Hwang Honored at 4/23 Benefit, with Llana, Gambatese

The OBIE Award-winning Ma-Yi Theater Company, one of the leading theater companies in the U.S. devoted to presenting work about the Asian-American experience, honors Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang and Loida Nicolas Lewis, a best-selling author and the Asian-American CEO of TLC Beatrice, as part of its Seventh Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner on Monday, April 23 at the New York Hilton's Trianon Ballroom (1335 Avenue of the Americas at West 53rd Street), beginning at 6:30pm.
 
Supporters of the theatre gather to raise funds and honor Hwang and Lewis, who respectively will receive Leader in Arts and Leader in Community Service awards in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the Asian American community. Previous winners include Ellen Stewart, founder of La MaMa ETC, and Broadway veteran Cely Carillo Onrubia. Bessie Badilla del Castillo and acclaimed painter Lolita Valderrama Savage are co-chairs.
 
Broadway stars Jenn Gambatese (Tarzan) and Jose Llana (Spelling Bee) respectively will perform songs from Disney's Tarzan and the 2002 revival of Flower Drum Song, musicals whose books were written by honoree David Henry Hwang. Keo Woolford, best known for his starring turn in the recent West End revival of The King and I, will perform scenes from his upcoming Off-Broadway play I Land, being presented by Ma-Yi Theater Company, April 20-May 13 at The Culture Project-SoHo.
 
"We are so pleased to be honoring Mr. Hwang and Ms. Lewis," says Ma-Yi Executive Director Jorge Ortoll. "Mr. Hwang has been instrumental in giving voice to Asian Americans, and Ms. Lewis has given so much of herself to the community."
 
Playwright David Henry Hwang is best known for his Tony Award-winning Best Play M. Butterfly, which also received a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play in 1988. Many of his plays look at Asian and Chinese Americans in the modern world. His other plays include the Tony-nominated Golden Child, the Pulitzer Prize-finalist The Dance and the Railroad, the OBIE Award-winning FOB, Family Devotions, Sound and Beauty, and Face Value, among others. He has written the book for several musicals, including Aida, the 2002 revival of Flower Drum Song, and Disney's Tarzan, currently on Broadway.  Hwang is the author of several screenplays, including David Cronenberg's adaptation of M. Butterfly, Neil LaBute's Possession, John Madden's Golden Gate and the NBC mini-series "The Lost Empire." He served, by appointment of President Bill Clinton, on the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Hwang's newest play, Yellow Face, is scheduled to premiere in 2007 at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum and New York's Public Theater.
 
Philippines-born Loida Nicolas Lewis is chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice, the Lewis Family investment firm, and its precursor, TLC Beatrice International conglomerate she headed after its founder, her husband Reginald F. Lewis passed away in 1993. She is the first Asian woman to pass the New York Bar without going to law school in the United States.  Lewis became an Immigration General Attorney after she won a discrimination case against the U.S. government. She is the co-author of "How to Get a Green Card" a bestseller in its genre and is the speaker for "Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?,"  Lewis' biography. She is one of the founders of the advocacy group National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), of which she was National Chair until last year. Ms. Lewis is also one of the founders of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).
 
In addition to the performances and awards presentation, the evening includes dinner and silent auction featuring International trips with five-star accommodations, jewelry, original artwork, dinner at gourmet restaurants, and tickets to Broadway shows. 
  
Ma-Yi Theater Company's 7th Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner will be held Monday, April 23 at the New York Hilton's Trianon Ballroom (1335 Avenue of the Americas at West 53rd Street). Reception begins at 6:30pm. Individual tickets are $275, two for $500, or a table of 10 for $2,000. For reservations and additional information, call Ma-Yi Theater Company at 212-971-4862 or visit www.ma-yitheatre.org.

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