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Ali Stroker, Mykal Kilgore & More to Take Part in Playwrights Horizons 50th Anniversary Virtual Gala

Viewers will also see 50th birthday video messages from Marinda Anderson, Cassie Beck, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Reed Birney, Aya Cash, Milo Cramer, and more.

Ali Stroker, Mykal Kilgore & More to Take Part in Playwrights Horizons 50th Anniversary Virtual Gala

Playwrights Horizons will present a 50th Anniversary Virtual Gala, June 23 at 8pm (and available for four days after; register to attend the virtual gala, free of charge, here; donations can be made here). Since its founding in 1971, the organization has produced nearly 400 groundbreaking plays and musicals by a vast range of American writers. As Playwrights Horizons celebrates this milestone anniversary towards the end of the pause for in-person performance, they look ahead to carrying its legacy forward-and to continuing to reshape it to constantly offer new visions of what theater can do.

This virtual event honors the organization's storied past and fundraises for the vast potential of what's to come. When Playwrights Horizons reopens its 42nd Street home under its new artistic director, Adam Greenfield, the organization will resume its development and production of works by today's most singular playwrights, and introduce innovative projects and partnerships within Lighthouse-its eclectic new series of performances, installations, events, and more that expands the way the Playwrights building can be used, and finds new opportunities to engage the city. Playwrights Horizons will continue to broaden access to-and the reach of-its work through digital programming.

The celebratory evening will revisit some of Playwrights Horizons' acclaimed recent works. Carla R. Stewart will perform "Lifted" from Tori Sampson's If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must be a Muhfucka. Mykal Kilgore performing "Memory Song" from Michael R. Jackson's Pulitzer Prize-winning A Strange Loop; Tony Award-winner Ali Stroker (Daniel Fish's Oklahoma!) performing "Her Sweater" from Kirsten Guenther and Ryan Scott Oliver's Mrs. Sharp (which she sang in the 2009 Playwrights Horizons reading of the musical that led her to receive her Equity card); and Heather Christian performing "Recessional" from Prime, her one-act podcast play released as part of Playwrights Horizons' Soundstage.

Viewers will also see 50th birthday video messages from artists with deep ties to and memories from Playwrights, including Marinda Anderson, Cassie Beck, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Reed Birney, Aya Cash, Milo Cramer, Sarah DeLappe, Bash Doran, Larissa Fasthorse, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Peter Friedman, Dave Harris, Jordan Harrison, Lucas Hnath, Vanessa Kai, Sylvia Khoury, Taylor Mac, Matt Maher, John-Andrew Morrison, Kelli O'Hara, Annie Parisse, Max Posner, Tori Sampson, Rhea Seehorn, Lois Smith, Paul Sparks, Jeremy Strong, Sanaz Toossi, and more.

The virtual gala will help sustain the multi-pronged approach Playwrights has taken to supporting their artistic community since the pandemic brought in-person theater-making to a halt, and further exposed the glaring inequities and missing support systems within American society, including our artistic institutions. Across 2020, Playwrights released the full inaugural edition of the new literary magazine Almanac; the acclaimed anthological scripted audio fiction podcast Soundstage, and offered a series of virtual Master Classes by celebrated playwrights and artists. Additionally, Playwrights undertook several other initiatives aimed at supporting theater-makers, including a free, financial literacy program with a professional financial planner; and information about remote freelance work opportunities and emergency grants.

So far in 2021, the organization has awarded $1,000 relief fund grants to 182 artists and other theatermakers, and launched the eclectic performance series Lighthouse, which began in January 2021 with a Public Art Series conceived and organized by artist, activist, and writer Avram Finkelstein and two-time Tony-winning set and costume designer David Zinn (Playwrights: Hir, The Flick, Circle MIrror Transformation); it has included work from Jilly Ballistic, Ken Gonzales-Day, Dread Scott, and, currently, Jess X. Snow. From June 4-13, as part of Lighthouse, Playwrights will present Raja Feather Kelly | the feath3r theory's performance-based work The KILL ONE Race. This summer, in a partnership with Brooklyn Academy of Music, they co-produce a run of Aleshea Harris' What to Send Up When It Goes Down. That production will reopen the company's theaters on 42nd Street this fall, followed by previously announced productions of Sylvia Khoury's Selling Kabul, Dave Harris' Tambo & Bones, and Sanaz Toossi's Wish You Were Here. (Dates for those productions will be announced soon.)

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