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SCANDAL's Joe Morton and MOTOWN's Valisia LeKae Tapped to Co-Host 2016 TRU Love Benefit


SCANDAL's Joe Morton and MOTOWN's Valisia LeKae Tapped to Co-Host 2016 TRU Love Benefit

Tickets are now on sale for the 2016 TRU Love Benefit, Embracing the Unlimited: A Celebration of Inclusion in the Arts, now being co-hosted by film/TV/theater star Joe Morton, Emmy Award winner for Scandal, fondly remembered for TV's Eureka and the acclaimed off-Broadway's Turn Me Loose. He joins Tony nominated Valisia LeKae (Motown the Musical) and previously announced performers, including Jay Armstrong Johnson and Tony winner Tonya Pinkins.

The event will take place November 6, 2016, beginning at 6pm with pre-show cocktails at the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center* lobby, awards and performance in the Bruno Walter Auditorium, plus a cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception afterwards at the upcoming Lincoln Center exhibition of costumes from Olivier and Tony Award winning musicals, Curtain Up: Celebrating 40 Years of Theatre in London and New York.

The fundraiser will feature a Silent Auction and a Live Auction whose prizes will include impossible-get producer house seats to Hamilton, plus an $8000 Azamara cruise to anywhere in the world and a UniWorld River Cruise valued at $10,000. Reserved honoree tickets are sold out; there is availability of VIP tickets at $150 which will include unreserved seating at performance and reception/exhibition, as well as a $90 show-only general admission ticket. Tickets are on sale at

A performance celebrating the achievements of the honorees will be co-hosted by Joe Morton and Valisia LeKae, stepping in for the previously announcEd Hamilton star, Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon. It will be directed by Jeff Whiting (Bullets Over Broadway, Scottsboro Boys, Big Fish, Young Frankenstein). The show will feature Alicia Hall Moran (Porgy and Bess) repeating her role from Porgy and Bess; Lisa O'Hare, Drama Desk winner Lauren Worsham, and Jeff Kready recreating their roles from A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder; Bre Jackson performing from her current show, The Color Purple; and appearances by Tony Award-winning Broadway star Tonya Pinkins (Caroline, or Change, Play On!, Holler If Ya Hear Me, Tony winner for Jelly's Last Jam, Livia Frye on the soap opera All My Children); Jay Armstrong Johnson (On the Town revival, Hands on a Hardbody, Catch Me If You Can, Hair original revival cast, Working at Prospect Theater Co); Alexis Field; Mana Allen; Aneesh Sheth; Jonathan Larsonand Ed Kleban Award-winning song writer Joe Iconis; Jonathan Larson award winner Julianne Wick Davis (writer of the transgender-centered musical Southern Comfort); transgender actor Em Grosland; and Jonathan Larson Award winning writer Sam Salmond.

TRU will be recognizing three people who are each helping to change the landscape of theater in highly individual ways. The 2016 TRU Spirit of Theater Award will be awarded to theater and film producer Ron Simons(Hughie with Forrest Whitaker, The Gin Game with Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones, revivals of A Streetcar Named Desire and Porgy & Bess, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Turn Me Loose with Joe Morton)for expanding opportunities for African-American artists in commercial theater, and encouraging narratives that dig deeply into the under-represented communities' struggle for dignity and acceptance; the TRU Humanitarian Award will be presented to Shakina Nayfack, transgender activist, actor (Lola in TV's "Difficult People") and producer, for her work nurturing and developing new voices through the Musical Theater Factory as well as giving the transgender community a strong, eloquent political voice; and the TRU Entrepreneur Award will go to Jennifer Ashley Tepper, theater historian, producer, Director of Programming at Feinstein's/54 Below, author of The Untold Stories of Broadway historical series being a leading force in bringing the discussion of Broadway histories and traditions to contemporary musical theater, breathing new life into cabaret and successfully tapping into the cultural zeitgeist.

TRU also announces the luminaries who have added their names to the Honoree Benefit Committee: actors Daniel Beaty (Through The Night, Emergency), Jay Armstrong Johnson and Joe Morton (Scandal, American Gangster, Terminator 2), Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins, Patricia Cruz of Harlem Stage; producers Van Dean, Eric Falkenstein, Tom Hulce and Cheryl Wiesenfeld (Tony Awards for All the Way, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Porgy and Bess and Elaine Stritch: At Liberty), financial advisor and producer Bailie Slevin, director Michael Mayer (Tony Award for Spring Awakening, plus Hedwig and the Angry Inch, American Idiot, Thoroughly Modern Millie) and writer Joe Iconis.

"If theater is to survive, it needs to recognize and reflect the variety of lives and experiences all around us. This year we take special pride in acknowledging the achievements of people who are working to expand our cultural experience," says TRU executive director Bob Ost. "We're celebrating diversity, and everyone's invited to the party!"

The proceeds from this event directly benefit the programs of Theater Resources Unlimited, a not-for-profit service organization that educates people in the business of the arts, with a focus on producers, emerging theater companies and self-Producing Artists. Programs include monthly panels, workshops, a Producer Development and Mentorship Program, a new plays and new musicals reading series and a community e-blast of jobs, services, resources and theater events.

For inquiries about the event, email or call 212-714-7628 or visit to purchase tickets.

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is the leading network for developing theater professionals, a twenty-four year old 501c3 nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of the arts. Membership includes self-Producing Artists as well as career producers and theater companies.

TRU publishes an email community newsletter of services, goods and productions; presents the TRU VOICES Annual New Play Reading Series and Annual New Musicals Reading Series, two new works series in which TRU underwrites developmental readings to nurture new shows as well as new producers for theater; offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program whose mentors are among the most prominent producers and general managers in New York Theater, and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop the business skills they need. TRU serves writers through a Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, How to Write a Musical That Works and a Director-Writer Communications Lab; programs for actors include the Annual Combined Audition, Resource Nights and "Speed Dating" as well as actor workshops.

Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by public funds awarded through the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA)with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, 9th district Council Member Inez Dickens; and with support from the Montage Foundation and the Friars National Association Foundation.

For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit or call (212) 714-7628.

* Use of library space for this program does not indicate endorsement by The New York Public Library.

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