Fred Voelpel, Eugene Lee and more to receive 2022 TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards

TDF has announced that renowned costume designer Fred Voelpel and legendary set designer Eugene Lee are among the recipients of the 2022 TDF/Irene Sharaff Award. Although Mr. Voelpel died in June, he will posthumously receive the TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award. for costume design, while Mr. Lee will receive the Robert LB Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatrical Design. The awards ceremony will be presented through the TDF Costume Collection on Friday, October 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Edison Ballroom (240 West 47th Street). A pre-awards cocktail will begin at 5:30 p.m. For more ticket information, please call 212-989-5855 ext. 219 or email [email protected]

Additionally, costume designer Dede Ayite will receive the TDF/Kitty Leech Young Master Award and visual artist Michael Curry will receive the TDF/Irene Sharaff Artisan Award.

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

For this year’s TDF/Irene Sharaff Memorial Tribute, iconic costume designer Caroline F. Siedle will be remembered with an original 15-minute film created by designer Suzy Benzinger.


Winners were selected by the TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards Voting Committee, comprised of prominent members of the theater costume design community. They are Stephen Cabral, president; 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.

Throughout her long and distinguished career, costume designer Irene Sharaff was known for her elegance and attention to detail. Ms. Sharaff was revered as a designer of enormous depth and intelligence, equally sure of contemporary and period costume. His work exemplifies the best of costume design. Such excellence is demonstrated by this year’s TDF/Irene Sharaff award winners.

THE TDF COSTUME COLLECTION includes the TDF Costume Collection Rental Program and the TDF Costume Collection Finder Program. The rental program maintains an extensive inventory of over 80,000 costumes and props for rent at discounted prices by any non-profit theater company, opera company, university, high school, religious group, etc. The collection resides in a 16,000-square-foot house at Kaufman Astoria Studios. Last year, the Collection served organizations that produced more than 500 productions and mail orders in 21 states. It stores all eras and accepts donations from productions, institutions and individuals. These donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. The research program provides resources for those wishing to study the art of theater costume design.

THE TOBIN THEATER ARTS FUND (formerly The Tobin Foundation for Theater Arts) was founded by the late Robert LB Tobin, heir to one of Texas’ greatest family fortunes. Robert Tobin admitted to being a frustrated theater designer with a need to be creative. Throughout his university years and early adulthood, he collected rare theatrical volumes, etchings, engravings and drawings. At the time of its 50th anniversary in 1984, the Tobin Wing of the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas was built specifically to provide a museum setting for the theater arts. As such, the wing houses Robert Tobin’s extensive collection of over 20,000 original models, stage and costume designs, as well as some 8,000 rare and illustrated books. This unpublished collection of preliminary sketches, final renderings, models, engravings and illustrated texts, offers a visual history of theatrical art from the Renaissance to the present day. The Tobin Theater Arts Fund funded the publication of the book Making the Scene: A History of Stage Design and Technology in Europe and the United States, co-authored by Dr Oscar Brockett, Margaret Mitchell and Linda Hardberger. This book is a vivid and beautifully illustrated history of theatrical scenography from ancient Greece to the present day.

The Tobin Theater Arts Fund exists to stimulate public interest in the art of the theater designer through an extensive program of exhibitions, lectures, expansion of the McNay’s collection and to provide wide access to that collection .


Founded in 1968, TDF (formerly known as Theater Development Fund) is a non-profit service organization dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. TDF’s mission is to support live theater and dance by engaging large and diverse audiences and breaking down barriers to attendance. We fulfill our mission with a variety of programs that expand access, cultivate communities, and support creators in the performing arts.

We are known for our theater programs including the TKTS by TDF Discount Booths and TDF Membership program; Accessibility programs (including captioned, audio-described and autism-friendly performances), education and community engagement programs (serving more than 12,000 New York students each year and thousands of individuals and underserved veterans), as well as TDF costume rental and search programs. During the COVID-19 theater closure, we continued to serve our constituents by creating virtual adaptations of our programs through Zoom and other streaming platforms. TDF envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theater and dance is essential, relevant, accessible and inspiring. To learn more about TDF, visit Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: @tdfnyc.

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