Transport Group Gala To Feature LaChanze, Mary Testa, Betsy Wolfe, and More

By: Feb. 13, 2019

Transport Group Gala To Feature LaChanze, Mary Testa, Betsy Wolfe, and More

Transport Group has announced that its annual A Toast to the Artist gala will honor Tony Award-winning orchestrator Michael Starboin and composer Carmel Dean with the Transporting American Theatre Award. The evening takes place Monday, March 11 at 6:30pm at The Current, Pier 59 @ Chelsea Piers, and includes a cocktail party, seated dinner, performances, dessert reception, and silent and live auctions. The Transporting American Theatre Award recognizes significant contributions to the American Theatre. Past recipients of the Transporting American Theatre Award include Dick Scanlan, Mary- Mitchell Campbell, Michael John LaChiusa, Gretchen Shugart, Barbara Whitman, Beth Williams, Sue Frost, Christian Borle, Paul Huntley, Douglas Carter Beane, Lewis Flinn, A.R. Gurney, Liz Smith, Barbara Frietag, Terrence McNally, and Joe Mantello among others. Tickets are now on sale and may be purchased at

Carmel Dean is a New York-based, Australian-born composer, musical director and arranger. Her first musical, Renascence (with a book by Dick Scanlan), was recently produced Off-Broadway with Transport Group. As a Broadway musical director and/or arranger her credits include: If/Then; Hands on a Hardbody; American Idiot and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Other roles include vocal arranger for jam-band Phish (Madison Square Garden and MGM Las Vegas); performer with Green Day on the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards; and former musical director for Broadway legend Chita Rivera. Carmel is a graduate of NYU's Musical Theatre Writing Program and a current member of the BMI Lehman Engel Writing Workshop.

Michael Starobin is a well-known orchestrator and arranger working on Broadway and in Hollywood. He has been the orchestrator for some of Broadway's most innovative musicals such as Falsettos, Sunday in the Park with George, Assassins (2004 Tony Award for Best Orchestrations) and Next to Normal (2009 Tony Award for Best Orchestrations). He was the conductor and orchestrator for Disney's animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, orchestrated the songs for Tangled and contributed orchestrations to the film versions of Chicago, Nine and Beauty and the Beast (2017), and Mary Poppins Returns (2018).

Trey Anastasio is a founding member of Phish. He has received GRAMMY® nominations for his recordings with Phish and for his solo work. He co-wrote the music for the Broadway musical Hands on a Hardbody, which received a Tony nomination for Best Original Score in 2013. LaChanze is a Tony Award winning actress who recently starred as Donna in Summer The Musical. Theatre credits include The Color Purple (2006 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Lady in Musical), Once on this Island(nominations, Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle), If/Then, Ragtime, andCompany. Mary Testa is a Tony-Award nominated actress known for 42nd Street, On the Town and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Betsy Wolfe is known for her work in Everyday Rapture, Waitress, Falsettos and 110 in the Shade.

Transport Group stages new works and re-imagines revivals by American writers. Since our founding in 2001 under the artistic direction of Jack Cummings III, we have produced 28 shows comprised of 13 new works and 15 revivals, including 16 plays and 12 musicals. Our award- winning, critically acclaimed 2017-2018 season featured an astounding revival of Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude, performed by David Greenspan, and only David Greenspan, in a one-man-tour-de-force. The New York Times hailed the production as " is like witnessing a recitation, a prayer, a madness, a modern ballet...this production is storytelling at its purest." The performance garnered a Special Citation from the New York Drama Critic's Circle and a special OBIE. The season also featured a co-production with Classic Stage Company with Tennessee Williams' southern gothic classic Summer and Smoke. Our 2016-2017 season celebrated the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright, William Inge, with two plays running in rotating repertory: Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba. The productions received multiple award nominations, including three Obie Awards: Set Design (Dane Laffrey), Performance (Heather MacRae - Lola in Sheba) and Directing (Jack Cummings III). Additional recent work includes our unique and hilarious revival of Once Upon a Mattress starring Jackie Hoffman and John "Lypsinka" Epperson; the world-premiere performance piece Three Days to See, a theatrical exploration of the writings of Helen Keller; the first New York revival of John Cariani's Almost, Maine; a revival of John Van Druten's classic play I Remember Mama (Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Play), reconceived with an ensemble cast of ten women in their 70s and 80s; and the sold-out, all-star concerts of Man of La Mancha, Promises, Promises, Baby, Once Upon a Mattress, The Music Man, Peter Pan, Queen of the Mist, and A Man of No Importance.

Our 2018-2019 season currently features a revival of The Trial of the Catonsville Nine, the story of the trial that sparked a wave of Vietnam War resistance. Earlier this season Transport Group presented the world premiere musical, Renascence, with music by Carmel Dean, book by Tony Award nominee Dick Scanlan and lyrics from the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. This season's Anne L. Bernstein Concert Series will soon be announced.

Transport Group's annual gala benefit takes place Monday, March 11, 2019 at the The Current, Pier 59 @ Chelsea Piers. Cocktails begin at 6:30, seated dinner, performances and award presentation begin at 7:30pm, a dessert reception follows at 10:00pm. Tickets, e-Journal tribute ads, donations and information are available at or phone 212-564-0333.


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