Iconic Names in Entertainment Converge

 An Evening of Twyla Tharp…and Frank Sinatra, Philip Glass, Oscar de la Renta and Norma Kamali! PBT’s 2013-14 Season opener joins big names in dance, fashion and music, making this production a treat for dance lovers, music buffs, and fashionistas alike. Read more here about the iconic names of An Evening of Twyla Tharp. For tickets to An Evening of Twyla Tharp, onstage Oct. 25-27, at the Benedum Center, click here


 “A lot of people insisted on a wall between modern dance and ballet. I’m beginning to think that walls are very unhealthy things.”  
–Twyla Tharp

© Richard Avedon 
Courtesy of The Richard Avedon Foundation


An American dancer and choreographer, Twyla Tharp made an impact on the dance world through her choreography, which broke down the boundaries that once separated classical ballet and modern dance styles. Her long and successful career began in New York City, where she founded her dance company, Twyla Tharp Dance, in 1965. Since then, she has choreographed more than 135 dances and five Hollywood movies, plus choreographed and directed six Broadway shows, including hits like Singin’ in the Rain, Movin’ Out, and Come Fly Away. In addition to choreographing for her own company, Tharp has created works for professional dance companies throughout the world, including The Royal Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet.


Fun Fact: Twyla Tharp received a Tony Award for Best Choreography for Movin’ Out, in addition to 2 Emmy Awards, 19 honorary doctorates, a Kennedy Center Honor, and many more awards and accolades throughout her life.

“People often remark that I’m pretty lucky. Luck is only important in so far as getting the chance to sell yourself at the right moment.  After that, you’ve got to have talent and know how to use it.”
 –Frank Sinatra

Photo Source: thewinehousemag.com

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra’s music first gained popularity in the 1940s. Now, more than 70 years later, his music lives on in the hearts of his original fans as well as new generations of music lovers. Born in 1915 in Hoboken, NJ, Sinatra started as a saloon singer. He got his big break on a local radio show’s amateur hour, and his career skyrocketed. He quickly gained fame as a singer when he released his first album, The Voice of Frank Sinatra, in 1946. Soon, he tried his hand at acting and became even more successful thanks to his roles alongside Pittsburgh native Gene Kelly in Anchors Away, Take Me Out to the Ball Game and On the Town. Sinatra’s smooth, crooning voice and swoon-worthy appearance earned him nicknames including Ol’ Blue Eyes, The Voice, Chairman of the Board, and The Sultan of Swoon. Throughout his career, Sinatra received multiple Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, and many more nominations and honors.

Fun Fact: Every year on December 12, Sinatra’s birthday, the Empire State Building in New York City lights up blue in honor of ‘Ol Blue Eyes.

“What came to me as a revelation was the use of rhythm in developing an overall structure in music.”
 –Philip Glass

Photo Source: watershed.co.uk

Philip Glass

Philip Glass is an American composer who has written more than 20 operas and eight symphonies, as well as concertos, film soundtracks, and a large body of solo work. He grew up in Baltimore and studied at the University of Chicago, the Julliard School, and in Europe. In 1967, he started the Philip Glass Ensemble. Collaborations have been an important part of his career. He has worked with many famous artists, such as choreographer Twyla Tharp, poet Allen Ginsberg, rock star David Bowie, and musician Yo-Yo Ma. Today he is known as one of the world’s most famous and versatile living composers. Currently, Glass performs, lectures, and hosts workshops around the world.

Fun Fact: Glass composed the music for Academy Award-winning films including The Hours and Martin Scorsese’s Kundun.

 “The great thing about fashion is that is always looks forward.” 
–Oscar de la Renta

Photo Source: hispanicenterprisemagazine.net

Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta is one of the biggest names in the fashion industry today. Originally from the Dominican Republic, de la Renta moved to Madrid when he was 18 to study painting. The couture fashion he saw in Spain intrigued him, and he soon decided to use his artistic abilities to draw and design clothing. His foray into the world of fashion proved successful, and he moved to Paris and then New York City to pursue this new career choice. Since his start in the fashion industry in the 1960s, de la Renta’s designs have graced red carpets at the Academy Awards, the Emmys, and the Grammys, as well as movie premieres and international film festivals. Celebrities like Halle Berry, Eva Longoria, Anne Hathaway, Emma Watson, and Mila Kunis have worn his designs, in addition to First Ladies Jackie Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush. De la Renta’s costumes in Nine Sinatra songs showcase the sophistication of Twyla Tharp’s choreography combined with the smooth, sultry music of Frank Sinatra.

Fun Fact: In 2002, de la Renta launched a line of furniture to add something different to his collection of clothing designs.

 “The real revolution on how we make clothes and how we wear clothes is about to come. I don’t know if we should be afraid or not. That’s when we’re going to see a Steve Jobs in the [fashion] industry.” 
–Norma Kamali 

Photo Source: styleite.com

Norma Kamali

American fashion designer Norma Kamali first made a splash on the fashion scene in the 1970s. She designed the famous red bathing suit worn by Farrah Fawcett in the 1976 Charlie’s Angels poster that became an icon for the decade. Now, the famous swimsuit resides in the Smithsonian. In the ‘80s, Kamali became known for her trendy workout clothes and her use of materials like parachutes and sleeping bags in her fashions. In the Upper Room features designs by Kamali, beginning with striped costumes and ending with brightly colored leotards and vivid red pointe shoes. Kamali also designed costumes for other productions by Tharp, including Sweet Fields, 66, and Scarlatti.

Fun Fact: Kamali is a big fan of sneakers, as worn by the “stompers” in Tharp’s In the Upper Room.In 2001, Kamali’s patented high-heeled sneakers were featured in an exhibit called “Extreme Beauty” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.