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VIDEO: Brittney Mack, Brandon Michael Nase & More Take Part in A.R.T.'s Spring Celebration

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Brandon Michael Nase offered a performance of Stephen Schwartz’s song “Simple Joys” in tribute to departing Executive Producer Diane Borger.

American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University held its Spring Celebration on Saturday, June 5, gathering friends, fans, and supporters from across the US and 21 countries around the world virtually to celebrate departing Executive Producer Diane Borger and for a first look at what's to come from theater.

Brandon Michael Nase (The Black Clown and ExtraOrdinary at A.R.T.; Founder/Executive Director of Broadway for Racial Justice) offered a performance of Stephen Schwartz's song "Simple Joys" in tribute to Borger:

Watch below!

"Thank you for providing me the space to exist fully in who I am on the stage," Nase shared during his performance of the song from Pippin. Borger produced the A.R.T. revival directed by Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director Diane Paulus that went on to receive the 2013 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

Nase was among more than two dozen artists who paid tribute to Borger. In video messages received from across the country and around the world from Todd Almond, Matt Aucoin, Sara Bareilles, Gavin Creel, Ifeoma Fafunwa, Lance Horne, Cherry Jones, Daniel Lazour & Patrick Lazour, Jack Noseworthy & Sergio Trujillo, Claudia Rankine, Bill Rauch, Anna Deavere Smith, and V (formerly Eve Ensler), Borger was thanked her for her unwavering commitment to artists and for nurturing the development of new work.

A.R.T. Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director Diane Paulus remarked, "My partnership with Diane Borger has been nothing short of life-changing."

Borger's impact on Harvard University and its students was also celebrated. "Diane, you've been so instrumental in the success of the A.R.T., but also in expanding and enriching the entire arts ecology at Harvard," shared Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow in recorded remarks. "I value most the collaborations you've helped to forge across schools at the University. As a faculty member in [Theatre, Dance & Media], you've helped to develop a rigorous and rewarding curriculum for our students. A generation of TDM students will go forward thanks to your mentorship and your teaching." Current and former Harvard students including Ian Chan, Julia Riew, and Abbie Sage performed a special version of "Thank U" from Jagged Little Pill for Borger.

Former Harvard students who served as A.R.T. interns and colleagues will discuss her mentorship on the June 29 episode of The Lunch Room. Free registration is available at http://amrep.org/LunchRoom.

Borger departs A.R.T. on June 30.

During the Spring Celebration, A.R.T. also announced its upcoming programming, which will begin with a free, outdoor experience for all at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, and continue with dance, music, and theater events at the Loeb Drama Center, plus the continuation of digital programming and livestreams. Full information is available at AmericanRepertoryTheater.org/2021-22-Programming.

Spring Celebration guests experienced new music from Macbeth In Stride (at A.R.T. October 2021) written and performed by Whitney White, and an early demo recording of Tony Award winner Idina Menzel singing the title song from the new musical WILD, which will be presented in concert at A.R.T. December 2021.

"My heart is full of joy to be able to welcome you back to the theater in-person this summer and fall," said Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director Diane Paulus. "It has been a year of deep learning and reflection for all of us at the A.R.T., and tonight we look forward to a transformational future for our theater."

SIX Queen Brittney Mack co-hosted the event with A.R.T. Artistic Producer Mark Lunsford, who appeared live from the Loeb Drama Center.

A.R.T.'s Spring Celebration was free to all thanks to the generous support of event sponsors. Proceeds will sustain A.R.T as it continues to make work while remote, allow A.R.T. to implement necessary protocols to ensure a safe return for all later this year, and support A.R.T.'s artists, technicians, and staff.


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