Amas Musical Theatre Honors Tony Winner Priscilla Lopez at Gala Benefit Tonight

Amas Musical Theatre, New York City's award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since 1968, celebrates its 47th Anniversary at a gala benefit tonight, Monday, March 28th, 2016 at the Baruch Performing Arts Center(East 25th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenues). Honorary Chair for the event is Tony Award winning actress, singer and dancer Donna McKechnie. The master of ceremonies for the evening is noted theatre journalist Peter Filichia.

The gala evening will begin at 6:00pm with a champagne reception and silent auction. At 7:00pm, students of the Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy, Amas' flagship education program, will present a sneak peek of their upcoming spring production followed by "An Evening with Norm Lewis," where the Tony Award-nominee - and last year's Rosie Award recipient - will deliver a program of songs from his Broadway career. The evening will culminate in presentation of "The Rosie Award," this year bestowed upon Tony Award winner Priscilla Lopez (A Chorus Line, Pippin, Homer Sweet Homer, A Day In Hollywood, A Night in the Ukraine, In The Heights). The award, commemorating the life and work of Amas Founder Rosetta LeNoire, is bestowed on individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary accomplishment and dedication in bringing our world more closely together through the performing arts. Ampacet Corporation, the Westchester-based, global thermoplastics leader, is also receiving the 2016 Rosie Award for its record of over 20 years of major support for Amas programming.

"It's been an exciting year for Amas and we have a lot to celebrate" says Amas Artistic Producer Donna Trinkoff. "We have some really amazing and important shows in development which we look forward to presenting in full productions in the coming year. Equally exciting is the opportunity to honor Priscilla Lopez with this year's "Rosie Award" and how very special and appropriate it is that her fellow A Chorus Line cast member Donna McKechnie is this year's Honorary Chair. In addition, we are pleased to honor Ampacet Corporation for its many years of support of our programs. And, of course, we are so happy that last year's "Rosie Award" recipient Norm Lewis is returning to share his extraordinary voice with us. The evening will certainly be a singular sensation."

Tickets are $500 and $250, plus a limited number of show-only $150 seats available, and can be purchased online at www.amasmusical.org, or by calling (212) 563-2565. More information at www.amasmusical.org.

Priscilla Lopez was last seen on Broadway in the Tony Award Musical revival of Pippin, in the role of Berthe. The trapeze flying Granny. She then toured the USA and played Tokyo, where she joined her fellow 1972 Pippin alum, John Rubinstein. In Lin Manuel Miranda's Tony Winning In the Heights, she originated the role of Camila Rosario. She previously appeared in Nilo Cruz's Pulitzer Prize winning play Anna in the Tropics. She received a Tony Award as Best Featured Actress for her portrayal as Harpo Marx in the Broadway musical A Day in Hollywood A Night in the Ukraine and her performance as the original Diana Morales in A Chorus Line led to an OBIE Award and Tony Nomination, where she introduced the songs "Nothing" and "What I Did For Love". Her Broadway credits include: The Sister's Rosenswieg, Nine the Musical, The Boyfriend, Lysistrata, Pippin (1972), Company, Her First Roman, Henry Sweet Henry and Breakfast At Tiffany's. Off Broadway: Beauty of the Father, The Oldest Profession, newyorkers, Eric Weinberger"s Class Mother's 68 (Drama Desk Nomination), The Passion of Frida Kahlo, Antigone in New York, Other People's Money,Extremities, Buck and Your Own Thing. Los Angeles and Regionally: Irma La Douce, Vanities, Death and the Maiden and Matthew Lopez's Somewhere. Her film credits include Maid in Manhattan as Jennifer Lopez's mother, Center Stage, Revenge of the Nerds II, Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding, Musical Chairs and Swimming with the Fishes.

Norm Lewis has the honor of being the first African-American to play the tile role in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera. Growing up in the oldest black-chartered municipality in the US - Eatonville, Fla. - Norm always dreamed BIG. Known as a very versatile performer, Norm has been seen in films, on television, Broadway, Opera and Concert Halls around the country and the world. He started singing in the church, high school, and college choirs along with honing his talents as an actor in the professional theaters around his hometown. He was spotted by a producer while singing at a bar in Orlando, Fla., and was asked to perform in a show on Premier Cruise Lines, which eventually led him to New York. Norm has enjoyed both working and living in New York and Los Angeles for over two decades now and has many future endeavors coming up. He received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of the title role in The Gershwin's Porgy and Bessopposite Audra McDonald at the Richard Rodgers Theater. He had a very successful year's run in London playing the role of Javert in the West End's Les Miserables and was honored to perform the same role for The 25th Anniversary Concert at the O 2 Arena, which is now on DVD. He is very proud to announce the release of his debut solo CD Norm Lewis This is the Life! Other Broadway credits include Sondheim on Sondheim w/Vanessa Williams and Barbara Cook, The Little Mermaid (King Triton), Les Miserables (Javert) Drama League Nomination, Chicago (Billy Flynn), Amour (Painter), Michael John LaChuisa's The Wild Party (Eddie), Side Show (Jake), Miss Saigon(John), The Who's Tommy (The Specialist). Other New York stage credits include, Shakespeare in the Park's Two Gentlemen of Verona (Valentine) Drama League Nomination, Lincoln Center's Dessa Rose (Nathan) AUDELCO Award for Lead Actor in a Musical, Drama Desk and Drama League Nominations, Manhattan Theater Club'sCaptain's Courageous (Doc), and Lincoln Center's A New Brain (Roger), as well as The Actor's Fund concerts of Dreamgirls (Curtis), Chess (Molokov), and Hair (The Flesh Failures) and concerts of Children of Eden (Father), Bright Lights, Big City (Tad), City Center Encores! and Golden Boy (Eddie Satin). Regionally Norm has been seen inDreamgirls w/Jennifer Holliday, Ragtime, The Fantasticks, Baby, Company, and Sweeney Todd Helen Hayes Award nomination. His film and television credits include: Mystery Woman Guest Star, "All My Children" (Asst DA Keith McClean), Detective Hale on "As the World Turns," and Guest Starring roles on "Cosby" and "Strong Medicine," Confidences and Preaching to the Choir, along with numerous commercials. www.normlewis.com

Donna McKechnie received a Tony Award for her performance in the original production of A Chorus Line, and is regarded internationally as one of Broadway's foremost dancing and singing leading ladies. Most recently she stood by for Chita Rivera in the Broadway musical The Visit and was featured in Christopher Gattelli's new musical, In Your Arms at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. Last year she created the musical staging for a production of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks starring Leslie Caron at the Laguna Playhouse. Donna is now co-starring in a new production called 4 Girls 4 with Maureen McGovern, Andrea McArdle and Faith Prince. She appeared at 54 Below, New York's celebrated Supper Club, presenting Same Place: Another Time, her new musical show and then performed it in London at the Crazy Coqs Supper Club as well as recorded the show live which was produced by Jay Records. In April of 2016 she will perform in a new musical revue called, A Visit With Kander and Ebb. Her Broadway shows include How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, (Nat'l tour), The Education of of H*Y*M*A*N-K*A*P*L*A*N, Sondheim: A Musical Tribute (which she also choreographed), On The Town, Promises Promises, Company and State Fair, for which she received the Fred Astaire Award for Best Female Dancer for the 1996 Season, and The Visit. She was also featured in Annie Warbucks and Love, Loss and What I Wore in New York productions. She has starred in numerous productions in London's West End, including Promises Promises, Company, No Way To Treat A Lady(which she also choreographed), Cole Porter's Can-Can and Stephen Sondheim's Follies. Bob Fosse invited Ms. McKechnie to play the lead in his last production, a National tour of Sweet Charity, for which she was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award. Donna's regional credits include The Glass Menagerie, The Subject Was Roses(with River City Rep), Irma Le Douce, Cabaret, The Imaginary Invalid, The Three Penny Opera, The Good-Bye Girl, Follies, Mack and Mabel, Annie Get Your Gun, Gypsy,I Do I Do!, Misalliance, Stepping Out, Girls Room, and Inside The Music, (her one woman musical with text by Christopher Durang). More recently, she was in John Doyle's production of Ten Cents A Dance at Williamstown Theatre Festival and the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, N. J. The New York Times review of her cabaret show,Gypsy in My Soul, compared her to "legends Chita Rivera and Gwen Verdon as a brass- knuckled trouper with a heart of gold in a breezy, happy to be here celebration." Donna's one woman musical, My Musical Comedy Life received unanimous raves from New York theatre critics, won a Mac Award Nomination for Best Female Singer and the Bistro Award for Outstanding Major Engagement. She also received a nomination for an Ovation Award for Best Featured Actress (Mack and Mabel) by the Los Angeles Theatre Alliance League. She made her Opera debut in 1996, guest starring in the San Francisco Opera's production of Die Fledermaus. Donna has also performed extensively on the concert stage and with symphony orchestras all over the country. She has appeared as guest star in numerous television specials and dramatic series including HBO's "Showstoppers, "Fame," "Cheers," "Family Ties," "Hullabaloo," "Twirl," and "Dark Shadows." One of the highlights of her recent professional life was to choreograph the highly acclaimed Guys and Dolls at the Hollywood Bowl directed by Richard Jay-Alexander. A few seasons ago she opened the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and completed her first tour of Australia performing My Musical Comedy Life. Ms. McKechnie's memoir, TIME STEPS - My Musical Comedy Life, was published by Simon and Schuster. Donna was featured in the documentary film, Every Little Step and played the Rose in the film of The Little Prince.

Ampacet Corporation Founded in 1937, the company now employs more than 1,900 people and has revenue exceeding $1 billion. With its headquarters in Tarrytown, New York, Ampacet operates a global network of manufacturing and technical facilities, with major sites in the Americas, Asia and Europe. Its technical centers provide custom color development and masterbatch formulation services, molding and testing of sample packaging, and troubleshooting for packaging made by injection molding, blow molding, blown and cast film, extrusion coating, thermoforming and other processes.

Peter Filichia has spent most of the last 45 years writing about theater as a critic for a daily newspaper (The Star-Ledger in Newark, NJ), a magazine (TheaterWeek) and as a weekly Internet columnist (Playbill, Theatermania, Music Theatre International, Broadway Direct and Masterworks Broadway). He is the author of Let's Put on a Musical; The Biggest Hit of the Season/The Biggest Flop of the Season; Broadway Musicals' Most Valuable Players; Strippers, Showgirls, and Sharks and The Great Parade: The Remarkable 1963-64 Broadway Season, which will be published on April 7, 2015. His play Games, about bullying, has seen high school productions in all 50 states and six foreign countries. His play, Adam's Gifts: A New Christmas Carol was a finalist for a Terrence McNally Award. He has been president of the Drama Desk Awards and holds that post now with the Theatre World Awards. He has served as an assessor for the National Endowment for the Arts, and for the past 20 years has been both the musical theater judge for the ASCAP Awards program and the critic-in-residence for the University of Cincinnati-Conservatory of Music.

Amas Musical Theatre is New York City's award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since 1968. Amas ("you love" in Latin) is devoted to the creation, development and professional production of new American musicals through the celebration of diversity and minority perspectives, the emergence of new artistic talent, and the training and encouragement of underserved young people in the New York area. In recent years, under the leadership of Artistic Producer Donna Trinkoff, Amas has emerged as a leading not-for-profit laboratory for new musicals, including The Other Josh Cohen (Six 2013 Drama Desk Nominations including Outstanding Musical, 2013 Lucille Lortel nomination for Outstanding Musical, 2013 Off-Broadway Alliance Nomination for Best New Musical);Triassic Parq; The Countess of Storyville; Distant Thunder; Casanova; Marry Harry; Me and Miss Monroe; Aesop & Company; Signs of Life; Wanda's World; Shout! The Mod Musical; Lone Star Love; From My Hometown; Zanna, Don't!; 4 Guys Named Jose; and, Stormy Weather: Reimagining Lena Horne. Amas education programs include the Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy, Lens on Live Theatre and in-school theatre arts residencies designed in partnership with elementary, middle, and high schools.

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