Playwrights Horizons 2012 Gala to Honor James Lapine, Stephen Sondheim, and More!

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Off-Broadway theater company Playwrights Horizons will hold its annual Spring Gala on Monday evening, June 11th at the event space 583 Park Avenue. Titled "The Highest Standard", the evening will celebrate its five Pulitzer Prize-winning productions and honor the creators of these memorable works for the theater. The honorees are James Lapine (Sunday in the Park with George), Bruce Norris (Clybourne Park), Stephen Sondheim (Sunday in the Park with George), Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy), Wendy Wasserstein (The Heidi Chronicles) and Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife).

The evening will consist of songs from Sunday in the Park with George, excerpts from the Pulitzer Prize-winning plays and tributes by those connected to the projects. Participating artists will be announced in the coming weeks.

Trustee Paul Travis (Managing Partner, Washington Square Partners) serves as Gala Board Chair. Scott C. McDonald (Senior Vice President, Cond? Nast) is the Gala Patron Chair and Pauline Oudin (Managing Director, Sopexa) is the Gala Generation PH Chair.

Playwrights Horizons is a not-for-profit organization, and almost 40% of its annual budget is supported by donations from individuals and institutions. 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, a Theatrical Residency Program and ticket subsidy initiatives. These programs cultivate the next generation of artists, arts managers and theatergoers.

Cocktails and a Silent Auction will begin at 6PM, followed by dinner at 7:45PM and the evening's entertainment. Complete details on the Silent Auction and an online auction, which will begin on April 29 and run through May 14, will be announced in the coming weeks.

Ticket prices for the Gala start at $1,000 and can be reserved by calling Michelle Kiefel at 212-564-1235 extension 3143.

James Lapine won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama with Stephen Sondheim for the musical Sunday in the Park with George, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons and then transferred to Broadway. Among other awards, the production earned Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards and a Tony Award nomination, all for Best Musical. For his work, Mr. Lapine received Drama Desk Awards and Tony Award nominations for both Best Book and Best Direction. He has also written and/or directed the following shows at Playwrights Horizons: Table Settings, March of the Falsettos, Into the Woods (workshop), Falsettoland, The Moment When and Fran's Bed.

Bruce Norris won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Clybourne Park, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons. It also won the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Play in London. The original Playwrights Horizons production will open on Broadway this April. He was also represented at Playwrights Horizons with his play The Pain and the Itch.

Stephen Sondheim won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama with James Lapine for the musical Sunday in the Park with George, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons and then transferred to Broadway. Among other awards, the production earned Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards and a Tony Award nomination, all for Best Musical. For his score, Mr. Sondheim received a Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award nomination. His other work at Playwrights Horizons includes the original workshop for Into the Woods and the world premiere production of Assassins.

Alfred Uhry won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Driving Miss Daisy, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons and then transferred to Off-Broadway's John Houseman Theatre for a three year run. The film version won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as Best Picture, in 1990. The play made its Broadway debut last season and is currently playing in London's West End starring James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave.

Wendy Wasserstein (1950-2006) won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for her play The Heidi Chronicles, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons. It transferred to Broadway and also won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize; the New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards; and earned her a grant from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays. She also adapted it for TNT, earning a 1996 Emmy Award nomination for Best Television Movie. She was also represented at Playwrights Horizons by her play Isn't It Romantic, which transferred to Off-Broadway's Lucile Lortel Theatre for a nearly two-year run.

Doug Wright won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for his play I Am My Own Wife, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons. It transferred to Broadway and also won the Tony Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award, a GLAAD Media Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama League Award and a Lucille Lortel Award. Also at Playwrights Horizons, he wrote the book for the musical Grey Gardens, which transferred to Broadway and earned him Tony and Drama Desk nominations for Best Book. It also earned Tony and Drama Desk nominations for Best Musical.

Currently in previews at Playwrights Horizons is the New York Premiere of Dan LeFranc's The Big Meal, directed by Sam Gold. The production will open Wednesday, March 21 at Playwrights Horizons' Peter Jay Sharp Theater as a limited engagement through Sunday, April 22nd.

Also playing is the New York Premiere of Assistance, a new comedy by Leslye Headland, directed by Trip Cullman. It runs on Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage through Sunday, March 11.

The final production of the company's 2011/2012 Season will be Rapture, Blister, Burn, the World Premiere of a new play by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Obie Award-winner Gina Gionfriddo. Directed by Peter DuBois, it will begin performances Friday, May 18 at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater, opening Tuesday, June 12 as a limited engagement through Sunday, June 24. Rapture, Blister, Burn was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons with funds from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. The Playwrights Horizons production of Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris will begin performances on Broadway at The Walter Kerr Theater on Monday, March 26.

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 41 years, Playwrights Horizons has presented the work of more than 375 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' Clybourne Park (soon to open on Broadway), 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 Bathsheba Doran's Kin, Bruce Norris' The Pain and the Itch, Annie Baker's Circle Mirror Transformation (three 2010 Obie Awards including Best New American Play), Edward Albee's Me, Myself & I, Amy Herzog's After the Revolution, 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, 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.

www.playwrightshorizons.org

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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