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A.R.T.'s WITNESS UGANDA Wins 2014 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater; Begins Performances Tonight

A.R.T.'s WITNESS UGANDA Wins 2014 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater; Begins Performances Tonight

The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.)'s world premiere production of musical WITNESS UGANDA, which begins performances tonight, February 4, is the winner of the 2014 Richard Rodgers Production Award for Musical Theater. The award was announced yesterday by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which administers the Richard Rodgers Awards.

Witness Uganda, created by Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews, staged by Tony Award-winning director and A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus, opens at the Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge on February 12 and will run through March 16, 2014.

Witness Uganda tells the story of Griffin, a young man from New York City, who volunteers for a project in Uganda, and finds himself on a journey that will change his life forever. Inspired by a true story, this rousing new musical exposes the challenges confronted by American aid workers and the complex realities of trying to change the world.

Witness Uganda received a Richard Rodgers Staged Reading Award in 2012 and was presented in 2013 by A.R.T. at Playwrights Horizons and Columbia University's Miller Theater. Former Production Award recipients include Maury Yeston, Nine; Jonathan Larson, Rent; Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal, Juan Darien; Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Lucky Stiff; Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley, Violet; and Scott Frankel, Michael Korie, and Doug Wright, GreyGardens. Since 1980 seventy-seven works have received Richard Rodgers Awards.

This year's jury included Tania León (chair), Sheldon Harnick, Richard Maltby, Jr., Ted Sperling, and Jeanine Tesori.

Richard Rodgers, elected to the Academy in 1955, endowed these awards in 1978. The awards provide financialsupport for productions, studio productions, and staged readings of original musicals, by nonprofit theaters.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was established in 1898 to "foster, assist, and sustain an interest in literature, music, and the fine arts." Election to the Academy is considered the highest formal recognition of artistic merit in this country. The Academy is comprised of 250 of America's leading voices in the fields of Art,Architecture, Literature, and Music. The Academy presents exhibitions of art, architecture, and manuscripts; and readings and performances of new musicals throughout the year, and is located in three landmark buildings designed byMcKim, Mead & White, Cass Gilbert, and Charles Pratt Huntington on Audubon Terrace at 155 Street and Broadway, New York City.

The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) The A.R.T. at Harvard University is a leading force in the American theater, producing groundbreaking work in Cambridge and beyond. The A.R.T. was founded in 1980 by Robert Brustein, who served as Artistic Director until 2002, when he was succeeded by Robert Woodruff. Diane Paulusbegan her tenure as Artistic Director in 2008. Under her leadership, the A.R.T. seeks to expand the boundaries of theater by programming events that immerse audiences in transformative theatrical experiences.

Throughout its history, the A.R.T. has been honored with many distinguished awards, including consecutive TonyAwards for Best Revival of a Musical for Pippin (2013) and The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess (2012), both of which Paulus directed; a Pulitzer Prize; a Jujamcyn Prize for outstanding contribution to the development of creative talent; the Tony Award for Best Regional Theater; and numerous Elliot Norton and I.R.N.E. Awards.

The A.R.T. collaborates with artists around the world to develop and create work in new ways. It is currently engaged in a number of multi-year projects, including the Civil War Project, an initiative that will culminate in the staging of new work in the 2014/15 season. Under Paulus's leadership, the A.R.T.'s club theater, OBERON, has become an incubator for local and emerging artists and has attracted national attention for its innovative programming and business models.

As the professional theater on the campus of Harvard University, the A.R.T. catalyzes discourse, interdisciplinary collaboration, and creative exchange among a wide range of academic departments, institutions, students, and faculty members, acting as a conduit between its community of artists and the university. A.R.T. artists also teach undergraduate courses in directing, dramatic literature, acting, voice, design, and dramaturgy. The A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theater Training, which is run in partnership with the Moscow Art Theater School, offers graduate-level training in acting, dramaturgy, and voice.

Dedicated to making great theater accessible, the A.R.T. actively engages more than 5,000 community members and local students annually in project-based partnerships, workshops, conversations with artists, and other enrichment activities both at the theater and across the Greater Boston area.

Through all of these initiatives, the A.R.T. is dedicated to producing world-class performances in which the audience is central to the theatrical experience.

The Loeb Drama Center, located at 64 Brattle Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge, is fully accessible. ASL interpreted and audio described performances are available at select productions. Visit americanrepertorytheater.org/access for more information.

For further information call 617-547-8300 or visit AmericanRepertoryTheater.org.

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