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DO40's Legacy Awards - The Biggest Hit of 2011!!


Talk about a tough room!  Host Lee Roy Reams called it a “horde of hoofers!”

CLICK HERE to view more 2011 DO40 Legacy Awards Photos.

Dancers of every generation arrived to honor their teachers – and their teachers’ teachers at DO40’s 3rd annual Holiday luncheon and awards event, held this year at the over-the-top LIPS Restaurant on the East Side.

Lee Roy Reams began by giving his 2010 Legacy Awards speech about Harvey Evans, since he was unable to honor Harvey when he got HIS award last year due to planes and the damn weather.   Our board members told Lee Roy to keep it “classy,” and that lasted about 30 seconds, and it was uphill from there! (or the other way around, depending on how you look at it!). 

The only honoree not present was first up --  Phil Black. Although in good spirits and doing well, Phil could not leave the Actors Home in New Jersey where he now resides.  So DO40 went to NJ in November and taped a segment with his “kids” giving him the Legacy Award (with “drumsticks” in hand!), which DO40 presented first up at the luncheon.

DO40 Legacy Awards - Mary MentingMary Menting (photo at left), Phil’s sister, accepted the award for Phil at the event, and told tales of the old dance studio on 50th Street – above the dance hall hostesses on the second floor! -- and some GREAT Phil stories.  Lisa Mordente, a Phil student from her teen years also spoke about Phil, as did Daniele Brisebois, who flew in from LA for the event.  Daniele was Phil’s youngest tap student, whom he made teach the ADVANCED class one day, when she was six – yes, six years old.  Daniele went on to be the youngest dancing orphan in the original ANNIE, and to LA with Archie Bunker’s Place and many other TV appearances.  She is now an award-winning songwriter, and was with the group The New Radicals in 2000 and wrote one of their hit songs.  Daniele saw Phil from an entirely different perspective, being the youngest – and probably, one his smartest students!

DO40 Legacy Awards - Luigi and John Sefakis

The Love Fest continued alphabetically with Luigi (photo at right, with DO40 President, John Sefakis).  Susan Stroman and Francis Roach spoke for Luigi, and in his acceptance speech, Luigi uttered the first expletive of the evening, which had host Lee Roy Reams and DO40 President John Sefakis follow suit!  It was all about Facciuto, that’s all, just Facciuto!

Our only female teacher was next, and as if our program didn’t have enough information on her, student Steve Boockvor proceeded to give the history of Bella Malinka, year by year… and managed to be humorous at the same time (some might say…).  2010 Legacy Award Honoree Stuart Hodes then spoke of his professional relationship with Bella when both were teaching together. 

DO40 Legacy Awards - Pres. John Sefakis and Bella MalinkaDO40 President John Sefakis had to assist both Luigi and Bella (photo at left) with the microphone to make sure the audience heard every word.  And with Bella, well, she almost got lost behind the podium!  But she perservered, continued for about five minutes at which time Sefakis reminded her she hadn’t even LOOKED at the 20 hand-written index cards she brought to the podium with her!

Founding DO40 member Frank Pietri (photo below, right) had a loyal following at his tables.  Actor/singer/producer Kurt Peterson (did we leave an adjective out?!?!?) extolled Frank’s virtue as a teacher.  Frank’s life-long friend, director/choreographer Graciela Daniele then spoke of Frank’s largesse when they were young struggling dancers in the big city, and how Frank and his mother always looked after her.DO40 Legacy Awards - Frank Pietri

Last, and proverbially certainly not least, it was West Coast DO40 member Joe Tremaine’s turn to be honored by two of his loving “leading ladies,” Lisa Mordente and Karen Prunzik.  Not to be outdone -- by anyone, Joe took to the stage in a verbal tour-de-farce, honoring others, thanking some and taking the audience through this Louisiana boy’s journey to the big city and fame and fortune, in sort of a Shecky Greene, Don Rickles-inspired monologue. 

DO40 also recognized tap teacher and long-time member Jerry Ames, who died last February.  He was an extremely affable and cordially dapper man, who carved out a tap niche for himself in NYC, and also had a very loyal following.

The food was great, the room, extremely theatrical in both design and attendees.  As with all DO40 events, friends found old friends, met new ones and potential DO40 members were spawned.  Everyone was in and out in the allotted three hours (and, well, seven minutes!). 

The impromptu finale included a rousing tap duet by that infamous comedy team of Reams and Evans.  Or is it Evans and Reams?  (YOU ask them!).  Host Lee Roy Reams cajoled and prodded DO40 board member Harvey Evans to join him on stage for an old tap duet they learned in Cincinnati back “in the day.”  They tapped, sang, and fortunately did NOT collapse when it was over! 

DO40 Legacy Awards - Joe Tremaine

Joe Tremaine

The Legacy Awards will be available for viewing on DO40’s NEW MEMBER-ONLY page on thiswebsite.  Right now, Phil Black’s appearance with his students in New Jersey is up, as are the videos from our October West Side Story event, hosted by Harvey Evans. 

The Legacy video clips should be up in the next few weeks.  Yet ANOTHER good reason (as if there weren’t a ton already!) to join DO40, wherever you are!

Click on a photo below to see the enlarged tribute

Phil Black Legacy Tribute 1 Phil Black Legacy 2 Joe Tremaine Legacy Tribute Steps Legacy Award Tribute Bella Malinka Tribute

CLICK HERE to view more 2011 DO40 Legacy Awards Photos.

Background Photo 2013 LEGACY AWARDS, By Jeff Eason, Wilsonmodels, Inc