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David Tutera's Toy Awards Show

February 13, 2001, 12:00 AM EST

Toy Manufacturers of America's Toy of the Year Awards benefit Cipriani 42nd Street Saturday, 02.10.01, 7 PM onward
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Special event impresario David Tutera has been producing award-winning, high-profile events for years. But until this weekend, he had never produced one type of event: an awards show. Then the Toy Manufacturers of America (TMA) decided to do a full-fledged awards show this year, and the group asked Tutera, who has been working on its annual dinners for the past three years, to produce it. He welcomed the opportunity.

“We're making things very playful,” he told us when we talked to him just before the event, the Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street. “That's why we're having Joy Behar [of ABC's The View] as the host. It's a very sleek, fashion show-like stage set, and the design of the tables is very modern and contemporary while still showing off the European, landmark style of the building.” Round One built the minimalist white stage, which Bentley Meeker lit with different colored lights, making the stage glow with different colors at different points in the evening.

Tutera also didn't want to do anything too serious--after all, this was a toy industry event. “Although everyone here is an adult, it will be very whimsical and fun while still being very sleek and formal,” Tutera said. For the tabletops, he used a palette of ivory and lime green, featuring a variety of different centerpieces with white roses, tulips, lilies and orchids. Some strategically placed candles also cast a glow on the tables. The same color scheme was kept for the floral arrangements in the rest of the dining and cocktail area.

The incredibly stark and clean awards presentation also included a special video tribute to Betty James, the CEO of James Industries, who was being inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame for her massive success with the Slinky. The tribute was shown on a large video projection wall provided by Staging Techniques.

The event also marked the creation of the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF), a non-profit organization dedicated to the enrichment of families and children's lives. The TMA brought fund-raising guru Janice Polizzotto (of the Polizzotto Group) onboard to advise in TIF's formation and to organize the event's fund-raising.phpects, which included online, silent and live auctions, which brought in more than $240,000.

--Suzanne Ito

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