Wednesday, September 23, 2009

POLISH AMERICANS: "Broadway Salutes" Honors Theater Professionals with 25, 35 or 50 Years on Broadway – NYC

Broadway Salutes — a unique public celebration honoring the myriad of artists who have made Broadway great for decades, took place today in the heart of Broadway theater district – Duffy Square.

Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell hosted the event, which honored a wide-range of theatre professionals – including actors, directors, choreographers, designers, stagehands, casting directors, general managers, theater owners, publicists, ushers, musicians, wardrobe workers, hair and makeup artists, producers, playwrights – who have dedicated their careers to the Broadway theatre industry."

Among the almost 2,000 honored at the industry-wide celebration were several Americans of Polish descent.

Those known as Polish or with recognizable Polish names include: Lee F. Iwanski, John Wolanczyk, Charles J Zarobinski, Kenneth J. Dybisz, Helen Olga Gorski, Albin E. Konopka, Tracy Malinowski, Walter Mazurek, Robert Nowak, Frances Obidowski, Thomas J. Oldakowski, Dave Ratajczak , Tom Ruzika, Joseph Szymanski, Marai Szymanski , Michael J. Szymanski and Tony winners: Lighting designer Peter Kaczorowski, actress, singer and dancer, Karen Ziemba and Walter Bobbie (baptized Władysław Babij), a dancer, choreographer, theater director and occasional actor.

"Who would have thought watching Walter Bobbie in the 1972 Broadway production of GREASE that the mooning champ of Rydell High would one day be awarded the Tony for Best Director of a Musical for Chicago?” said event Co-Chair Laura Penn. “These are the people and the stories that we know and don't know - New Yorkers, doing extraordinary work that defines our city. ‘Broadway Salutes' [brought] them all together for a moment for us to say thank you."

– Staś Kmieć