Amas Musical Theatre to Honor Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty with The Rosie Award

Amas Musical Theatre to Honor Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty with The Rosie Award

Amas Musical Theatre, New York City's award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since 1968, will celebrate its 48th Anniversary at a gala benefit on Monday, April 3, 2016 at the Baruch Performing Arts Center (East 25th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenues).

Honorary Chair for the event is Tony Award winning actress, singer and dancer Chita Rivera. Noted theatre journalist Peter Filichia returns as Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

The gala evening will begin at 6:00pm with a champagne reception and silent auction. At 7:00pm, students of the Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy, Amas' flagship education program, will present a sneak peek of their upcoming spring production, followed by "The Flip Side: Unknown Musical Gems by Ahrens and Flaherty," directed by Jonathan Cerullo and featuring award-winning performances by original cast members of Dessa Rose, Ragtime, Once on this Island, among other Broadway talent.

The evening will culminate in presentation of "The Rosie Award," this year bestowed upon the Tony Award-winning composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Once on This Island, Ragtime, Rocky, Seussical, Dessa Rose). A scholarship in the name of Amas founder Rosetta LeNoire will also be given to a college-bound student attending the Amas Teen Academy.

"Lynn and Stephen exemplify the spirit of Rosetta LeNoire because of their extraordinary accomplishments and dedication in bringing our world more closely together through the theatrical arts," says Donna Trinkoff, Amas Producing Artistic Director. "Their musicals have explored the cultural terrains of bigotry and exclusion. Their magnificent musical Ragtime encompassed the immigrant experience in the early 20th Century; Once on this Island is a story about the haves and have nots on a Caribbean Island; Dessa Rose is the story of the liberation and spiritual awakening of two women of different color during the time of slavery. Their work is both inspirational and beautiful."

Tickets are $500 and $250, plus a limited number of show-only $150 seats available, and can be purchased online at www.amasmusical.org, or by calling (212) 563-2565. More information at www.amasmusical.org.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

Lynn Ahrens won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards and received two Grammy nominations for the score of Broadway's Ragtime. For Twentieth Century Fox's animated feature film Anastasia, she was nominated for two Academy Awards and two Golden Globes. In 2014, she and longtime collaborator Stephen Flaherty received the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2015 they were inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. She wrote both book and lyrics for Once On This Island (Olivier Award, Best Musical; Tony nominations, Best Book and Score); Seussical (Grammy nomination); Lincoln Center Theater's Dessa Rose and The Glorious Ones (both Drama Desk-nominated); Lucky Stiff; Little Dancer (Kennedy Center); and Madison Square Garden's A Christmas Carol. She provided lyrics for My Favorite Year; Chita Rivera-The Dancer's Life; A Man of No Importance (Outer Critics Circle Award, Best Musical); Ragtime; Rocky; and Anastasia, which will open on Broadway in 2016. For her numerous film and television credits, which include A Christmas Carol (teleplay, NBC- TV); Camp (IFC Films); Lucky Stiff; and Schoolhouse Rock (ABC-TV), she has received the Emmy Award and four nominations. She received the first Lilly Award for Lyrics. Council, Dramatists Guild of America; co-founder, Dramatists Guild Fellows Program. www.ahrensandflaherty.com

Stephen Flaherty composed the music for Broadway's Ragtime (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Score; two Grammy nominations), Once On This Island (Olivier Award, Best Musical; Tony nomination); Seussical (Grammy and Drama Desk nominations); Rocky; Chita Rivera--The Dancer's Life (original songs); and Neil Simon's Proposals (incidental music.) He composed the scores for four musicals at Lincoln Center Theatre: The Glorious Ones, Dessa Rose, (both Drama Desk-nominated), A Man of No Importance (Outer Critics Circle Award, Best Musical) and My Favorite Year. Recent premieres include the dance musical In Your Arms (Old Globe) and Little Dancer (Kennedy Center.) Other theater includes Loving Repeating (Jefferson Award, Best New Musical) and Lucky Stiff. For the feature film Anastasia, he was nominated for two Academy Awards and two Golden Globes. Other film includes Lucky Stiff, After The Stormand Bartok the Magnificent. Council, Dramatists Guild of America; co-founder, Dramatists Guild Fellows Program. His concert music has premiered at the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and the GuggenheiM. Stephen and longtime collaborator Lynn Ahrens received the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2014, and in 2015 they were inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. Upcoming: Anastasia on Broadway. www.ahrensandflaherty.com

Chita Rivera is an accomplished and versatile actress/singer/dancer and has won two Tony Awards as Best Leading Actress in a Musical and received eight additional Tony nominations for an exceptional 10 Tony nominations. She recently starred in The Visit, the final John Kander/Fred Ebb/Terrence McNally musical directed by John Doyle and choreographed by Graciela Daniele on Broadway (2015), following the acclaimed production at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the summer of 2014. She starred in the Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the Broadway and touring productions of The Dancer's Life, a dazzling new musical celebrating her spectacular career, written by Terrence McNally and directed by Graciela Daniele and the revival of the Broadway musical Nine with Antonio Banderas. She trained as a ballerina (from age 11) before receiving a scholarship to the School of American Ballet from legendary George Balanchine. Chita's first appearance (age 17) was as a principal dancer in Call Me Madam. Her electric performance as Anita in the original Broadway premiere of West Side Story brought her stardom, which she repeated in London. Her career is highlighted by starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink (Tony Award), Chicago, Jerry's Girls, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award), and the original Broadway casts of Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven and Mr. Wonderful. On tour: Born Yesterday, The Rose Tattoo, Call Me Madam, Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate, Zorba, Can-Can with The Rockettes. Chita was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009. She received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in 2002 and became the first Hispanic woman ever chosen to receive this award. In November, 2016 she headlined at Carnegie Hall and in 2015, Great Performances aired their special Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin' To Do, a retrospective of her extraordinary life and career nationally on PBS. Chita's current solo CD is entitled And Now I Swing. Her most treasured production is her daughter, singer/dancer/choreographer Lisa Mordente.

Jonathan Stuart Cerullo recently won Best Director for Fictitious, a new musical by Paul Cozby and Tom Hyndman at SOUNDBITES sponsored by Disney Theatricals and MTI for Theatre Now New York. Last year, he directed Chance for the Fresh Fruit Festival and Sid's Treasure at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He also directed Windywoo and Her Naughty Naughty Pets, choreographed Lisa and Leonardo for NYMF, directed and staged Harold Rome's, Pins and Needles for NYC La Mama. Choreographed Under Fire, which won the NYMF 2009 Best of Fest, Midsummer Nights for Musical Theatre Works, Wonderful Town at ELT, Camelot at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, and directed Uta Hagen's 50-Year Tribute as well as being her dance instructor for Six Dance Lessons at the Geffen Playhouse in LA. For television Jonathan, has choreographed for Great Performances Evening at Pops "Orpheus in the Underworld", and Dear Mr. Gershwin, at Canada's Royal Theatre for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He choreographed the Big Apple Circus' Carnivale and Picturesque at Lincoln Center and was Choreography Consultant for the Broadway production of, Say Goodnight, Gracie, starring the late Frank Gorshin. Additional Broadway credits include, assistant director/choreographer for Band in Berlin, associate choreographer for Anna Karenina and assistant to director Joe Layton on The Three Musketeers. As a dancer, he was featured on Broadway in Legs Diamond, the national tour of CATS, and Sweet Charity with Donna McKechnie. His film and television work also includes assistant to the choreographer on The First Wives Club, Donny Osmond's This Is the Moment, and Natalie Cole's Christmas Special. Jonathan also had the pleasure of working with Bette Midler by creating the Special Effects Movement for her in Paramount Pictures, The Stepford Wives. Jonathan is developing Willie and Me, In the Spotlight Again, based on the life of circus artist, Emmett Kelly. He is a proud member of the Stage Director and Choreographers Society, Actors Equity Association, and The Dramatist Guild, and is a nominator on the SDC Foundation Callaway Award Committee and the Lucille Lortel Awards recognizing Off-Broadway theatre. For a more in depth profile please visit his web site at www.jsctheatricals.com.

Peter Filichia has spent most of the last 45 years writing about theater as a critic for a daily newspaper (The Star-Ledger in Newark, NJ), a magazine (TheaterWeek) and as a weekly Internet columnist (Playbill, Theatermania, Music Theatre International, Broadway Direct and Masterworks Broadway). He is the author of Let's Put on a Musical; The Biggest Hit of the Season/The Biggest Flop of the Season; Broadway Musicals' Most Valuable Players; Strippers, Showgirls, and Sharks and The Great Parade. His play Games, about bullying, has seen high school productions in all 50 states and six foreign countries. His play, Adam's Gifts: A New Christmas Carol was a finalist for a Terrence McNally Award. He has been president of the Drama Desk Awards and holds that post now with the Theatre World Awards. He has served as an assessor for the National Endowment for the Arts, a nominator for the Lucille Lortel Awards, and for the past 21 years has been both the musical theater judge for the ASCAP Awards program and the critic-in-residence for the University of Cincinnati-Conservatory of Music.

Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer) now in its 48th year of continuous operation is New York City's award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since 1968. Amas ("you love" in Latin) is devoted to the creation, development and professional production of new American musicals through the celebration of diversity and minority perspectives, the emergence of new artistic talent, and the training and encouragement of underserved young people in the New York area. In recent years, Amas has emerged as a leading not-for-profit laboratory for new musicals, the most recent being Broadway and the Bard, starring Len Cariou and Red Eye of Love, which was awarded the Joseph A. Callaway Award for Outstanding Choreography. Its production of The Other Josh Cohen received six 2013 Drama Desk nominations including Outstanding Musical, a 2013 Lucille Lortel nomination for Outstanding Musical, and a 2013 Off-Broadway Alliance nomination for Best New Musical. Other shows that Amas has developed include A Taste of Chocolate, Triassic Parq, The Countess of Storyville, Distant Thunder, Marry Harry, Me and Miss Monroe, Aesop & Company, Signs of Life, Wanda's World, Shout! The Mod Musical, Lone Star Love, From My Hometown, Zanna, Don't!, 4 Guys Named Jose and Stormy Weather: Reimagining Lena Horne. Amas education programs include the Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy, Lens on Live Theatre and in-school theatre arts residencies designed in partnership with elementary, middle, and high schools.

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