George Takei, Danielle Brooks, Jessica Hecht & More Set for Theatre Forward's Annual Broadway Roundtable
Theatre Forward and UBS will host the 13th Annual Broadway Roundtable on Friday, January 29th at UBS (1285 Avenue of the Americas) from 12:00pm - 2:00pm.
Hosted by Gregory S. Hurst of UBS and moderated by Theatre Forward Executive Director Bruce E. Whitacre, the exclusive luncheon will explore the current Broadway landscape with some of Broadway's leading players and stars, Joshua Borenstein, Managing Director of Long Wharf Theatre; Danielle Brooks, currently making her Broadway debut in The Color Purple ("Orange is the New Black"); Jessica Hecht, currently appearing in the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof; Tony Award-winning producer, Ruth Hendel (Eclipsed, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Fela!, and The Gin Game); Tony Award-winning music director and orchestrator Alex Lacamoire (Hamilton, In the Heights); Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys, Big River, The Who's Tommy); activist, film, television and stage star George Takei ("Star Trek," Allegiance). The theme of this year's roundtable is underrepresented voices and empowerment, as each panelist has a history of shining light on a diverse aspect of the human story, with many centering around the immigrant experience.
The Roundtable will also serve as a kick-off for the Theatre Forward Chairman's Awards Gala, which will be held on Monday, April 11 at The Pierre Hotel. Theatre Forward was formerly known as National Corporate Theatre Fund.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
JOSHUA BORENSTEIN is in his fifth season as Long Wharf Theatre's Managing Director. In this capacity, Borenstein co-produces the season with Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein by leading the theatre's administrative and financial operations. During his tenure, Long Wharf celebrated its 50th anniversary season; led an Off-Broadway transfer of Satchmo at the Waldorf to New York; completed a $4 million, award-winning renovation of the Claire Tow Stage at the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre; and doubled the size of its education department. Borenstein also worked at Long Wharf from 2003 to 2007 in various general management capacities. Prior to Long Wharf, Borenstein served in various roles at AMS Planning & Research, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Trinity Repertory Company. Borenstein was also at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston through Theatre Communication Group's "New Generations" program.
Borenstein has been a guest lecturer at Yale University, Southern Connecticut State University, and Boston University. He has served as a grant panelist for the NEA, the Greater Hartford Arts Council, and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. Borenstein currently serves on the boards of Theatre Forward, Connecticut Arts Alliance, and New Haven's Arts Industry Coalition. He was recognized in Connecticut Magazine's "40 Under 40: Class of 2014." Borenstein is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Yale School of Drama.
Danielle Brooks Danielle Brooks can currently be seen onstage in the moving revival of The Color Purple, starring opposite Cynthia Erivo and Jennifer Hudson. Brooks makes her Broadway debut as the strong and fierce "Sophia," who symbolizes resilience for Erivo's "Celie." The musical debuted to rave reviews and is currently playing at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.
Brooks is best known for her role as Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson in Netflix's Emmy-nominated series, "Orange is the New Black." Brooks and her cast received a SAG Award in 2014 for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, and Danielle was the recipient of the Young Hollywood Award for Breakthrough Actress. Brooks has also appeared in HBO's "Girls" and AZIZ ANSARI's Netflix comedy series, "Master of None."
On the big screen, Brooks voiced a character for Sony's Angry Birds, set to be released in May 2016, and previously starred in Oren Moverman's Time Out of Mind and the independent feature I Dream Too Much, which premiered at 2015 SXSW. Brooks grew up in South Carolina and is a graduate of the Juilliard School.
Jessica Hecht Broadway: Fiddler on the Roof, The Assembled Parties (MTC, Lilly Award), Harvey (Roundabout), A View From the Bridge (Tony, Drama League noms.), Brighton Beach Memoirs, Julius Caesar, After the Fall (Roundabout), The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Off-Broadway: King Lear (NYSF), Stage Kiss (Playwrights Horizons, Outer Critics Circle nom.), The Three Sisters (Drama League nom.), The House in Town (Lincoln Center), Flesh and Blood (NYTW), Stop Kiss (Drama League nom.). Film: Anesthesia, J. Edgar, Whatever Works, Dan in Real Life, Starting Out in the Evening, Sideways, The Grey Zone. TV: "Breaking Bad," "Jessica Jones," Limitless," "Bored to Death," "Nurse Jackie," "Law & Order," "Friends."
Ruth Hendel is a producer of numerous Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theatre productions. She and her husband were the lead producers of Fela! which played twice on Broadway as well as at the London Royal National's Olivier Theatre. Her current shows on Broadway include: King Charles III, A View from the Bridge, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Tony). Her upcoming shows this spring are: Eclipsed, The Crucible, and Shuffle Along. Other select productions include: The Gin Game, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Tony); A Gentleman's Guide. . . (Tony); Of Mice and Men; The Flick; Fish in the Dark; A Raisin in the Sun (Tony); Clybourne Park (Tony); Death of a Salesman (Tony); The Motherf**ker With the Hat; American Idiot; Red (Tony); 33 Variations; In the Heights (associate producer), The Exonerated; Caroline, or Change; Metamorphoses. Ruth and her husband produced the documentary Finding Fela directed by Alex Gibney. She is on the boards of LAByrinth Theatre Company, The Play Company, Yale School of Drama and is the vice-chair of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.
Alex Lacamoire is the music director and orchestrator of Hamilton on Broadway, for which he received an Obie Award and a Drama Desk nomination for its Off-Broadway run. Alex won a Tony and a Grammy as the music supervisor, co-orchestrator and cast album producer of In The Heights. Select credits as music director, arranger and/or orchestrator: Wicked, Bring It On; Annie (2012); 9 To 5 (Drama Desk and Grammy noms); High Fidelity; Bat Boy: The Musical; Godspell (National 2001 tour), and Dear Evan Hansen (Arena Stage). He's an Emmy-nominated composer for Sesame Street.
Des McAnuff is a two-time Tony Award-winning director and former Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival. He is also Director Emeritus of La Jolla Playhouse, where during his tenure he directed more than 30 productions of classics, new plays and musicals. Broadway: Doctor Zhivago, Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls, Aaron Sorkin's The Farnsworth Invention, Jersey Boys (Tony and Olivier Awards: Best Musical), Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays (Tony Award: Best Special Theatrical Event), Dracula the Musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Who's Tommy (Tony and Olivier Awards: Best Director), A Walk in the Woods, and Big River (Tony Awards: Best Director, Best Musical). Other New York: Fetch Clay, Make Man (New York Theatre Workshop); The Crazy Locomotive (Chelsea Theater Center); The Death of Von Richthofen As Witnessed From Earth, Henry IV Part 1, Mary Stuart and Leave It to Beaver Is Dead (Public Theater). Stratford highlights: A Word or Two, Caesar and Cleopatra, The Tempest (all with Christopher Plummer). Opera: Faust (Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera). Film: Cousin Bette (director), The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (director), The Iron Giant (producer) and Quills (executive producer).
George Takei is best known for his portrayal of Mr. Sulu in the acclaimed television and film series Star Trek.
Takei's acting career has spanned nearly six decades, with more than 40 feature films and hundreds of television guest-starring roles to his credit. Inspired by his experience in the United States internment camps, Takei developed the musical Allegiance, an epic story of love, family and heroism in which he stars alongside Tony Award winner Lea Salonga. Takei serves as chair of the council of governors of East West Players, the nation's foremost Asian Pacific American theater. He is also a member of the Human Rights Campaign; Chairman Emeritus of the Japanese American National Museum's Board of Trustees; a board member of the US-Japan Bridging Foundation's; and served on the Board of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission under President Clinton. To Be Takei, a Jennifer M. Kroot documentary on the life and career of Takei, premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January 2014. His bestselling books include To the Stars, Oh Myyy! There Goes The Internet, and its sequel, Lions And Tigers And Bears: The Internet Strikes Back. Takei and his husband, Brad Takei, were married at the Japanese American National Museum on Sept. 14, 2008.
Bruce E. Whitacre Since joining Theatre Forward, then known as National Corporate Theatre Fund as Executive Director in 2002, Whitacre has expanded theatre access programs on Broadway and across the country, managed a successful sponsorship program on that has brought over $15 million in benefits to theatres, including media, luxury goods and financial services partnerships. Theatre Forward, which represents 19 outstanding resident theatres and is supported by over 40 corporations and firms, forges strong and productive partnerships between the not-for-profit theatre community and corporate America. Media partnerships with Clear Channel, Aol.com, USA Today and Ovation TV, and technology programs through Sharp and Cisco have brought visibility and technology to theatres. Theatre Forward's just concluded Impact Creativity, a campaign to sustain and grow theatre education programs that improve workforce preparedness. This effort is supported by the Hearst Foundations, Ernst & Young and Wells Fargo, among others.
Prior to Theatre Forward, Whitacre was Managing Director of New York's Signature Theatre Company for four seasons. He began his career in theatre in the Script Department of Manhattan Theatre Club, and he has been a dramaturg at the Mark Taper Forum, ASK Theatre Projects, and other venues. His corporate experience includes accounting, budgeting and administration in the publishing and banking industries, as well as a three-year stint with the United Nations World Food Programme in Rome, Italy. He holds an MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and a BS in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.