Lea Salonga, John Leguizamo and More Set to Participate in Theatre Forward's Broadway Roundtable

Lea Salonga, John Leguizamo and More Set to Participate in Theatre Forward's Broadway Roundtable

Theatre Forward and UBS will host the 15th Annual Broadway Roundtable on Friday, February 2 at UBS (1285 Avenue of the Americas) from 12:00pm - 2:00pm.

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, with a panel that includes Heather A. Hitchens, President and CEO of the American Theatre Wing; Keegan-Michael Key, Emmy-winning actor, comedian, writer and producer (Meteor Shower, Hamlet, "Key and Peele"); John Leguizamo, Emmy and Obie Award-winning actor and playwright (Latin History for Morons, Freak, Mambo Mouth); Daryl Roth, award-winning Broadway producer (Kinky Boots, Indecent); Lea Salonga, Tony Award-winning actor (Once On This Island, Miss Saigon, Les Misérables) and Irene Sankoff and David Hein, the Tony-nominated and Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Award-winning songwriting and book-writing team behind Come From Away.

The theme of this year's roundtable, New Frontiers in Theatre, focuses on the stories on stage and in the community and how those tales can make an impact. The confirmed panelists all share a passion for the power of storytelling and how theatre can change lives.

The Roundtable will also serve as a kick-off for the 2018 Theatre Forward Chairman's Awards Gala, which will be held on Monday, April 9 at The Pierre Hotel and celebrate Theatre Forward's 40th Anniversary.

HEATHER A. HITCHENS is a nationally recognized arts leader with more than 25 years of performing arts administration, policy, and program development experience.

Hitchens began her tenure as President and CEO the American Theatre Wing (ATW) in July of 2011. As ATW's chief executive officer, she is charged with maintaining its brand of excellence in the Tony Awards as well as overseeing and shaping its extensive grant making, professional development, education, media, and awards programs.

Prior to ATW, Hitchens served a four-year term as Governor Eliot Spitzer's appointee as Executive Director of the New York State Council on the Arts, the largest state arts agency in the country. Hitchens also completed a successful ten-year stint as President of the renowned national arts service organization Meet The Composer, and prior to that served as Executive Director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and worked for the American Music Theatre Festival in Philadelphia.

A percussionist since the age of six and a lifelong lover of the performing arts, Hitchens holds a M.S. in Arts Administration from Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA and a B.M. in Percussion/Music Business from DePauw, Greencastle, IN

Emmy and Peabody Award winning actor, writer, and producer Keegan-Michael Key recently made his Broadway debut in Steve Martin's Meteor Shower, co-starring Amy Schumer and Laura Benanti and directed by Jerry Zaks. Key previously made his New York Theater debut in the Summer of 2017 as 'Horatio' in Sam Gold's production of Hamlet at The Public Theater.

A mainstay in film, he will next be seen in Shane Black's reboot of The Predator, out in theaters on August 3rd, 2018. He will also lend his considerable voice talents to Jon Favreau's 2019 reimagining of the Disney classicThe Lion King as the hyena 'Kamari.' Key's past film credits include Win It All, Don't Think Twice, Keanu, and Afternoon Delight, as well as animated films The Star, Storks, Hotel Transylvania 2 and the upcoming Hotel Transylvania 3.

On the small screen, Key will reprise his role as 'Ethan' in Nick Stoller's adult dramedy "Friends from College," which will premiere its second season on Netflix sometime this year. His beloved sketch comedy series "Key and Peele" ran for five seasons on Comedy Central and earned him an Emmy Award in 2016 for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series; Key was also individually nominated for his performance. In 2013, Key and writing partner Jordan Peele won a Peabody Award.

He can also be heard as the 'American Ranger' on Crackle's stop motion animated series "SuperMansion," which earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Character Voice-Over performance. Key first made a name for himself as a regular cast member on the sketch comedy series "Mad TV," where he performed for six seasons.

Named one of Time Magazine's 'Most Influential People' in 2014 and an Entertainment Weekly 'Entertainer of the Year' in 2012, Key is a veteran of Detroit and Chicago's The Second City. A proud Detroit native, he earned his BFA at University of Detroit Mercy, and an MFA in theatre from Pennsylvania State University.

Emmy Award winner John Leguizamo, has appeared in over 100 films and countless television shows while establishing a career that defies categorization. He is currently appearing on Broadway in his original one man show Latin History for Morons, marking his sixth one-man show he has both written and performed. He can also be seen in the recently released six-part TV series Waco.

John garnered a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a sensitive drag queen in To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, was the recipient of the 2002 ALMA Special Achievment Award for Entertainer of the Year, and picked up ALMA Award nominations for his roles in Moulin Rouge (Best Supporting Actor) and King of the Jungle (Best Lead Actor).

In 1991, Leguizamo created his first off-Broadway sensation as the writer and performer of his one-man show Mambo Mouth, in which he portrayed seven different characters. He received Obie, Outer Critics Circle and Vanguardia awards for this performance. Leguizamo went on to create his second off-Broadway one-man show Spic-O-Rama, which garnered a Dramatists' Guild Hull-Warriner Award for Best American Play, the Lucille Lortel Outstanding Achievement Award for Best Broadway Performance, the Theatre World Award for Outstanding New Talent, and the Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performance. Leguizamo's debut to Broadway was his one-man show, Freak, for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Play and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play. Additional theater credits include, Sexaholix... A Love Story, which received a Tony nomination for Best Special Theatrical Performance; A Midsummer Night's Dream, La Puta Vida Trilogy; and American Buffalo.

Daryl Roth is an Award-winning Broadway producer honored to hold the singular distinction of producing seven Pulitzer Prize-winning plays: Anna in the Tropics; August: Osage County (2008 Tony Award); Clybourne Park (2012 Tony Award); How I Learned to Drive; Proof (2001 Tony Award); Edward Albee's Three Tall Women; and Wit. The proud recipient of eleven Tony Awards and London's Olivier Award, her over 110 award winning productions both on and Off-Broadway include the Tony and Olivier Award winning Kinky Boots, now in its 5th smash year on Broadway and around the globe (London, Toronto, Australia, Korea, Japan, Germany). Other highlights in her producing career include: Buyer and Cellar; Caroline, or Change; Curtains; The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (2002 Tony Award); Paula Vogel's Indecent; Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron's Love, Loss, and What I Wore; The Normal Heart (2011 Tony Award); The Tale of the Allergist's Wife; War Horse (2011 Tony Award); and Wiesenthal. Ms. Roth was recently named to Crain's 2017 "50 Most Powerful Women in New York." She is a member of the New York City Police Foundation Board of Trustees and the Mayor's Theater Sub-district Council, and an Honorary Trustee for Lincoln Center Theatre, having served on the Board for 21 years. She is proud to have been inducted into the 2017 Theatre Hall of Fame. www.DarylRothProductions.com.

Lea Salonga, known across the world for her powerful voice and perfect pitch, Lea Salonga is a singer and actress who is best known for her Tony Award winning role in Miss Saigon. In addition to the Tony, she has won the Olivier, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Awards, in the field of musical theatre. She was also the first Asian to play Eponine in the musical Les Misérables on Broadway and returned to the beloved show as Fantine in the 2006 revival in addition to starring in the 10th and 25th Anniversary Concerts filmed and recorded for PBS. Lea's other Broadway appearances include Flower Drum Song and Allegiance. Lea currently stars in the acclaimed Broadway revival of Once on This Island. Many fans of all ages recognize Lea as the singing voice of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Fa Mulan for Mulan and Mulan II. For her portrayal of the beloved princesses, the Walt Disney Company bestowed her with the honor of "Disney Legend" in August of 2011. As a concert artist Lea has toured all over the world, performing sold out concerts in some of the world's most iconic venues including the Sydney Opera House, Disney Concert Hall, Singapore's Esplanade, Hong Kong Cultural Center, Carnegie Hall, and London's O2 Arena.

Irene Sankoff & David Hein are a Canadian married writing team. Their first show, My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding (based on David's mother's true story) was the hit of the Toronto Fringe Festival, and then picked up for a commercial run by Mirvish Productions. It has now played and won best musical awards in the New York Musical Theatre Festival and across North America, with Sankoff and Hein performing in most productions. Come From Away was developed at the Canadian Music Theatre Project and Goodspeed Musicals' Festival of New Artists, showcased at the NAMT Festival of New Works and enjoyed a record-setting world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle Repertory, followed by Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto and the Gander Community Centre Hockey Rink. Come From Away won three 2017 Dora Mavor Moore Awards, four Helen Hayes Awards, five Outer Critics Circle Awards and three Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical. David and Irene were nominated for Tony Awards for Best Book and Score and won the 2017 Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk awards for Best Book. Irene and David Are proud members of the Dramatists Guild and ASCAP. Immeasurable thanks to all of Molly's People, to everyone who helped us on this journey and to our extraordinary friends from Away and in Newfoundland for inspiring and trusting us to tell your story. @sankoffandhein

Bruce E. Whitacre has been Executive Director of Theatre Forward since 2002. Whitacre has expanded theatre access programs on Broadway and across the country, managed a successful sponsorship program that has brought over $15 million in benefits to theatres, including media, luxury goods and financial services partnerships. 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. 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.

Theatre Forward is devoted to advancing the American theatre and its communities by providing funding and other resources to the country's leading nonprofit theatres. Through its network of leading corporate, foundation and individual funders, as well as regional theatres, Theatre Forward aims to increase access and opportunity for all to experience theatre that builds community and sets the stage for individual achievement by advancing strong theatre and educating through theatre.

Theatre Forward is an association of institutional nonprofit theatres located in 19 cities across the country.

Theatre Forward, formerly National Corporate Theatre Fund, was created in 1977 by our 10 founding member theatres. Today, Theatre Forward theatres include The Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alley Theatre, ALLIANCE THEATRE, American Conservatory Theater, American Repertory Theater, Arena Stage, Center Theatre Group, Cleveland Play House, Dallas Theater Center, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Goodman Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Old Globe, Seattle Repertory Theatre and Trinity Repertory Company, and Walnut Street Theatre.

For more information, please visit theatreforward.org.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

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