The Civilians Honor High Line Co-Founder Robert Hammond, 4/23

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Renowned investigative theatre company The Civilians celebrates its 2011-2012 season with the presentation of its first ever Civilian of the Year Award. The Civilians will honor Robert Hammond, co-founder of The High Line, at its 2012 Benefit on April 23rd at the Highline Ballroom Hammond will be fêted by the company's Associate Artists as well as additional stage and screen stars in a one-night-only performance of interviews and songs by Michael J. Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) about Hammond and the creation of The High Line, put together in The Civilians' signature investigative style. Interviewees for this unique performance include Amanda Burden (Director of the Department of City Planning), Florent Morellet (Restaurant Owner), and Bronson Van Wyck (Event Planner).

The performance will also feature favorite Civilians songs and scenes from past shows, as well as material from current projects. The annual party will take place on Monday, April 23rd, beginning at 7:00pm at one of New York City's hottest new cultural venues, The Highline Ballroom (431 W. 16th Street). Steven Cosson, Artistic Director of The Civilians, directs.

Tony nominees John Ellison Conlee (The Full Monty) and Daniel Jenkins (Billy Elliot) join The Civilians Associate Artists Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Matthew Dellapina, Dan Domingues, Daoud Heidami, Nina Hellman, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Kelly McCreary, Greg McFadden, Caitlin Miller, Jennifer R. Morris, Maria Elena Ramirez, Jeanine Serralles, Robbie Collier Sublett, and Sam Breslin Wright. The evening kicks off with hors d'oeuvres and a cocktail hour followed by the one-night-only performance.

Additional special guests to be announced.

The Highline Committee for the 2012 Benefit includes Christopher and Jean Angell, Michael Cerveris, Henry and Kathleen Chalfant, Scott Delman, Erica Dixon and Sean Hagerty, Mamie Gummer and Benjamin Walker, Jessica and Matt Harris, Logan Marshall-Green, Benjamin Millepied and Natalie Portman, José Rivera, Beverly Morris and John Bergman.

Previous Civilians events have attracted such celebrities as Academy Award-winner Marisa Tomei, Emily Mortimer, Broadway's Karen Ziemba, Celia Keenan-Bolger, and Mary Testa, among others.

The 2012 Benefit is sponsored by Chopin Vodka and Lagunitas.

The Civilians' YOU BETTER SIT DOWN: Tales from My Parents' Divorce is currently running at the Flea Theatre through May 6th. For tickets visit www.theflea.org.

Michael Friedman has been the composer/lyricist for The Civilians' productions of IN THE FOOTPRINT, THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY, (I AM) NOBODY'S LUNCH, GONE MISSING and CANARD, CANARD, GOOSE? He has written the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical BLOODY BLOODY Andrew Jackson, as well as the scores for SAVED, IN THE BUBBLE, THE BRAND NEW KID, and GOD'S EAR.

Steven Cosson, with The Civilians, is co-writer/director of the company's IN THE FOOTPRINT, THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY, PARIS COMMUNE, the long-running hit GONE MISSING, and (I AM) NOBODY'S LUNCH. He has also directed productions for Hartford Stage, Soho Rep, Williamstown and O'Neill Conference Center.

Led by Artistic Director Steve Cosson, The Civilians - which celebrated its 10th anniversary season in 2011- is a center for investigative theater, supporting the development and production of new theater from creative inquiries into the most vital questions of the present. The Civilians expands the scope of American theater and champions innovation by tackling complex and under-explored subjects, enabling artists to enrich their creative processes through in-depth interaction with their topics, diversifying artistic voices and audiences, and integrating theater with new media. The creation of work may involve community residencies, travel, face-to-face conversations, extensive research, and other investigative means. The Civilians was founded in 2001 and since have supported the creation of 12 original works. The Civilians' projects have been produced at numerous theaters in New York including The Public Theater and Vineyard Theatre; nationally at Center Theatre Group, A.R.T., La Jolla Playhouse, HBO's US Comedy Festival, Studio Theatre, and Actors Theatre of Louisville among others. Works by the company have toured extensively to arts presenters and festivals with presentations in over 40 cities nationally and internationally. The company's past work has been featured in The New York Times top ten list and received an Obie and Fringe First Award, as well as Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk and Drama Guild nominations. The Civilians' work is published by Dramatists Play Service, Oberon Books, Playscripts, and Ghostlight Records.

The Civilians' 2012 Spring Benefit will be held Monday, April 23 at Highline Ballroom (431 West 16th Street), 7pm-11pm. Tickets begin at $75, with all proceeds to benefit The Civilians. For tickets, call 718-230-3330 or visit, www.thecivilians.org/benefit2012.html. For more information, visit www.thecivilians.org.

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