Photo Coverage: Amas Musical Theatre 40th Anniversary Gala
Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Producing Artistic Director; Rosetta LeNoire, Founder), celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a Gala evening on Monday, March 30th featuring a special "Blast from the Past" concert of songs and numbers from four decades of Amas Musicals, including Bubbling Brown Sugar, It's So Nice to Be Civilized, Zanna Don't!, SHOUT! The Mod Musical, Four Guys Named Jose, Stormy Weather, Langston Hughes's Little Ham, From My Hometown, Lone Star Love, and Wanda's World, among others.
The event will took place at the Lighthouse International, 111 East 59th Street, at 7pm.
The Amas Anniversary Gala also honored multiple Grammy winning singer and philanthropist Dionne Warwick and prominent producer, director and writer Woodie King, Jr. with "The Rosie Award", named for Amas Founder Rosetta LeNoire.
Dionne Warwick has established herself as an international musical legend for almost five decades. She is perhaps best known for her partnership with songwriters and producers Burt Bacharach and Hal David ("Make it Easy on Yourself", "Walk on By"', "Do You Know the Way to San Jose", "Alfie", "Say a Little Prayer", etc.). According to Billboard magazine, Warwick is second only to Aretha Franklin as the female vocalist with the most Billboard Hot 100 chart hits during the rock era (1955-1999), with 56. Activist and humanitarian, she is United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, former United States Ambassador of Health, and a longtime leader galvanizing the international music industry's efforts against AIDS.
Prolific and award-winning producer, director and writer Woodie King, Jr. is the founder of the ground-breaking New Federal Theatre and the National Black Touring Circuit, where he remains Producing Director to this day. King has produced shows both On and Off Broadway, and has directed performances across the country in venues like the New York Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Playhouse, Center Stage of Baltimore and the Pittsburgh Public Theatre. His work has earned him numerous nominations and awards over the years, including a 1988 NAACP Image Award, the 2003 Paul Robeson Award and 2005 Rosetta LeNoire Award from Actors' Equity, and an Obie Award for Sustained Achievement.
The "Blast From The Past" Benefit Concert featured a host of songs and dance numbers from shows produced and/or originated at Amas, sung by top Broadway professionals, many of whom were in the original productions. The director and choreographer for the evening is Amas Artist-in-Residence Maria Torres, with musical direction by William McDaniel.
The evening festivities also included the presentation of the fifth annual Rosetta LeNoire Scholarship, which is given to a deserving college-bound student attending Amas' theatre arts education program, The Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy.
The event was catered by San Domenico and sponsored by Sopranos Wines.
Amas Musical Theatre is an award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since it was founded in 1968 by the late actress and producer Rosetta LeNoire. 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 inner-city young people.
For 40 years, Amas has engraved its unique trademark in the world of musical theatre, producing groundbreaking work embracing different cultural perspectives while reaching out to underserved audiences.
In recent years, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Donna Trinkoff, Amas has emerged as an important laboratory for the development of new work, many of which have moved to expanded touring, regional, commercial, and licensed productions after their Amas appearances. These include Wanda's World, Stormy Weather ... Imagining Lena Horne, SHOUT! The Mod Musical, Lone Star Love, Zanna Don't, From My Hometown, 4 Guys Named Jose ... and Una Mujer Named Maria, and Langston Hughes's Little Ham.
Celebrated Amas education programs span all grade levels and include in-school, after school, and weekend programming. The Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy is a pre-professional training program for teenagers. Each graduating class presents a full Off-Off-Broadway showcase production. The Immigration Experience is Amas' artists-in-school program for public middle and high school students to research their personal and communities' immigration histories and create performance pieces for their school and community. Lens on Live Theatre brings Amas Teaching Artists into the schools to explore theatre skills and themes related to Amas Mainstage shows.
The Amas Benefit is an annual event held to raise funds in support of Amas Musical Theatre's ongoing theatre and arts education programs.
Photos by Peter James Zielinksi
Woodie King, Jr.
Ramon Del Barrio and Eliseo Roman