PRESENT LAUGHTER's Kevin Kline to Host Drama League's Benefit Gala Honoring Steve Martin
The Drama League has announced Academy and Tony Award-winner Kevin Kline and "American Idol" finalist Justin Guarinihave joined the roster of special guest performers for the 34th Annual Musical Celebration of Broadway and the launch of the Benefit Gala Auction.
The black-tie evening honoring Steve Martin - whose prolific body of work has earned him an Academy Award, five Grammy Awards, an Emmy, the Mark Twain Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors - will take place on Monday, November 6, 2017 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in New York City at The Plaza (768 Fifth Avenue).
Celebrating Mr. Martin's career in theater, music, film and television, including this season's Broadway production of his new play Meteor Shower, the gala will feature a one-night-only musical tribute in Mr. Martin's honor with performances by stars of both stage and screen.
The show will be hosted by Academy and Tony Award-winner Kevin Kline (Present Laughter), with special guest appearances by the legendary Carol Kane ("The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"), Ed Helms ("The Hangover," "The Office"), Kermit the Frog (actor, singer, director, producer), and Justin Guarini (In Transit), with Alex Brightman (School of Rock), Lea DeLaria ("Orange is the New Black"), Jennifer Simard (Hello, Dolly!), Lauren Worsham (A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder) and more. Drama League Directors Project alumna Samantha Saltzman directs.
The 2017 Benefit Gala Honoring Steve Martin is produced by Drama League Associate Producer Travis LeMont Ballenger. The creative team includes Timothy Huang (writer), Billy Griffin (choreographer), David Evans(music director), Brandon Pape (associate producer), Melissa Spengler Winner (production stage manager), Nick Kolin (lighting), Michael Tracey (sound), Whitney Locher (costume).
"Steve Martin is one of America's great artists," noted Drama League Executive Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks. "Film, television, theater, music, comedy...for decades, he has been at the pinnacle of these art forms, bringing warmth and humor to each creative endeavor." He went on to add, "As our organization moves forward with its second century of nurturing the development of emerging theater artists, it is fitting that we honor someone whose work embodies the vast possibilities that theater offers. We are excited for this opportunity to gather the theater community together to celebrate Steve, particularly in anticipation of the Broadway premiere of his new play this fall."
"I'm thrilled to be honoring Steve. This is going to be a great night for Steve, Broadway and banjo players," said Kermit the Frog. "Y'see Steve and I have known each other since we were both young banjo players trying to break into show biz. Back then, we were always being mistaken for each other, so Steve started wearing a white suit, and I started working green and naked. We're both glad it wasn't the other way around."
Past performers at The Drama League's Benefit Gala include Liza Minnelli, Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Colbert, Harry Connick, Jr., Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth, Angela Lansbury, Tony Bennett, Nick Jonas, and casts of Broadway's hottest musicals. For details about tickets, which include VIP Tables and individual seats, please call (212) 244-9494, Ext. 101 or visit www.dramaleague.org.
The Gala Chair is Joseph Pizza; the Vice Chairs are Anna May & Tim Feige, Kathy Henderson, Kathleen K. Johnson, Janet M. Kagan, and Stan Ponte & John Metzner. The Gala Committee includes Alchemy Properties, Bonnie Comley & Stewart F. Lane, Leslie C. Feldman, The John Gore Organization, Julie & Rich Meister, The Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts, and Sotheby's International Realty. The Drama League Benefit Gala Sponsors are Delta Air Lines, the Official Airline of The Drama League; Sceneworks Studios, Major Sponsor of the 2017 Benefit Gala; M.A.C. Cosmetics, the Official Make-up Partner of The Drama League; and Starbright Floral Design, the Official Florist of The Drama League.
The Drama League's 2017 Benefit Gala Charity Auction, featuring once-in-a-lifetime prize packages, is open for bidding at www.biddingforgood.com/thedramaleague. Prizes include VIP theater experiences (such as tickets to The Portuguese Kid and a meet-and-greet with Jason Alexander; tickets to Come From Away and a meet-and-greet with Tony Award nominee Jenn Colella; tickets to Torch Song and a chance to meet Michael Urie); exclusive luxury vacations at a Sicilian Villa, a Sourthern French chateau, and a Swiss Alps chalet; designer goods from brands like Longchamp, Alexis Bittar, Cole Haan, and Chanel; and more. Online bidding closes TODAY November 2, with only select items continuing to the in-person silent auction at the gala on Monday, November 6, 2017 which closes at the end of cocktails.
The Drama League Benefit Gala and Auction raises funds to support the organization's programming and educational initiatives, including The Drama League Directors Project. This award-winning initiative began in 1984, has over 300 alumni, and has been instrumental in launching the careers of many acclaimed theater directors including Tony Award winners Rebecca Taichman (Time and The Conways), Christopher Ashley (Come FromAway), Sam Gold (Fun Home), Diane Paulus (Waitress), Pam MacKinnon (The Parisian Woman), Michael Mayer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), John Rando (Gettin' The Band Back Together); Tony Award nominees Mark Brokaw (Heisenberg), Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812), Moritz von Steulpnagel (Present Laughter) and Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson); as well as OBIE and Emmy winnersLear deBessonet, R.J. Cutler, Anne Kaufmann, and Lila Neugebauer, to name a few. 'Drama League Directors' have been honored with Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Obie, Peabody, Drama Desk, GLAAD, Drama League, New York Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics, Evening Standard, Lucille Lortel, Bessie, Princess Grace, Garland, Drama-Logue, Barrymore, Helen Hayes, Elliot Norton, and Joseph Jefferson Awards, and have directed films and plays that received Academy Award nominations and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The Drama League of New York has been at the forefront of the American Theater community providing talent, audiences, and prosperous support since 1916. It is one of the nation's oldest continuously-operating, not-for-profit arts advocacy and education organizations. Through its programs, initiatives and events, The Drama League serves over 3,000 artists and 15,000 audience members each season with over 150 events and programs. More information can be found at www.dramaleague.org.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride