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Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal to Receive Samuel H. Scripps Award 5/10

Tony Award-winner Julie Taymor and Oscar-winner Elliot Goldenthal will be honored with the Samuel H. Scripps Award at Theatre for a New Audience's 30th Anniversary Gala Celebrating Shakespeare's 446th Birthday. The celebration, Monday, May 10, will be held at The Powerhouse at the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street.

Actor Alfred Molina, currently starring on Broadway in the widely-acclaimed Red as Mark Rothko and a recent winner of the British Independent Film Award for his supporting actor role in An Education, will be Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Bass-baritone Eric Owens, who created the title role in the world premiere of Mr. Goldenthal's acclaimed Grendel, will sing from that opera.

Composer John Corigliano (Pulitzer Prize, Oscar and three-time Grammy winner) and Shakespeare scholar Jonathan Andrew Bate will present the Scripps award to Ms. Taymor and Mr. Goldenthal.

Established in 2005, the Samuel H. Scripps Award recognizes extraordinary commitment to promoting the power of language in classic and Contemporary Theatre. The award is a sculpture of Shakespeare by Milton Glaser. Prior year recipients include Mark Rylance, Cicely Berry, C.B.E. Hon. D.Lit, Robert Neff Williams, author Tony Kushner, and author and actor Wallace Shawn.

The Gala Chair for the evening is Monica G-S. Wambold, a member of Theatre for a New Audience's Board of Directors. The Gala corporate sponsor is Deloitte LLP. Theodore C. Rogers is Chairman of the Board of Theatre for a New Audience.

Jeffrey Horowitz, Founder and Artistic Director of Theatre for a New Audience, celebrating its 30th year, explained "Samuel H. Scripps, a member of our Board, enabled this Theatre to bring Shakespeare to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. We're honored to present this to Juliet and Eliot. Together, she has also directed and he has scored the films Titus, Across the Universe and Frida, as well as Goldenthal's original two act opera, Grendel, which premiered at the Los Angeles Opera and was named one of the two finalists for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in music. Julie and Elliot have a special place in Theatre for a New Audience's heart; she started with us in 1984 as a designer before directing her first Shakespeare play, The Tempest, for us two years later, and he composed the music for many of the plays she directed with us, including Gozzi's The Green Bird, translated by Albert Bernel, prior to its move to Broadway and Tony nomination, The Tempest, and Titus Andronicus, which inspired her film directorial debut in 1999 with Titus, starring Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange."

Ms Taymor's next Shakespeare-inspired film, The Tempest, will be released in 2010 and features a score by Mr. Goldenthal and stars Helen Mirren, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou and Ben Whishaw.

Ms. Taymor has also directed opera productions of The Magic Flute (now in repertory at the Met) and Oedipus Rex, Salomé and The Flying Dutchman. She is currently preparing for a Broadway production of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Mr. Goldenthal's concert work includes Fire Water Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio, which debuted at the Pacific Symphony with Seiji Ozawa conducting. In 1997, he composed Othello, for the American Ballet Theatre. Ms. Taymor and Mr. Goldenthal, deeply connected to Theatre for a New Audience for many years, together serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Theatre's Capital Campaign.

Samuel H. Scripps (1927 - 2007) was a visionary philanthropist who played a pivotal role in supporting theatre and dance. For Theatre for a New Audience, Samuel Scripps made a leadership gift to enable the Theatre to expand its body of work in Shakespeare and classical drama. Samuel Scripps championed Shakespeare's Globe in London. He has provided leadership support to BAM, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the American Dance Festival and the American Society for Eastern Arts.

The Gala
The evening will begin at 6:30 pm with a cocktail reception and silent auction and continues at 7:30 pm with a seated dinner. Live music will be provided by the Jazz Museum in Harlem All-Stars followed by presentation of the Samuel H. Scripps Award and live auction of unique donated items conducted by Alison Delaney.

Among the noted guests are New York City Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Kate D. Levin, film producer Lynn Hendee, and president of Disney Theatrical Group Thomas Schumacher. In addition the gala will be attended by the following notable artists: Sigourney Weaver, Didi Conn, Daniel Ezralow, Teese Gohl, Ned Eisenberg and Richard Martinez.

Theatre for a New Audience
Founded in 1979 by Jeffrey Horowitz, Theatre for a New Audience's mission is to develop and vitalize the performance and study of Shakespeare and classical drama. The Theatre vigorously engages with Shakespeare and plays from the world repertoire. The Theatre has produced twenty-nine of the Bard's plays with directors who include Sir Peter Hall, Mark Rylance, Bartlett Sher and Julie Taymor, and a diverse repertory by authors such as Harley Granville Barker, Edward Bond and Adrienne Kennedy. It has played on Broadway, toured nationally and internationally.

In 2001, Theatre for a New Audience became the first American theatre invited to bring a production of Shakespeare to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-upon-Avon. Cymbeline, directed by Bartlett Sher, premiered at the RSC and in 2007, Theatre for a New Audience was invited to return with The Merchant of Venice starring F. Murray Abraham and directed by Darko Tresnjak.

The Theatre's productions have been honored with Tony, OBIE, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Lortel and Audelco awards and nominations and reach an audience diverse in age, economics and cultural backgrounds. It created and runs the largest program in the New York City Public Schools for introducing students to Shakespeare which has served over 120,000 students. In conjunction with Columbia University, it runs a summer institute for NYC Public School teachers on the teaching of Shakespeare. It offers a free summer, drama program for high school students. The Theatre's distinctive TFANA TALKS talk back series for general audiences is free in conjunction with performances and its economically accessible ticket program includes the lowest reserved ticket price for youths in the city, $10 for any show, any time for those 25 years old and under.

Photo credit Len Irish.

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