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ECLIPSED Playwright, Producers to Be Feted at TCG's 2016 Gala

Theatre Communications Group (TCG) has announced that its 2016 gala will honor Tony-nominated and OBIE-winning playwright and acclaimed "The Walking Dead" actress Danai Gurira; as well as Tony-nominated and Olivier Award-winning theatrical producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey; and the Vilcek Foundation, led by Rick Kinsel. This year's gala will be held on Monday, November 14, 2016 at New York's famed Edison Ballroom (240 West 47th Street).

"We're thrilled to honor both the visionary artistry and activism of Danai Gurira as well as the groundbreaking work of producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia M. Jones-Harvey," said Teresa Eyring, Executive Director, TCG. "By bringing the voices of women from Liberia's civil war to the Broadway stage through their acclaimed production of Eclipsed, they've reaffirmed theatre's power to humanize and connect us across borders. The success of Eclipsed is also an example of TCG's holistic approach to making a better world for theatre. A better world because of theatre. It was a TCG grant that supported the research and travel for the play; TCG Books will now keep it in print for many years to come and at our 2016 TCG National Conference in Washington DC, we featured U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power sharing the impact of plays like Eclipsed in her cultural diplomacy.

We are also delighted to honor the Vilcek Foundation. Under the leadership of Rick Kinsel, and working closely with TCG, the Vilcek Foundation devoted its 2016 Vilcek Prizes in the Arts to identifying and supporting immigrants whose work will undoubtedly become part of the American canon: the Vilcek Prize was awarded to the revolutionary Blanka Zizka, artistic director of The Wilma Theater, and the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise were awarded to director Sarah Benson, director Desdemona Chiang, and lighting designer Yi Zhao."

Danai Gurira is a playwright and actress who received a 2016 Tony Award nomination for Best Play for Eclipsed. Her other plays, including Familiar, The Convert and In the Continuum, have earned her OBIE and Drama Desk Awards for playwriting. Also an acclaimed actress, Gurira is perhaps best known for her starring role as 'Michonne' on AMC's global phenomenon "The Walking Dead." She memorably appeared on HBO's "Treme"; in the Oscar-nominated 2007 independent feature film The Visitor; and will next be seen in the upcoming Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez on Me. Among her humanitarian work, Gurira serves as an ambassador for the ONE Campaign and its Poverty is Sexist platform.

Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey hold the distinction of being the only African-American lead producers on Broadway. Together they comprise Front Row Productions, which aims to bring a unique brand of diversity to Broadway and London's West End, both onstage and off, evidenced by their Olivier-winning production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in London's West End (also on Broadway) starring James Earl Jones; and most recently by their acclaimed, 5-time Tony-nominated production of Danai Gurira'sEclipsed starring Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o. On Broadway, Byrd and Jones-Harvey are also responsible for multi-racial productions of A Streetcar Named Desire starring Blair Underwood and Daphne Rubin-Vega; Romeo & Juliet starring Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad; and The Trip to Bountiful which featured Cicely Tyson in a Tony-winning performance.

The Vilcek Foundation, led by Rick Kinsel, is dedicated to raising awareness of immigrant contributions to the arts and sciences. Based in New York City, the organization aims to support immigrants from all over the world, working in a wide array of the arts. In addition to awarding annual prizes, the Foundation has also previously published American Odysseys, an anthology of contemporary immigrant authors; collaborated with the Hawaii International Film Festival to produce an annual showcase of immigrant filmmakers; and provided support for A Stray, an award-winning independent film about the Somali immigrant community in Minneapolis.

The Gala also offers an opportunity for the TCG community to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year and raise support for TCG's wide-ranging programs and services. Highlights from the past year include: a National Conference in Washington, DC that brought together over 1,100 theatre practitioners for skills-building and knowledge-sharing and over 200 theatre practitioners to Capitol Hill for meetings with legislators; the awarding of $1.184 million in Audience (R)Evolution Cohort Grants to innovative audience engagement projects; and the publication of significant work by emerging playwrights like Stephen Karam's The Humans,Tarell Alvin McCraney's Choir Boy, and Annie Baker's John. In the spirit of the Gala honorees' commitment to diversity and international activism, TCG is especially excited to celebrate the launch of the Global Theater Initiative, a partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics; and the groundbreaking meeting of the inaugural and second cohorts of the Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Institute at the National Endowment for the Arts.

Past honorees at the TCG annual gala-now in its fifth year-include Tony, SAG and Golden Globe Award-winning actor Brian Dennehy; Tony-winning director Kenny Leon, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, Ming Cho Lee, Jules Fisher, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation,The Shubert Foundation, Ruth and Stephen Hendel and Judith O. Rubin.

This year's Benefit Committee (in formation) includes Pat Addiss, Milton Allimadi, Angela Bassett Vance, Marvet Britto, Phillip Chavira, Merrie L. Davis, Brian Dennehy, Donna Dozier Gordon, Oskar Eustis, Susan Fales-Hill, Wendy Federman, Jacki Florin, Fern E. Gillespie, KEli Goff, Isoul Harris, Jessica Hecht, Tamara Houston, Willette and Manny Klausner, Kenny Leon, Jessye Norman, Abiola Oke, Diane Rodriguez, Gregory Shanck, Count and Amianna Stovall, Mark Subias, Jewel Turner, Reginald Van Lee

For more than 50 years, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture, and promote the professional not-for-profit American theatre. TCG's constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 12,000 individuals nationwide. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research and communications; awards grants, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute, connecting its constituents to the global theatre community. TCG is North America's largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 14 Pulitzer Prizes. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its member theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre. For more information, visit www.tcg.org.

The TCG Board of Directors includes: Christopher Acebo, Sarah Bellamy, Joseph P. Benincasa, Adrian Budhu, Kristen Coury, Joshua Dachs, Teresa Eyring, Larissa Fasthorse, Derek Goldman, Michelle Hensley, Ed Herendeen, Susan E. Hilferty, Chris Jennings, Tim Jennings, Marshall Jones, Max Leventhal, Kathryn M. Lipuma, Kevin Moriarty, Eileen J. Morris, Lisa Portes, Meghan Pressman, Heather Randall, Francine Thomas Reynolds, Ellen Richard, Blake Robison, Eric Rosen, Michael Rosenberg, Nikkole Salter, Tim Sanford, John Douglas Thompson, Meiyin Wang, Robert P. Warren, Shana Waterman, Harold Wolpert. The Executive Director of TCG is Teresa Eyring.

The evening will begin with cocktails at 6:00 followed by dinner and special performances at 7:00. Guests have been asked to wear festive attire.

Gold Sponsor at $25,000-Premier table for 10, opportunity to host a noted TCG artist at your table, inclusion in event press release, premium acknowledgement with name listing or company provided logo on all Gala print materials, one full-page ad inAmerican Theatre magazine.

Silver Sponsor at $10,000-Premium table for 10, opportunity to host a noted TCG artist at your table, acknowledgement with name listing or company provided logo on all Gala print materials, one half-page ad in American Theatre magazine.

Bronze Sponsor at $5,000-Table for 10, acknowledgement on all Gala print materials.

Friend Ticket at $1,000-Premium seating, listing in Gala print materials.

Supporter Ticket at $600-Seating, listing in Gala print materials.

For ticket and sponsorship information to this year's TCG Gala, contact gala@tcg.org or (212) 609-5931, or go to www.tcg.org/events/gala.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride


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