peters and Tommy Tune Third Row (R-L) John Raitt and Barbara Cook; Robert Whitehead and Barnard Hughes Fourth Row (L-R) Celia Lipton; Marian Seldes; Gwen Verdon and Carol Channing; Isabelle and John Stevenson Fifth Row (L-R) New York City Mayors John Lindsay and David Dinkins; Earle Hyman and Bill Cosby; Al and Dolly Hirschfeld

Looking at all the names inscribed on the walls and perhaps at the audience as well, Lane said,

all of these people were survivors — they didn’t fear critics or mercury poisoning.”

That got a laugh, but it’s also true. The theater is an impossible business that survives against all odds, thanks to the talents of every kind who won’t let it die.

List Theater Hall of Fame Members



  1. Just want to give you a heartfelt thanks for all you have done for and with the music.Your musical genius has made regular people, like myself,enjoy and realize the true worth of music. I followed you thru the 70’s and i am still following you.You are a true pioneer in you field and i’m thankful that i was around to see it.

  2. I was just listening on a web site playing your song “Nobody Does it Better” and it just reminded me how much I love your music because it is one of my favorite songs. Thank you so much for all of the great music!
    Peace, Megan.

  3. Thank you so much for coming to London and doing your wonderful show, you could tell that all who attended were charmed by your immense talent and genuine personality. In a time when there is ’ instant stardom’ by way of talent shows, it is always great to see a real star and someone who, through the years, has perfected his craft. Annette

    • Mr. Hamlisch’s musicianship, creativity and piano artistry are well known. I had the honor to also witness his masterful stage presence and his ability to totally rivet his audience. We thoroughly loved Mr. Hamlisch’s humor, as well as his philosophies and outlook. Congratulations! Beth