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Encompass New Opera Theatre to Honor ANASTASIA Writing Team with Musical Salute


AnastasiaEncompass New Opera Theatre and Gala Honorary Chairs Zoe Caldwell, Sheldon Harnick, John Kander, and Maury Yeston will honor legendary songwriting team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and playwright Terrence McNally (Ragtime, Chita Rivera: A Dancer's Life, A Man of No Importance, and their upcoming Broadway musical, Anastasia) with a star-studded musical salute on Sunday, October 23.

The evening - hosted by Midge Woolsey of Thirteen/WNET and WQXR Radio - will feature entertainment from stars of stage and screen including Christy Altomare, Liz Callaway, Jessica Rose Cambio, Derek Klena, LaChanze, James Snyder, and Karen Ziemba, in addition to surprise guests. Beth Ertz serves as Music Director and Arranger. The gala is produced by Michael A. Kerker of ASCAP and Nancy Rhodes.

The event will take place at The National Arts Club (15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY, 10003) on Sunday, October 23, starting at 6:00 PM with a Cocktail & Hors d'oeuvres Reception, the Musical Program at 7:00 PM, followed by a Champagne and Dessert Party. Gala tickets are $600. To buy tickets, place a congratulatory greeting Ad in the tribute program, and for more information, visit or call (718) 398-4675.

This is the 13th year for the Encompass Musical Salute. Past honorees include Sheldon Harnick (both for his 80th and 90th Birthdays), John Kander, Charles Strouse, Jerry Herman, Jerry Bock, Maury Yeston, Joseph Stein, Richard Maltby, Jr., David Shire, John Weidman, Marvin Hamlisch, Alan Menken, Joel Grey, Jeanine Tesori, Barbara Cook, and Lee Adams.

Now in its 40th year, Encompass New Opera Theatre - under the leadership of Artistic Director Nancy Rhodes - is dedicated to the creation, development and production of adventurous new music theatre and contemporary opera, as well as the revival of important musical works by American and international composers. Devoted to widening the recognition of America's dramatists, composers, singers and musicians, Encompass has produced over 62 full-scale productions with orchestra and staged readings of over 160 new works, from jazz and cabaret to musicals and opera.

Most recently, Encompass was selected by the Brooklyn Academy Of Music to produce The Astronaut's Tale, a new multi-media opera at BAM Fisher for five sold-out performances in January, 2016.

The gala chairs are Daniel J. De Siena, Tracey Katchen, Casey McNamara and Harriet Slaughter. The gala vice chairs are Roger Feffer, Russell L. Lapso, Lynn Martindale, and Barbara Sexton. The Gala Honorary Committee is comprised of Patrick Cook of BMI, Joan Firestone, Raymond L. Forsythe, Lisa Ganzenmuller, Michael A. Kerker of ASCAP, Vasi Laurence, and Edward Thomas.

Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty are considered the foremost theatrical songwriting team of their generation. Their lyrics and music for the Broadway musical Rocky garnered four Tony nominations; Once on this Island won London's Olivier award for Best Musical; Seussical, based on the works of Dr. Seuss, is one of the most frequently performed shows in America. At Lincoln Center Theater, they premiered the musicals My Favorite Year, Dessa Rose, winner of the Audelco Award for Best Musical, and The Glorious Ones. Their musical Lucky Stiff won the Helen Hayes Award for Best Musical, and Little Dancer premiered at the Kennedy Center. They were inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2015.

Individually, Lynn Ahrens wrote lyrics and co-book for A Christmas Carol which played for ten years at Madison Square Garden, and also wrote its teleplay adaptation for NBC's Hallmark Entertainment Special. Stephen Flaherty's concert pieces have premiered at the Hollywood Bowl and Boston's Symphony Hall.

Terrence McNally's groundbreaking work spans five decades of American theatre. His numerous contributions to musical theatre include the books for Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award, Best Book of a Musical), The Rink, and The Visit (all with John Kander/Fred Ebb); The Full Monty (with David Yazbek); in the world of opera he created the librettos for the poignant Dead Man Walking and the opera Great Scott (both by Jake Heggie); Nights at the Opera, a 3-play festival at the Kennedy Center; Master Class (Tony Award, Best Play) and Love! Valour! Compassion! (Tony Award, Best Play, Obie Award), and his teleplay, Andre's Mother won the Emmy Award for Best Drama. He received the Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and in 1996 he was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

As a trio, they created the Broadway hit Ragtime (Tony Award, Drama Desk, Outer Critic's Circle Awards); the celebrated musical Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life; A Man of No Importance (Best Musical, Outer Critic's Circle Award) at Lincoln Center Theater; and Anastasia, their new musical that opens on Broadway in April.

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