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Aaron Tveit, Betty Buckley & More Set for Vineyard Theatre's 2015 Gala; John Waters Hosts


Vineyard Theatre today announced that Betty Buckley, Kathleen Chalfant, Holly Hunter, Tony Kushner, Matthew Morrison, Tonya Pinkins, Kate Mulgrew and Aaron Tveit will join host John Waters (Hairspray, Cry Baby) for their 2015 Gala honoring Tony Award-winning producer Margo Lion. The annual Gala Fundraiser will take place on Monday, March 30th, 2015, beginning at 6:30pm, at Edison Ballroom (240 West 47th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue). The Gala performance will be directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Hedwig, Spring Awakening, Brooklynite).

Vineyard board member and award-winning actress Kathleen Chalfant (Vineyard's Somewhere Fun, Wit, Angels in America) and producer Amanda Lipitz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Legally Blonde The Musical) are the Gala Co-Chairs.

About the evening, Ms. Stern says, "We have long admired what Margo has accomplished in the theatre; from Jelly's Last Jam to Angels in America to Hairspray. She has been responsible for bringing some of the most groundbreaking plays and musicals of the past three decades to the stage, and we are delighted to be celebrating her in what promises to be a very fun evening, featuring renowned artists and collaborators from the extraordinary works she has produced."

Margo Lion spent her first 18 years in Baltimore, Maryland. During and after college (Mills College and a B.A. from George Washington University), Lion worked in politics, first on Capitol Hill for Senator Daniel B. Brewster (D-Maryland) and then for Senator Robert F. Kennedy in his New York office. Following Senator Kennedy's death she taught school for six years. After spending three years at the University of Iowa's Playwrights Workshop where her former husband, Ted Nemeth, was a graduate student, Lion's focus turned from education to her earlier interest in theater. In 1977 she determined to become a theater producer. Her cousin, MacArthur Award recipient and director/choreographer Martha Clarke, introduced Lion to Lyn Austin from whom she learned the ropes with Austin's not-for-profit company, Music-Theater Group/Lenox Arts Center. Lion made the move to commercial theater in 1982 bringing with her the idea for a show about Jelly Roll Morton and the origins of jazz; ten years later, that show became the Broadway musical, Jelly's Last Jam. Lion is an adjunct professor and a member of the Dean's Council at the NYU Tisch School for the Arts. She serves on the Board of Directors of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and on the advisory boards of the Baltimore Young Women's Leadership School, The Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, and PUBLICOLOR. In 2009 Margo Lion was selected by President Barack Obama to co-chair the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, a position she continues to hold at this date. Lion's productions have garnered 20 Tony Awards, 4 Olivier Awards and 1 Pulitzer Prize. Following the opening of Hairspray, she was awarded the key to the city of Baltimore by then Mayor, Martin O'Malley.

John Waters has written and directed sixteen movies including Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Hairspray, Cry Baby, Serial Mom and A Dirty Shame. He is a photographer whose work has been shown in galleries all over the world and the author of seven books: Shock Value, Crackpot, Pink Flamingos and Other Trash, Hairspray, Female Trouble and Multiple Maniacs, and Art: A Sex Book (co-written with Bruce Hainley) and Role Models. Waters' book, Carsick, which chronicles his hitchhiking adventure across the United States in May of 2012 was published in June, 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and appeared on bestseller lists for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Denver Post and The Boston Globe. John Waters is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is on The Wexner Center International Arts Advisory Council. Additionally, he is a past member of the boards of The Andy Warhol Foundation and Printed Matter and was selected as a juror for the 2011 Venice Biennale. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Maryland Film Festival and has been a key participant in the Provincetown International Film Festival since it began in 1999, the same year Waters was honored as the first recipient of PIFF's "Filmmaker on the Edge" award. In September, 2014, Film Society of Lincoln Center honored John Waters' fifty years in filmmaking with a 10-day celebration entitled "Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take" featuring a complete retrospective of his film work.

Michael Mayer (Director) is currently represented on Broadway with Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He received the 2007 Tony Award, as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his production of Spring Awakening, which also played in London, Vienna, Tokyo, and Seoul. His other Broadway credits include: On A Clear Day You Can See Forever; Everyday Rapture, American Idiot (for which he won the Drama Desk Award for Direction), Side Man (Tony Award/Best Play)? Thoroughly Modern Millie (Tony Award/Best Musical), A View from the Bridge (Tony Award/Best Revival), Uncle Vanya, 'night, Mother, After the Fall, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Triumph of Love. National Tours: Angels in America, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spring Awakening, Charlie Brown, and American Idiot. Feature films: A Home at the End of the World and Flicka. Television credits include: "Smash" (Pilot) and "Alpha House" for Amazon Prime. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut with a celebrated new production of "Rigoletto."

Dedicated to the creation and production of daring new plays and musicals, The Vineyard has consistently premiered provocative, groundbreaking works, including Nicky Silver's THE LYONS; Marx, Lopez and Whitty's Tony Award-winning musical AVENUE Q; Kander and Ebb's THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS; Bell and Bowen's [title of show]; Paula Vogel's HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (1998 Pulitzer Prize); Edward Albee's THREE TALL WOMEN (1994 Pulitzer Prize); Tarell Alvin McCraney's WIG OUT!; Jenny Schwartz' GOD'S EAR, Will Eno's MIDDLETOWN, and many more. The Vineyard's productions have been honored with two Pulitzer Prizes, three Tony Awards, and numerous Drama Desk, OBIES, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards.

The Vineyard Theatre's leadership includes Douglas Aibel (Artistic Director), Sarah Stern (Artistic Director), and Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell (Executive Producer).

The Vineyard's Gala event will include a cocktail hour and auction, dinner, and the performance. Tables are $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, and individual tickets are $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000. Tickets can be purchased by emailing or calling 212-353-3366, ext. 227.

Photo by Jennifer Broski

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