National Corporate Theatre Fund Honors Hartford Stage

The National Corporate Theatre Fund (NCTF) will honor Hartford Stage and four other resident theatres celebrating their 50th anniversaries - Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Guthrie Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre and Trinity Repertory Company - at the NCTF's annual Chairman's Awards Gala On Monday, April 29, at New York City's Pierre Hotel.

"We are honored to be recognized by the National Corporate Theatre Fund, and to be included among these important theatres that have contributed so much to the American Theatre," said Michael Stotts, Managing Director of the Tony Award-winning theatre. "We are equally proud of the long history of support Hartford Stage has received from our local corporations. Frankly, we would not have made it to 50 without them, especially the leadership support provided by The Travelers Companies, United Technologies Corporation, The Hartford Financial Services Group, and Aetna."
Stotts, Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak, and Board of Directors President Jill Adams will be attending the gala to accept the award.

The event will also honor Actress Vanessa Williams and American Express. Actor George Takei, star of the Broadway-bound musical "Allegiance," emcees the event.

Over three hundred theatre patrons, Broadway leaders and industry professionals from across the country will gather for an evening honoring individuals and institutions who have made significant contributions to The National Theatre community. The gala will raise funds for NCTF member theatres in the U.S., some of America's finest not-for-profit theatres. Ernst & Young and Cisco Systems, Inc., will co-chair the evening's festivities.

"NCTF creates and supports exciting partnerships at the intersection of the corporate and arts communities - relationships that are central to the success of theatre and the vitality of communities in which they are based," said Bruce E. Whitacre, Executive Director of NCTF. "It is our privilege to celebrate fifty years of achievement by these outstanding organizations, and to reunite them with Ford Foundation, which was so instrumental in the development of resident theatres all across America."

The five resident theatres that will receive the "50th Anniversary Achievement in Theatre Award," have established themselves as significant community based institutions helping to revitalize life in these cities. LuisA.Ubiñas, President of the Ford Foundation, will present the awards. Not only have these theatresstaged a wide range of award-winning drama and musicals, the theatres have also serves as laboratories for up-and-coming playwrights, actors, and directors. And they have played a key role in enhancing arts education for young people in these communities through a variety of innovative programs based in schools and at the theatres themselves.

Hartford Stage, since its founding in 1963, has been known for innovative revivals of classics and the development of important new works, including 65 World or American premieres. Recent work includes Quiara Alegria Hudes'Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, which debuted Off-Broadway in NYC this season; Horton Foote'sThe Orphans' Home Cycle,which had a celebrated run at the Signature Theatre in New York during the 2009-2010 season; a landmark production of Harper Lee'sTo Kill a Mockingbird;the premieres of Michael Kramer'sDivine Rivalryand Daniel Beaty'sResurrection (later retitledThrough the Night,which had a successful run Off-Broadway during the 2010-11 season).

Hartford Stage's education programs, unheard of in regional theatre 50 years ago, now reach more than 21,000 students statement.

In 1998 the theatre launched an unprecedented ten-year retrospective of Tennessee Williams, which included the premiere of three plays. Other new work includes the premieres of Eve Ensler'sNecessary Targets, Edward Albee'sAt Home at the Zoo,Matthew Barber'sEnchanted April(which transferred to Broadway), Matthew Lombardo'sTea at Five, and many others. The theatre has earned numerous distinguished honors, including a Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, the Margo Jones Award, and OBIE, New York Critics Circle and Drama Desk awards. In 2005 Hartford Stage was awarded The Hartford Courant's Tapestry Award recognizing its outstanding work in diversity, and in 2008 it was awarded the Bank of America Neighborhood Builder's Award recognizing its excellence in building community in Greater Hartford.

One of the most multi-faceted performers in entertainment today, Vanessa Williams will receive the "Theatre Artist Award." Williams has conquered the musical charts, Broadway, music videos, television and motion pictures. She has sold millions of albums worldwide and has achieved critical acclaim as an actress on stage, in film and on television. On Broadway, she is returning this season in The Trip to Bountiful and has starred in Kiss of the Spider Woman and Into the Woods, among others.

"The theatre community is so fortunate that Ms. Williams has invested her manifold talents in such extraordinary shows over the years," said Whitacre. "We are thrilled to be able to acknowledge her talents and her generosity."

James S. Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young, and chairman of NCTF, said, "Central to the founding and success of regional theatre have been corporate partnerships. Ernst & Young is proud to support outstanding theatre programming, as well as the innovative theatre education and outreach initiatives, at NCTF theatres across the U.S."

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