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Leslie Uggams, Leslie Odom, Jr. & More to Perform at New Dramatists' Luncheon, Honoring Brian Stokes Mitchell

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NEW DRAMATISTS, Tony Honor recipient and the nation's premier playwright development laboratory, will honor Tony Award winning actor and Chairman of the Board of The Actors Fund, Brian Stokes Mitchell with their 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award at its 66th Annual Spring Luncheon tribute. The event, to be held Thursday, May 14at the New York Marriott Marquis, will feature musical performances from some of Mitchell's most memorable shows by Tony Award winner Leslie Uggams (King Hedley II, Hallelujah Baby), Nicolette Robinson (Brooklynite, TV's "The Affair," "Hart of Dixie") and Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton, NBC's "Smash"), and Tony nominated Stephanie D'Abruzzo (Avenue Q, Carnival at City Center Encores!). The event chairs are Roger Berlind, Bob Boyett, and Philip J. Smith.

"Working in a community of playwrights, one becomes aware that the life of artists and the making of art is anything but effortless," says Emily Morse, Artistic Director, New Dramatists, "and yet, any performance given by Brian Stokes Mitchell appears effortless. With his deep, resonant voice, and commanding stage presence, he not only sings a song, he makes it soar. Additionally, through his work at The Actors Fund, Mr. Mitchell is dedicated to serving fellow artists. Voice, artistry and community are greatly valued at New Dramatists. That Mr. Mitchell gracefully embodies these values makes him an ideal Luncheon honoree. We look forward to celebrating him this spring."

Each year, New Dramatists salutes an individual who has made an outstanding artistic contribution to the theatre community. Past luncheon honorees have included Susan Stroman, Seth Gelblum, Bernadette Peters, Roger Berlind, Julie Taymor, Horton Foote, Edward Albee, Harvey Fierstein, Chita Rivera, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Julie Andrews, Glenn Close, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, Jerry Herman, Terrence McNally, Barbara Cook, John Kander & Fred Ebb, August Wilson, and Gwen Verdon.

The luncheon will be held at the New York Marriott Marquis (1535 Broadway, between 45th and 46th Streets) on Thursday, May 14 beginning with a champagne reception at 11:15 AM and ending promptly at 2:30 PM. Tickets are $300 (a portion of which is tax-deductible). For tickets, visit newdramatists.org/luncheon or call New Dramatists' director of development, Christie Brown, (212) 757-6960 ext. 5468.

Dubbed "The Last Leading Man" by the New York Times, Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a rich and varied career on Broadway, television and film, along with appearances in the great American concert halls. His musical versatility has kept him in demand by some of the country's finest conductors and orchestras. He has performed selections from Porgy and Bess with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall; works by Aaron Copland and various contemporary composers at the Hollywood Bowl with the L.A. Philharmonic under the batons of Leonard and John Mauceri; Broadway tunes at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC under the baton of the late Marvin Hamlisch (most recently at the National Symphony Orchestra's 75th season Pops concert debut), and jazz and standards with Maestro John Williams at Disney Hall and with the Boston Pops. He debuted Pulitzer prize-winning composer David Del Tredici's Rip Van Winkle with the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. He has been invited to the White House and has performed for Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama. His Broadway career includes performances in Man of La Mancha (Tony nomination and Helen Hayes Award); Kiss Me, Kate (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards); Ragtime (Tony nomination); August Wilson's King Hedley II (Tony nomination); Kiss of the Spider Woman; Jelly's Last Jam; David Merrick's Oh, Kay! and Mail, which earned him a Theatre World Award for outstanding Broadway debut; and Lincoln Center Theatre's production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. He is in his 10th term as Chairman of the Board of The Actors Fund.


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