Tony Nominee Bryce Pinkham, Kelli Barrett, Lesli Margherita, and More Join TRU Love Benefit
Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) will celebrate its 24th year as a not-for-profit service organization with its annual gala, the TRU Love Benefit. This year's theme is Making Our Gardens Grow, and a stellar lineup of Broadway stars has joined the cast: Bryce Pinkham (The Heidi Chronicles, Tony nominee for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder), Tony Award Winner and Grammy Nominee Milly Shapiro (Matilda), her Broadway-Star Sister Abigail Shapiro (The Grinch Who Stole Christmas), Broadway star Kelli Barrett (Dr. Zhivago, Wicked), Jessica Keenan Wynn (Beautiful, Heathers), Olivier Award winner Lesli Margherita (currently in Dames at Sea) and a performance by The Classical Theatre of Harlem.
They join the originally announced lineup: winner of TV's "The Voice" Jermaine Paul, Obie-winner Nikkole Salter (In the Continuum), preeminent magician Todd Robbins (Play Dead), Howie Michael Smith (My Life Is a Musical) and cabaret favorite Lynn DiMenna. The show is co-hosted by cabaret's Sidney Myer and rapper Power Malu, directed by Kimberly Loren Eaton and David Elliot, with Musical Director Michael Lavine, production managed by Jesse Langston.
TRU will be recognizing three people who are each helping to change the landscape of theater in highly individual ways. The 2015 TRU Spirit of Theater Award, given to a member of the producing community who has demonstrated exceptional generosity, support and kindness to others in the business, will be awarded to producer Patrick Blake (The 39 Steps, Bedlam Theatre's Hamlet/St. Joan, Play Dead, My Life Is a Musical, The Exonerated, In the Continuum), also the founder of Rhymes Over Beats, a game-changing new hip hop theater company; the TRU Humanitarian Award will be presented to Teresa Eyring on behalf of one of American theater's pre-eminent service organizations, Theatre Communications Group (TCG); and the TRU Entrepreneur Award, given for consistency, unique thinking and innovation, will be presented to Linda Amiel Burns for 38 years of The Singing Experience, a unique cabaret workshop that helps ordinary people blossom into singing "stars."
The celebration will take place on Sunday November 8, 2015 at legendary Sardi's, 234 West 44th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenue. It will begin at noon with wine, drinks and hors d'oeuvres, followed by a 3-course luncheon and the awards ceremony and performances at 1pm. Tickets are on sale at http://www.truonline.org/TRULove15.htm.
"This year's honorees represent the level of selfless support and cultivation of others that we value," states TRU president Bob Ost. "We honor friend Pat Blake for pushing politically relevant subjects into the theater conversation with shows like The Exonerated and In the Continuum. Equally significant is his current commitment to nurturing artists of diversity and bringing hip hop into commercial theater through his company Rhymes Over Beats. And he has been dedicated to this even before Hamilton burst on the scene." Blake is also acknowledged for his dedication to TRU as a program director for their Producer Development and Mentorship Program, and for serving on the TRU Board of Directors.
Theatre Communications Group and executive director Teresa Eyring are honored for their efforts to nurture resident theaters around the country, strengthening them and offering a crucial bridge for development of new works that have nourished and fed the commercial theater and all theater. On a personal note, Ost states, "TCG serves as a standard and role model for all arts service organizations, and the work they have done is an inspiration for what TRU hopes to achieve on a much smaller grassroots level here in New York." Executive director Teresa Eyring has also made it a personal mission and organizational priority to champion a more equitable, diverse and inclusive theater field throughout the country.
Linda Amiel Burns will receive the TRU Entrepreneur Award for providing an artistic voice and confidence to hundreds of individuals by getting them out of their shells and up on a stage in her workshop The Singing Experience, which she has been tirelessly offering for 38 years. "Linda was also one of our original board members and helped us find our voice in our early development," adds Ost.
The Benefit Honoree Committee lending their names and support to this year's event include Tim Sanford of Playwrights Horizons, Georgia Buchanan of York Theatre Company, Brent Buell of Rhymes Over Beats, performers Sidney Myer and Lynn DiMenna, reviewer Sandi Durell, and producers Michael Alden, Doug Denoff, Jane Dubin, David Elliott, Patricia Klausner, Martin Platt, Ron Simons and Cheryl Wiesenfeld. The Benefit Producing Committee includes TRU vice-president Cheryl Davis, plus Kimberly Loren Eaton, Wendy Leopold, Tom Polum and Courtney Sweeting.
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-newsletter of jobs, services, resources and theater events.
Tickets for the event will be $200 Premium Patron Level reserved seating on the first tier near the stage and $175 ($150 for TRU members) for Patron Level reserved seating on the first tier sides and second tier. Non-reserved General Admission tickets, which also include luncheon, may be purchased for $125 ($110 for TRU members). Tickets, VIP tickets, journal ads and tables are available through the TRU Store at http://www.truonline.org/store.html
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