Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT) announced today that it will honor legendary dancer, singer and actress Mitzi Gaynor as its 2013 Woman of the Year at the annual Black & White Ball on Saturday, January 26 at Bellagio Las Vegas, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd.South.
An Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe-nominated star of both stage and screen, Gaynor received world-wide acclaim for her iconic performance as “Ensign Nellie Forbush” in the 1958 motion picture adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific. The role presented Gaynor at the zenith of a film career which included starring roles in some of the most revered musicals of Hollywood’s “Golden Age” including Les Girls, Anything Goes and There’s No Business Like Show Business.
A superstar performer in all mediums, Gaynor went on to achieve critical acclaim and blockbuster ratings for a decade of her annual glamorous television specials. Beginning in 1968 with the fittingly titled “Mitzi,” her innovative spectaculars received 17 Emmy nominations, winning 6 awards during their 10 year run. A stage performer from the age of 12, she debuted as a concert artist in 1961 during a record-breaking engagement at Las Vegas’ famed Flamingo Hotel. Gaynor’s groundbreaking, high-concept stage shows set the gold standard for performing excellence and established her as a major attraction in Las Vegas, where she received AGVA’s prestigious “Entertainer of the Year” Award, and at premiere nightclubs, concert halls and performing arts centers throughout the United States and Canada for decades to come.
“We are thrilled to recognize the multi-talented Mitzi Gaynor as our 2013 Woman of the Year,” said NBT Co-Founder and Board Co-Chair Nancy Houssels. “From her early beginnings as a ballet dancer and then a movie star, to her nightclub debut at the Flamingo in Las Vegas, Mitzi’s impact on the entertainment industry is unparalleled and her contributions to the world of dance continue today through her work with the Professional Dancers Society, where she serves as President.”
Gaynor’s achievements and legacy have reached beyond the stage and screen, making her one of the most influential legends in the entertainment industry. She continues to captivate audiences today with her new one-woman show, currently on tour, Razzle Dazzle! My Life Behind the Sequins: An Intimate Evening of Laughs, Love & Music, for which The New York Times deemed her “an all time great.” In 2011, at the 16th annual Satellite Awards, she received the Mary Pickford Award for “Outstanding Contributions to the Entertainment Industry,” the International Press Academy’s most prestigious honor.
Touted as the “crème de la crème” of society events by Luxury Las Vegas Magazine, the Black & White Ball is one of the most highly attended events of the social season, hosting an array of local celebrities, dignitaries, VIP’s and arts supporters. Since 1985, this star-studded gala has allowed NBT the opportunity to present professional company dance productions to the Las Vegas community, provide quality dance instruction within its affiliated Academy and expose students in underserved communities to the art form of dance through its well-known education and outreach program, Future Dance.
Past honorees of the Black & White Ball include luminaries of the stage and screen such as Debbie Reynolds, Chita Rivera, Celine Dion, Ann-Margret, Marie Osmond, Priscilla Presley and most recently Eva Longoria. NBT has honored these legendary women for their dedication to the world of arts and entertainment. Many of them have enjoyed a special connection to Las Vegas.
Nevada Ballet Theatre
Under the artistic direction of James Canfield, Nevada Ballet Theatre is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Las Vegas and the largest professional ballet company and dance Academy in the state. Committed to the highest artistic standards, this classically-based company is at home in an eclectic repertory, moving easily from the classics to the high-energy contemporary ballets. The mission of Nevada Ballet Theatre is to educate and inspire statewide, regional and national audiences and vitally impact community life through professional company productions, dance training and education and outreach. Nevada Ballet Theatre is the resident ballet company of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.