Lynne Thigpen/Bobo Lewis Foundation Created for Actors, Writers, and Directors

By: Apr. 26, 2005

There is a new safety net in town for actors, writers, and directors and it is The Lynne Thigpen/Bobo Lewis Foundation. This new and very needed non-profit foundation will be arriving on schedule in New York City on June 7, 2005. Established in the name of two well-known, beloved New York actresses, the foundation was created following the untimely death of Tony and Obie Award-winning actress Lynne Thigpen. Its mission is to mentor, educate and create access opportunity for artists who, at the threshold of their careers, are vulnerable due to lack of knowledge of and connection to the business.

Program Director for the foundation Rozanne Gates says, "When I was Lynne's agent, Bobo Lewis was Lynne's mentor. We intend to create that kind of mentor relationship between the artists in our foundation and the established professional community. To know where the cracks are in the boards on the stage, so to speak, can rescue one from some unnecessary calamities." Ms. Gates currently teaches a class in "The Business of Acting" at Columbia University, SUNY-Purchase College, and TVI Studios in New York. She was Lynne Thigpen's agent for close to twenty years. The initial programs being offered to the foundation's artists include "Backstage Pass", "The Business of Acting" (taught by Gates), and "The Casting Director's Forum". Entry to the foundation's programs is by audition only. For information, email

The foundation will debut with a champagne benefit performance of Cheryl West's new play at Second Stage Theatre, "Birdie Blue", on June 7. Tickets purchased for this performance will benefit the foundation and its artists. The foundation's artists will be introduced at this performance. Ms. Thigpen's last stage appearance was at Second Stage Theatre in her Obie Award-winning performance in Ms. West's comedy masterpiece, "Jar the Floor." This benefit performance, starring S. Epatha Merkeson, will hold a great deal of meaning for all involved. For more information about the benefit, contact Second Stage at 212-787-8302 or the Lynne Thigpen/Bobo Lewis Foundation at 212-675-7572 or email