Chicago Artists Named Among Recipients of 2016 Princess Grace Awards

Hubbard Street Dancer and Choreographer Penny Saunders, right, in rehearsal with Hubbard Street 2 Dancers Elliot Hammans, left, and Adrienne Lipson, right (photo by Todd Rosenberg).

The Princess Grace Foundation-USA (PGF-USA) has announced the winners of the 2016 Princess Grace Awards.  The annual gala will continue the legacy of Princess Grace (Kelly) of Monaco, who helped emerging artists pursue their artistic goals during her lifetime.  In total, the foundation is awarding over $1 million to artists in theater, dance, and film this year.  This year's gala will be held at Cipriani 25 Broadway on October 24, 2016.  The evening will be co-chaired by Lisa and Richard Plepler, Sidney and Katia Toledano, and Gillian Murphy and Ethan Stiefel. 

Toby Boshak, executive director of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA shared, "We are thrilled to welcome this year's incredibly talented Award winners into the Princess Grace Foundation-USA family.  Each year we enthusiastically support a passionate new group of emerging talents who will one day be at the forefront of the arts.  We look forward to watching them grow as artists in the same way we have watched this year's Statue Award winners, Leslie Odom Jr. and Camille Brown, evolve.  We are incredibly proud of all of them."

For the eighth year in a row, celebrated artist Alex Soldier, known for his mastery of precious miniatures, has created an objet d'art to represent the Princess Grace Awards.  The award symbolically combines the three art forms lauded by the foundation: theater, dance, and film by using precious metals and Swarovski crystal accents.  Presented as a distinctive sculpture to the Prince Rainier III Award honoree, this creation is transformed for each recipient to wear as a pin.

​Past winners of the awards for theater, dance and film who distinguish themselves in their artistic disciplines since receiving their initial Princess Grace Awards are eligible for the foundation's Princess Grace Statue Award. This year, Leslie Odom Jr, who starred as Aaron Burr in Broadway's hit musical Hamilton for which he received a 2016 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, and 2016 Bessie-nominated choreographer, Camille A. Brown, will each receive Princess Grace Statue Awards. In addition to a $25,000 unrestricted cash gift, Leslie and Camille will be presented with a bronze statue of Princess Grace created by the Dutch artist Kees Verkade. To date, sixty-three artists have received this award.

Among this year’s award-recipients for dance performance and choreography is Chicago’s own Jeffery Duffy (dance) and Penny Saunders (choreography) of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago; Paige Fraser (dance) and Danielle Agami (choreography) of Visceral Dance Chicago. All recipients will receive fellowship awards that will support their work.

​The Princess Grace Foundation-USA is a non-profit, publicly-supported foundation, headquartered in New York City and founded 34 years ago by Prince Rainier III of Monaco to honor his wife, Princess Grace's (Kelly) legacy.  The foundation's mission is dedicated to identifying and assisting emerging talent in theater, dance and film by awarding grants in the form of scholarships, apprenticeships and fellowships.  Since the foundation's inception, nearly 800 recipients have been awarded more than $13 million. Some notable Princess Grace Awards recipients Steppenwolf Theatre’s executive director and Tony Award winner for Best Direction of a Play, Anna D. Shapiro; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater artistic director Robert Battle; and choreographers Kyle Abraham and Michelle Dorrance.

​For more information about the Princess Grace Awards program or this year’s recipients, visit