Black Theatre Coalition To Host Inaugural BUILDING THE CHANGE Gala On February 12

The evening will honor La La Anthony and National Black Theatre.

By: Jan. 30, 2024
Black Theatre Coalition To Host Inaugural BUILDING THE CHANGE Gala On February 12
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Co-founders T. Oliver Reid, Warren Adams, and Reginald “Reggie” Van Lee, along with Board Members Aaliytha Stevens and Naila McKenzie, have announced that the Black Theatre Coalition will host its Inaugural Gala on Monday, February 12, 2024 in New York City at the Rainbow Room (30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th Floor).

The evening will honor La La Anthony (Founder of ThreeSixty, TV personality, and “Power” Actress) and National Black Theatre (groundbreaking cultural and theatrical institution).

This event, the Inaugural BTC Gala is celebrating entertainment professionals working in theater, film, television, cultural institutions, and music which will be held at the Rainbow Room at 6:00 pm ET cocktails, followed by a 7:00 pm ET dinner and tribute.

Tickets to the “Building the Change” Gala begin at $1,000. Visit the event page and purchase tickets at https://givebutter.com/ri2kaW.

The evening will include special performances by six-time Grammy winning musician and producer BeBe Winans, Tony and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Holliday, and TIME's 2023 Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Tony Award winner Alex Newell. BeBe Winans is known as an inspirational R&B Gospel vocalist and songwriter who along with his musical partner and sister, Cece Winans, have nine successful Gold and Platinum recordings. Jennifer Holliday catapulted to Broadway fame with the lead role as the iconic Effie “Melody” White in the 1981 smash hit Dreamgirls. Alex Newell is known for roles on “Glee” and “Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist” as well as breakout performances on Broadway in Once on This Island and Shucked.

“The Board of Black Theatre Coalition is beyond thrilled as we approach our inaugural gala and the opportunity to acknowledge the work of La La Anthony and National Black Theatre. It is truly humbling for us to have the blessing of Ms. Lynn Nottage, the Poitier, Belafonte, and Boseman families to honor individuals and organizations who are being the change in our world with their courage, vision and activism. Our mission remains to remove the illusion of inclusion in the American Theatre and our vision for 2024 is to continue on that path, as we reach for exponential growth in the number of fellows and apprentices in the theatrical ecosystem and expand our organization nationwide,” said the board of Black Theatre Coalition.

Black Theatre Coalition is deeply honored, with permission of the Poitier and Belafonte families, to present the first Poitier-Belafonte Award for Cultural Activism at this year's gala. This award was created in recognition of these two groundbreaking black artists and activists in the entertainment industry. The recipient will be announced at a later date.

With the blessing of the Boseman family, the Chadwick Boseman Changemaker Award will be presented to the National Black Theatre. Boseman was an actor, playwright, and activist who promoted the Black Lives Matter Movement. He significantly impacted black cinema and culture by writing plays and directing as well as instructing drama. He played the black superhero King T'Challa in Black Panther and starred as other changemakers and Black icons such as Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in Get On Up, and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall.

The Lynn Nottage Bold Beacon Award will be presented to La La Anthony. Lynn Nottage is the first woman in history to win two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama (Sweat and Ruined). Her plays have been produced widely in the United States and throughout the world. Recent work includes the Tony award-winning Broadway musical MJ, the libretto for the opera Intimate Apparel (LCT), Clyde's (Broadway, Second Stage) and is an associate professor at Columbia University School of the Arts and a member of the Dramatists Guild.

For more information, please contact Sophia Garner, Director of Development at sophia@blacktheatrecoalition.org or visit the event page to purchase tickets at: https://givebutter.com/ri2kaW.

Black Theatre Coalition was founded by T. Oliver Reid and Warren Adams during the Summer of 2019. They identified the disparity between the growing inclusivity onstage, versus the almost non-existence of Black professionals off stage. They invited their colleague, Reggie Van Lee, to join them as Co-Founder in their march towards dismantling the systemically racist and biased ideology in the theatrical job space. Black Theatre Coalition officially filed as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) in June of 2020.

Black Theatre Coalition's mission is to remove the “illusion of inclusion” in the American Theatre. By building a sustainable ethical roadmap that will increase employment opportunities for black theatre professionals. Our vision is to reshape the working ecosystem for those who have been marginalized by systemically racist and biased ideology.

For more information about Black Theatre Coalition, visit their website www.BlackTheatreCoalition.org

Lynn Nottage is a playwright and a screenwriter. She is the first, and remains the only, woman to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice. Her plays have been produced widely in the United States and throughout the world.
 
Most recently, Nottage premiered MJ the Musical, directed by Christopher Wheeldon and featuring the music of Michael Jackson, at the Neil Simon Theater on Broadway, Clyde's directed by Kate Whoriskey at Second Stage Theater on Broadway and an opera adaptation of her play Intimate Apparel composed by Ricky Ian Gordon and directed by Bart Sher, commissioned by The Met/Lincoln Center Theater.   

Her other work includes, Floyd's (retitled- Clyde's) (Guthrie Theater), the musical adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd's novel The Secret Life of Bees; with music by Duncan Sheik and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead (The Almeida Theatre/The Atlantic Theater), Mlima's Tale (Public Theater); By The Way, Meet Vera Stark (Lilly Award, Drama Desk Nomination-Second Stage/Signature Theater); Ruined (Pulitzer Prize, OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics' Circle, Audelco, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award- MTC/Goodman Theater); Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best Play Center Stage/SCR/ Roundabout Theater); Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award - Playwrights Horizons/Signature Theater); Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por'knockers; and POOF!

Her play Sweat (Pulitzer Prize, Evening Standard Award, Obie Award, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Tony Nomination, Drama Desk Nomination) moved to Broadway after a sold-out run at The Public Theater. It premiered and was commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival American Revolutions History Cycle/Arena Stage. Inspired by her research on Sweat, Nottage developed This is Reading, a performance installation based on two years of interviews, at the Franklin Street, Reading Railroad Station in Reading, PA in July 2017.

She is the Co-Founder of the production company, Market Road Films, whose most recent projects include the award winning documentary Takeover (New York Times, Op-doc) by Emma Francis Francis-Snyder, the Peabody nominated podcast “Unfinished: Deep South” (Stitcher) by Taylor Hom and Neil Shea, The Notorious Mr. Bout directed by Tony Gerber and Maxim Pozdorovkin (Premiere/Sundance 2014), First to Fall directed by Rachel Beth Anderson (Premiere/ IDFA, 2013), and Remote Control (Premiere/Busan 2013- New Currents Award). Market Road Films currently has a first look deal with SISTER. Over the years, she has developed original projects for Amazon, HBO, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Showtime, This is That and Harpo. She was a writer and producer on the Netflix series “She's Gotta Have It,” directed by Spike Lee and a consulting producer on the third season of “Dickinson” (Apple +). 

Nottage is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellowship, Steinberg "Mimi" Distinguished Playwright Award, PEN/Laura Pels Master Playwright Award, William Inge Festival Distinguished Playwright, TIME 100 (2019), Signature One Playwright, Merit and Literature Award from The Academy of Arts and Letters, Columbia University Provost Grant, Doris Duke Artist Award, The Joyce Foundation Commission Project & Grant, Madge Evans-Sidney Kingsley Award, Nelson A. Rockefeller Award for Creativity, The Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize, Helen Hayes Award, the Lee Reynolds Award, and the Jewish World Watch iWitness Award. Her other honors include the National Black Theatre Fest's August Wilson Playwriting Award, a Guggenheim Grant, Lucille Lortel Fellowship and Visiting Research Fellowship at Princeton University. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama. She is also a Professor of Theatre Arts in the Theatre Department at Columbia School of the Arts. 

Nottage is a Doris Duke Artist, a board member for BRIC Arts Media Bklyn, Donor Direct Action, Dramatist Play Service, Second Stage and the Dramatists Guild. She recently completed a three-year term as an Artist Trustee on the Board of The Sundance Institute. She is member of The Dramatists Guild, WGAE, and the American Academy of Arts, and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is currently an artist-in-residence at the Park Avenue Armory.

National Black Theatre (Honoree) is a Tony and Emmy Award-nominated institution founded in 1968 by the late visionary artist Dr. Barbara Ann Teer. The nation's first revenue generating Black arts complex, NBT is the longest-running Black theatre in New York City, one of the oldest theatres founded and consistently operated by a woman of color in the nation, and has been included in the permanent collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

NBT's core mission is to produce transformational theatre that helps to shift the inaccuracies around African Americans' cultural identity by telling authentic stories of Black lives. As an alternative learning environment, NBT uses theatre arts as a means to educate, enrich, entertain, empower and inform the national conscience around current social issues impacting our communities.

Under the leadership of Sade Lythcott, CEO and Jonathan McCrory, Executive Artistic Director, NBT helps reshape a more inclusive American theatre field by providing an artistically rigorous and culturally sensitive space for artists of color to experiment, develop, and present new work. Working with trailblazing artists from Nona Hendrix to Jeremy O. Harris and helping launch the careers, most recently, of artists such as Dominique Morisseau, Radha Blank, Mfoniso Udofia, Saheem Ali, Lee Edward Colston II, and Ebony Noelle Golden. https://www.nationalblacktheatre.org/our-story

Sade Lythcott (NBT Chief Executive Officer) is a Harlem native and CEO of the nation's first revenue-generating Black Arts complex and one of the longest-run theaters by a woman of color. She is the daughter of the late Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, founder of NBT and legendary champion of African American arts and culture. As a leader and staunch advocate for women and people of color in the cultural sector, Sade currently serves as the chair of the Coalition of Theaters of Color and is on the board of directors of Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and sits on the advisory board of the Black Genius Foundation, Art in a Changing America, and HueArts NYC Project. Sade also co-leads Culture @3, an unprecedented space that brings together more than 1,000 of NYC's nonprofit cultural leaders, funders, and friends in government to navigate pressing fieldwide issues in an ever-shifting cultural landscape. In 2021, she served New York State on the Governor's Task Force to reopen live performance statewide after pandemic-era shuttering and was chosen by New York City Mayor Elect Eric Adams to co-lead his transition committee on Parks, Arts and Culture, tasked to contribute to the blueprint for New York City's recovery.

Sade is an activist for socio-spatial justice in the cultural arts. She is currently partnered with real estate developers for the reconception and redevelopment of a multi-use arts complex and a new home for NBT on Harlem's 125th Street and 5th Avenue, slated to open in 2026. She regularly guest lectures at esteemed universities including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and NYU, and she recently spoke with the NEA and at the Center of Architecture on the cultural institution's role in spatial practice. Her spatial activism work has been featured in The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar, Madame Architect, and in Oprah Winfrey's Future Rising digital series. Sade is called a “Black trailblazer moving our world forward” for co-creating spaces designed for Black joy and liberation.

As a Tony and Emmy award nominated producer and a multi-hyphenate creative and artist, Sade expresses her worldview through writing, production, and design. In 2012, she wrote and produced the highly acclaimed musical A Time To Love, which garnered three AUDELCO nominations and is currently in development in partnership with the world famous Apollo Theatre. Sade has performed on several Off-Broadway stages, and she is the recipient of numerous awards including the Key to Harlem for her excellence in the Arts, an OBIE award for Sustained Excellence in Production and Continued Advocacy on Behalf of Black Artists, The Mark Segal Center's Changemaker Frankie Award amongst others.

Sade is a graduate of New York University with a Bachelor's degree in Art History. In her spare time, she is exploring sacred space design rooted in indigenous practice and indulging the wonders of motherhood with her son Thelonius.

Jonathan McCrory (NBT Artistic Director) is a Tony Award and Emmy Award nominated producer, two-time OBIE Award-winning, Harlem-based artist who has served as Artistic Director at National Black Theatre since 2012 under the leadership of CEO, Sade Lythcott.

As Artistic Director (Creative Duala), he is the creative heart of the institution helping to select, develop, and manage acclaimed programs and productions, such as The Peculiar Patriot and Kill Move Paradise. His creative force also helped the theatre expand its reach with the creation of the National Black Theatre of Sweden.

As a director, he has helmed numerous productions including Dead and Breathing, HandsUp, and Blacken the Bubble and devised works like Hope Speaks, Evoking Him: Baldwin, and Emergence: A Communion (based on Adrienne Marie Brown's book Emergent Strategy).

He has been acknowledged as an exceptional leader additionally through Crain's New York Business 2020 Notable LGBTQ Leaders and Executives and in 2016, he was awarded 40 under 40 Rising Star Award from the New York Nonprofit Media. He has been awarded the Emerging Producer Award by the National Black Theatre Festival of Winston Salem, North Carolina and the Torch Bearer Award by theatrical legend Woodie King Jr. He is a founding member of the producing organizations Harlem9, the Movement Theatre Company, and national services organizations such as Black Theater Commons and Next Generation National Network.

McCrory sits on the National Advisory Committee for Howlround.com and was a member of the original cohort for artEquity. He is also on the steering committee of the JUBILEE, working to help artists from marginalized communities. In 2019, McCrory was appointed to the nomination committee of the Tony Awards and he was also a member of the nominating committee for the Lucille Lortel Awards.

A Washington, D.C. native, McCrory attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts and earned his BFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. To learn more, please visit www.jonathanmccrory.com.

La La Anthony (Honoree). Actress, Producer, New York Times Best-Selling Author, fashion-and-cosmetics mogul, La La has cemented her name in the rapidly growing media as a multi-hyphenate.

As an entrepreneur, La La has had extreme success in the fashion and beauty industries. This past summer, she collaborated with PrettyLittleThing to create a brand-new summer line which highlights size inclusivity. Continuing with her creativity, La La recently created her own hair care line, Inala. She also released "5th & Mercer," a capsule collection exclusively with Shopbop.com as well as "Motives for La La," a line of makeup uniquely formulated for every shade of today's modern woman.

On the acting front, La La is most commonly known for her standout role as ‘LaKeisha' in the hit Starz original drama series, “Power.” The series which was executively produced by 50 Cent broke records as being one of the biggest premiere weekends for STARZ. Additional TV credits include starring opposite Poppy Montgomery in the A&E series "Unforgettable" CBS crime drama, "NYC 22" and the popular VH1 scripted show, "Single Ladies." On the silver screen, La La can be seen in the critically acclaimed Spike Lee film Chi-Raq alongside a talented ensemble cast that includes Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, and Samuel L. Jackson. Film credits include Think Like a Man and Think Like a Man Too, alongside Gabrielle Union and Taraji P. Henson, Baggage Claim alongside Paula Patton and Derek Luke, and Double Play directed by Ernest Dickerson.

On stage, La La starred in the Off-Broadway production of Love, Loss, and What I Wore and made her Broadway producing debut with Eclipsed, the celebrated drama starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o. Eclipsed made history as the first all-female, all-Black Broadway show. She can currently be seen in STARZ, “BMF (Black Mafia Family)” as Markisha Taylor. Anthony brings an audacious yet tender element to her role. The third season will premiere on March 1st.

La La is also a best-selling author. In her first book The Love Playbook (2015), La La shares how she found love and success on her own terms. Within the first week the book climbed to #1 on the Barnes & Noble Best Seller list and hit Number One on The New York Times Best Sellers List. La La followed with her second book The Power Playbook.

Multi-faceted, La La spearheads a mentorship program in New York City's Rikers Island. She mentors young men ranging between the ages of 18-21 to help them build their confidence and skill set for when they re-enter society.

La La recently announced her partnership with Airbnb as a creative advisor and Host. She will lead strategic alignment and relationships with key entertainment partners, including celebrities, influencers, studios, production companies, and more to increase and sustain diverse representation, as well as incubate products and programs that connect talent and entertainment partners with their passionate communities. Her first project with them is La La Land, a unique and stylish listing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that's been carefully designed and perfected by La La to host her favorite kind of trip: a getaway with besties. La La is inviting guests to La La Land to experience travel, her way with some highlights of the stay including full, private access to the entire 2,491 square foot property with five customized bedrooms and a picture perfect outdoor patio and pool for lounging; all the amenities needed for a luxurious stay like high-quality linens, a fully-stocked kitchen, and hair care products from La La's own brand, Inala.

Next up, La La is looking forward to continuing expanding each of her endeavors and adding a few more to the list.



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