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Million Dollar Endowment Gift Given to Olney Theatre For Innovative New Works

This is the third and largest gift the Casey Foundation has made to support the Vanguard Arts Fund, a restricted endowment, which now totals over $1.8 million.

Olney Theatre Center has received a $1 million endowment gift from the Eugene B. Casey Foundation, to support the work of the Vanguard Arts Fund which provides intensive workshop time for collaboratively-developed new works. Created in 2019 with seed money from the Eugene B. Casey Foundation, several prior projects have gone on to be included in Olney Theatre season projects including the critically acclaimed A.D. 16, created by playwright Bekah Brunstetter, composer/screenwriter Cinco Paul, and director Stephen Brackett which has Broadway expectations; the well-reviewed world premiere dramatic comedy The Joy That Carries You co-written by Awa Sal Secka and Dani Stoller; and the ground-breaking deaf and hearing production of Meredith Willson's The Music Man. This is the third and largest gift the Casey Foundation has made to support the Vanguard Arts Fund, a restricted endowment, which now totals over $1.8 million.

Along with the gift, Olney also announced four projects it will be developing under the aegis of the fund during the 22-23 season. They include: The Game - conceived, written, and performed by Rhett Guter; Okuni - Book and lyrics by Naomi Iizuka, Music and lyrics by Paul Hodge; The Gifted Prince - Music by Daniel Green, Book & Lyrics by Lezlie Wade, Based on The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander; and The Joint - Book by Dominic Taylor and Curtis Jones, Music and lyrics by Timothy Graphenreed.

Debbie Ellinghaus, Olney's Managing Director said, "We are incredibly grateful and fortunate to have a partner in the Eugene B. Casey Foundation who understands that investing in the development of new work is the necessary and unique work of an institution like Olney Theatre. Our record of bringing new work through the development process to full production during the short life of the fund already was proof of concept to continue our efforts and aim to go bigger."

The Eugene B. Casey Foundation, said, "We are honored to be able to invest in innovative ideas like the Vanguard Arts Fund that help shape our community and inspire joy through storytelling. Olney Theatre has long been producing excellent shows, and we're happy to support them as they continue to cultivate artists and bring new stories to the stage. Mrs. Casey, who passed away last summer, believed that the performing arts are essential to healthy communities. We're proud to continue her legacy through this endowment gift to Olney Theatre Center'"



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