David Hyde Pierce & Mary Testa to Host Playwrights Horizons' Annual Gala Honoring Bob Moss this May

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David Hyde Pierce & Mary Testa to Host Playwrights Horizons' Annual Gala Honoring Bob Moss this May

Acclaimed Off-Broadway theater company Playwrights Horizons will hold its annual Spring Gala on Monday evening, May 5 at the event space 583 Park Avenue.

Titled "IN THE BEGINNING", the evening will honor the theater company's Founding Artistic Director Bob Moss. An artistic director, stage director and teacher for thirty-seven years, Bob founded Playwrights Horizons in 1971 and gave the theater its unique and enduring mission. Three years later, Bob moved the theater to then-derelict West 42nd Street. He founded the 42nd Street Gang, which, with the 42nd Street Development Corporation, envisioned and spearheaded the renovation and creation of 42nd Street's Theatre Row, and gave Playwrights a permanent home. He served as the company's Artistic Director for ten years through 1981. He was also the director of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School, an affiliate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He continues to direct and teach at theaters and colleges across the country, and has mentored hundreds of young theater actors, writers and directors.

The evening will be co-hosted by two of the company's alumni actors: two-time Tony Award winner David Hyde Pierce (at PH in Richard Greenberg's The Maderati in 1987) and two-time Tony Award nominee, two-time Obie Award winner and 2012 Special Drama Desk Award winner Mary Testa (at PH in William Finn's In Trousers in 1979, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Lucky Stiff in 1988, Tom Donaghy's From Above in 1998/Obie Award and Kathleen Tolan's The Wax in 2000).

The evening's celebration will feature performances and testimonials from some of the many Playwrights Horizons alumni nurtured by Bob Moss. Participating artists will be announced in the coming weeks.

Board Chair Judith O. Rubin and Board member Rachel Wilder will serve as Gala Board Co-Chairs; Carol & Tom Creel and James W. & Virginia M. Giddens will serve as Gala Patron Co-Chairs and Scott Slobodnyak will serve as Gala Generation PH Chair. The Tribute Committee includes theater artists Edward Albee, Walter Bobbie, Kathleen Chalfant, William Finn and Rosemary Harris.

The Spring Gala is the organization's largest fundraising event of the year, with donations earmarked to support six annual productions, the development of new plays and musicals, ticket subsidies and programs for students and early-career professionals. The programs cultivate the next generation of artists, arts managers and theatergoers.

For forty-three years, Playwrights Horizons has been the only major Off-Broadway theater dedicated solely to producing new American work. It's a mission that's always timely, always crucial, and it sets the organization apart from every other theater in the country. Six annual productions are the public face of the organization. Writers are also served by the New Works Lab, which includes script evaluations, readings, workshops and commissions. Playwrights Horizons operates Ticket Central, a box office service, as well as affordable rehearsal and performance spaces at 440 Studios. The next generation of artists, arts managers and theatergoers are cultivated through a Theatrical Residency Program, the Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU and audience development initiatives.

With the participation of subscribers and supporters, Playwrights Horizons continue to be a vibrant leader in the development of new American plays and musicals and a standard-bearer for excellence in the theater world. As a not-for-profit organization, charitable donations account for nearly 40% of the annual budget. Each year an average of 84% is spent on productions and programs, with only 16% spent on administrative overhead and fundraising.

Cocktails and a Silent Auction will begin at 6PM, followed by dinner at 7:30PM and the evening's entertainment. In addition to the Silent Auction, which is exclusive to those attending the Gala, an advance online auction will run April 4-21 and is administered through Bidding For Good. Past items have included "The Walking Dead" and "Boardwalk Empire" premieres and premiere parties; VIP seats at a Jay Z concert and backstage tour of the Barclay Center; house seats to Broadway shows and lunches with the stars; and a trip to London with airfare from American Airlines, housing and theater tickets.

Ticket prices for the Gala start at $1,000 and can be reserved by calling Michelle Kiefel at (212) 564-1235 extension 3143 or online at www.PHnyc.org.

Bob Moss has been an artistic director for thirty-seven years, beginning in 1970 at Edward Albee's Playwrights Unit. In fall 1971, Bob continued to work with new playwrights at the West Side YWCA and founded Playwrights Horizons, which moved to 42nd Street three years later. During his tenure, Playwrights Horizons produced new works by more than 150 writers including Wendy Wasserstein, Albert Innaurato, James Lapine and William Finn. Moss was also the founder of the Forty-Second Street Gang, which, with the 42nd Street Development Corporation spearheaded the renovation and creation of 42nd Street's Theatre Row. After ten years at Playwrights Horizons and the Queens Theater in the Park, Bob became a freelance director and the director of the Playwrights Horizons Theater School, an affiliate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. In 1982 Bob became the Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY, where he remained until 1996 when he became artistic director of Syracuse Stage through to 2008. He has been a Board Member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, Theater Communications Group, the Drama League Directors Project, and a panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Free-lance directing and teaching includes the McCarter Theatre, The Old Globe, Hollins University, Ithaca College, New York University and Syracuse University.

Next up in Playwrights Horizons' 2013/2014 Season is STAGE KISS, the New York premiere of a new play by two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony Award nominee Sarah Ruhl, directed by Rebecca Taichman (Feb 7-March 23). Following STAGE KISS, the Playwrights Horizons' 2013/2014 Season will continue with YOUR MOTHER'S COPY OF THE KAMA SUTRA, the World Premiere of a new play by Kirk Lynn, directed by Anne Kauffman (March 28-May 11); and conclude with FLY BY NIGHT: A NEW MUSICAL, conceived by Kim Rosenstock, written by Will Connolly, Michael Mitnick and Ms. Rosenstock, directed by Carolyn Cantor (May 16-June 29).

Playwrights Horizons is a writer's theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American playwrights, composers and lyricists and to the production of their new work. Under the leadership of artistic director Tim Sanford and managing director Leslie Marcus, the theater company continues to encourage the new work of veteran writers while nurturing an emerging generation of theater artists. In its 43 years, Playwrights Horizons has presented the work of more than 400 writers and has received numerous awards and honors, including a special 2008 Drama Desk Award for "ongoing support to generations of theater artists and undiminished commitment to producing new work." Notable productions include five Pulitzer Prize winners - Bruce Norris's Clybourne Park (2012 Tony Award, Best Play), Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife (2004 Tony Award, Best Play), Wendy Wasserstein's The Heidi Chronicles (1989 Tony Award, Best Play), Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park with George - as well as Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns - A Post-Electric Play, Lisa D'Amour's Detroit (2013 Obie Award, Best New American Play); Samuel D. Hunter's The Whale (2013 Lortel Award, Best Play); Annie Baker's The Flick (2013 Obie Award, 2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize) and Circle Mirror Transformation (three 2010 Obie Awards including Best New American Play); Kirsten Greenidge's Milk Like Sugar (2012 Obie Award); Gina Gionfriddo's Rapture, Blister, Burn; Dan LeFranc's The Big Meal; Amy Herzog's The Great God Pan and After the Revolution; Bathsheba Doran's Kin; Adam Bock's A Small Fire; Edward Albee's Me, Myself & I; Melissa James Gibson's This (2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist); Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie's Grey Gardens (three 2007 Tony Awards); Craig Lucas's Prayer For My Enemy and Small Tragedy (2004 Obie Award, Best American Play); Adam Rapp's Kindness; Sarah Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone; Lynn Nottage's Fabulation (2005 Obie Award for Playwriting); Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero; David Greenspan's She Stoops to Comedy (2003 Obie Award); Kirsten Childs's The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (2000 Obie Award); Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey's James Joyce's The Dead (2000 Tony Award, Best Book); Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins; William Finn's March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland; Christopher Durang's Betty's Summer Vacation and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You; Richard Nelson's Goodnight Children Everywhere; Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Once on This Island; Jon Robin Baitz's The Substance of Fire; Scott McPherson's Marvin's Room; A.R. Gurney's Later Life; Adam Guettel and Tina Landau's Floyd Collins; and Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley's Violet.

Photo by Joan Marcus

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