Arianna Huffington, Sharon Bush & Joan Vail Thorne Named 2014 'Women of Achievement' by Women's Project Theater

Arianna Huffington, Sharon Bush & Joan Vail Thorne Named 2014 'Women of Achievement' by Women's Project Theater

Sharon Bush, Philanthropist & Founder/Chief Executive Officer of Teddy Share, Arianna Huffington, Chair, President & Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, and Joan Vail Thorne, playwright and director, are Women's Project Theater's 2014 Women of Achievement who will be inducted at its 29th Annual Gala Celebration at the Mandarin Oriental, 80 Columbus Circle, Monday, March 10, at 6:00pm. Veanne Cox and Doug Wamble will lead a musical tribute to lyricist Dorothy Fields. Also on hand for the evening are presenters David Hyde Pierce and Stanley Zareff.

"Each year, Women's Project Theater takes pride in celebrating the extraordinary accomplishments of women from the worlds of entertainment and business. Past recipients include Joanna Coles, Donna Kalajian Lagani, Sheila Nevins, Charlotte St. Martin, Thia Breen, Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, Mindy Grossman, Bebe Neuwirth, Kathleen Turner, Dame Judi Dench, Gloria Steinem, Tina Brown, Eve Ensler, Whoopi Goldberg, Annie Leibovitz, Estelle Parsons, Laurie Anderson, Suzanne Vega and Joan Osborne to name but a few," said Julie Crosby, the Producing Artistic Director of Women's Project Theater.

Lucia Hwong Gordon (Women Achievement Award Winner 2009) is chair for the Gala celebration and co-chairs are Jennifer Chambers, Susan Ciminelli, Cassandra Del Viscio, Wendy Federman, Linda Healey, Michelle-Marie Heinemann, Paul Kim, Donald J. Loftus, Joy Marks, Pamela Morgan, Arlene Scanlan, Cassandra Seidenfeld, Lisa Simonsen, and Andrea Warshaw-Wernick. Honorary co-chairs are Paola Bacchini Rosenshein, Laura Zambelli Barket, Christine Mortimer Biddle, Lady Liliana Cavendish, Anne Chaisson, Kathleen Chalfant, Bruce Cohen, Stacey Cooper, Julie Crosby, Countess Luann de Lesseps, Fe Fendi, Angelina Fiordellisi, Sara Herbert Galloway and Barry Klarberg, Nurit Kahane Haase, Tania Higgins, Kathryn and David Henry Hwang, Armistead Johnson, Cheri Kaufman, Casey Kemper, Jeanine Jeo-Hi Kim, Karen Klopp, Marcia Gail Levine, Maribel Lieberman, Jennifer and Stephen Maguire, Kathryn C. Mayer, Montserrat Mendez, Chau-Giang Thi Nguyen, Laura Pozvolska Nicklas, Maggie Norris, Barbara and Peter Regna, Muna Rihani and Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Michele Rella, Denise Rich, Lauren Day Roberts, Sheila Rosenblum, Sandra Rosenthal, Noreen and Peter Thomas Roth, Adrienne Saldaña, Jean and Martin Shafiroff, David Singleton, Dara Sowell, Tina and David Storper, Barbara and Donald Tober, Lauren Vernon, Tia Walker, Debra and Gregg Wasser, Carole Bellidora Westfall, Barbara Winston, and Deborah Zeigler

Single Tickets are $5000, $2500, $1000, $750. Tables of ten are $50,000, $25,000 and $12,500. For more ticket purchasing information click www.wptheater.org/special-events/women-of-achievement-awards-gala/, call 212.765.1706 or email lanie.zipoy@womensproject.org.
Background on the 29th Anniversary of Women of Achievement Award

This year's Women of Achievement Awards mark the 29th Anniversary of the Women of Achievement Awards. Past notable recipients include Toni Morrison, Beverly Sills, Diane Sawyer, Donna Karan, Susan Sarandon, Katie Couric, Lauren Bacall, Maya Angelous, Twyla Tharp and Kerry Washington, among many others. In 1999, the late Gerald Schoenfeld of the Shubert Organization became the first and only male recipient of the award.

Sharon Bush is philanthropist and child advocate. A former teacher, Ms. Bush is the CEO and founder of Teddy Share, a charitable organization formed to help end child hunger through the sale of its products. She is a founding board member of Kipp Academy (Knowledge is Power Program). Ms. Bush was instrumental in fundraising and helping build this school system for underprivileged children around the country from one school to forty-five schools. She was named national mother of year in 2001 with Jane Seymour and Nancy Kerrigan. In 2013, Ms. Bush received a second national award --the Mother Hale Award-- from the New York City Hale House. She was the Founder and President of the Karitas Foundation, formed to raise funds for children's causes nationally. She ran this organization for 12 years when her father-in-law George Bush Senior was Vice President and President. Ms. Bush is also a former board member of the Houston Child Abuse Prevention Network. She raised substantial funds for Special Olympics, as well as serving as a founding board member of Dress for Success Houston. Ms. Bush graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Elementary Education.

Arianna Huffington is the chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of thirteen books. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. In 2013, she was named to the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. In 2006, and again in 2011, she was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on several boards, including EL PAÍS, PRISA, the Center for Public Integrity, and the Committee to Protect Journalists. Her 14th book, THRIVE: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder will be published by Crown in March 2014.

Joan Vail Thorne began her professional directing career at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. upon returning from a year of study on a Fulbright Grant in the United Kingdom. She continued to direct at regional theatres throughout the country, and served as Assistant Director to the esteemed American director, Alan Schneider, on Broadway. She also directed at numerous Off Broadway theaters, foremost among them, Women's Project Theater. Ms. Thorne is also a playwright, screenwriter and librettist. As a playwright she is best known for her play, The Exact Center of the Universe, which premiered at the Women's Project Theater with Frances Sternhagen in the starring role and then reopened for a commercial run Off Broadway. Her play, The Things You Least Expect, premiered at the George Street Playhouse. Both plays are published by Dramatists Play Service. She has won the Southern Playwrights Festival, the Southern Theatre Festival and the Sarett/Cawford Awards. She has written two libretti and three texts for narrator and orchestra with the composer, Stephen Paulus, and a third libretto with composer, Linda Tutas Haugen. Two of her screenplays were commissioned by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for American Playhouse, and she has both written and directed two short films, Last Rites, shown on PBS and Secrets, shown on Cinemax. Ms. Thorne has served on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Pace University and Playwrights Horizons Theatre School, a studio of The Tisch School of the Arts of NYU, where she currently teaches directing. She was President of the Board of Plays for Living and Vice President of the Board of The Women's Project, and she is a Founding Director of History Matters/Back to the Future. She won the Distinguished Alumna Award of Sweet Briar College. Ms. Thorne is a member of ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Directors and Choreographers, the Lotos Club, the Usual Suspects of New York Theatre Workshop and the Women's Project Theater.

Dorothy Fields (1905 - 1974) is the librettist and lyricist who wrote 400 songs and worked on 15 musicals. She is remembered for the words still sung in such standards as "I Can't Give You Anything But Love", "On the Sunny Side of the Street", "The Way You Look Tonight", "Pick Yourself Up", "I'm In the Mood For Love", "I Won't Dance", "A Fine Romance", "Big Spender", "If My Friends Could See Me Now", "Hooray For Love", and "I'm In The Mood For Love" for such shows or movies as Roberta, I Dream Too Much, Swing Time, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, and Two for the Seesaw with such collaborators as Jimmy McHugh, Jerome Kern, Fritz Kreisler, Sigmund Romberg, Arthur Schwartz, Richard Rogers and Cy Colman.

Background on 36 Years of Presenting Women Theater Artists
Women's Project Theater is playing a hot hand this season with Jessica Dickey's Row After Row (closed February 16), the five-playwright The Architecture of Becoming (February 28 - March 23) and Catherine Trieschmann's The Most Deserving (March 30 - May 4) after last season's widely acclaimed and Lortel Award-nominated plays Bethany by Laura Marks and Jackie by Elfriede Jelinek.

Women's Project was founded in 1978 by Julia Miles to address the significant under-representation of women in the American theater, and has since built a tremendous legacy. Although even today women playwrights and directors severely lack parity in pay and opportunity, the extraordinary women artists who have broken through the glass ceiling have all first crossed the threshold at WP, including Eve Ensler, Lynn Nottage, Maria Irene Fornes, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sarah Ruhl, Paula Vogel, and Anna Deavere Smith, among the many. Throughout its 36-year history, Women's Project Theater has produced and/or developed over 600 plays and published 11 anthologies of plays.

The artistic heart of Women's Project Theater lies in the Lab: a two-year residency program for women playwrights, directors and producers. The Lab provides members with a vital professional network, entrepreneurial and leadership training, rehearsal space, and most significantly, tangible opportunities for the development and production of bold new work for the stage.

Recently acclaimed plays produced by Women's Project Theater prior to last season include How the World Began, Milk Like Sugar, Freshwater, Aliens with Extraordinary Skills, crooked, Sand, Or, Smudge, Lascivious Something and Apple Cove.

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