Tuesday, June 15, 2010

David Hyde Pierce on theatre and memory

You may recall my bond with Curtains, the first musical I saw on Broadway. Not only did I love the show but I had a great time meeting the gracious cast, including David Hyde Pierce, at the stage door afterward.

So I was thrilled that the American Theatre Wing honored Hyde Pierce with the Isabelle Stevenson Award, bestowed upon an individual from the theatre community who has volunteered time and effort on behalf of a charitable, humanitarian or social service organization.

Hyde Pierce was recognized for his work in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. His grandfather died of the disease and his father suffered from dementia. He's a board member of the Alzheimer's Association and has worked on the local and national level advocating for additional funding for research and care programs.

The award was presented to him during the pre-broadcast portion of the Tonys Sunday night. Here's part of what he said:

"We all say 'I'll never forget' and I think we say it in the theatre more than anyplace else because we're blessed to have so many unforgettable things happen in our world. I'll never forget Marian Seldes' curtain calls. I'll never forget Kelsey Grammer planting a big wet one on Douglas Hodge.

Well I don't use that phrase anymore. My work with the association has taught me that 'I'll never forget' is a phrase, it's a vow, that none of us can honestly make.

But I promise you in honor of my family, the Alzheimer's Association, my grandfather and my dad that I will be grateful for this honor, I will remember this night, as long as memory serves."

The evening at Curtains was one of many unforgettable theatre experiences I've had over the past three years. Rest assured that I will remember it as long as my memory serves.

Here's David Hyde Pierce talking about the award and his latest role, in La Bete, which he's currently rehearsing in London.

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