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Photo Flash: Westport Country Playhouse Honors Stephen Schwartz


In celebration of Westport Country Playhouse 80th season, an audience of over 500 attended the historic theater's annual fundraising gala, "The Magical Music of Stephen Schwartz," honoring the musical theater composer, on Monday evening, September 13.  Gala proceeds will support artistic and education programs of The Playhouse - with a special focus this year on the Woodward Internship program.

The evening's performance, recognizing Schwartz's innumerable songwriting contributions to American theater and film, featured Broadway artists Kate Baldwin, Katie Clarke, Darius de Haas, Andrew Lippa, Julia Murney, Christiane Noll, Carole Shelley, Max von Essen and Ben Vereen.  In addition, Schwartz himself performed. 
Schwartz thanked the audience for their support of The Playhouse over the years, "which has meant that I could come and enjoy the wonderful shows I have seen here."
He related that he first attended The Playhouse at age 15 to see "Threepenny Opera." His first professional song was for a show that premiered at The Playhouse, "Butterflies Are Free."  He and his wife, Carole, brought their children to The Playhouse, and their association culminated with their son, Scott, directing The Playhouse production of "tick, tick...BOOM!" last year.
"I have a long and happy history with Westport Country Playhouse and am really honored to be here and help support them under the new visionary leadership of Mark Lamos and Michael Ross," staTed Schwartz. "I know we're in for many wonderful theatrical experiences ahead."
The performance was produced by Kevin Duncan, directed by Joe Calarco, with music direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Joel Fram, and musical staging by Tim Federle.
Honorary gala chairs were Kate and Bob Devlin of Southport; gala chairs were Kim and Niv Harizman of Westport. 
Lead corporate sponsors of the event were Virgin Atlantic Airways, Westport Resources and NewAlliance Bank. Additional corporate support included Barclay's Capital, Sun Products, Bank of New York Mellon and Catamount Wealth Management. 
In honor of Westport Country Playhouse 80th anniversary season, several Playhouse alumni artists returned as guests, including A.R. Gurney, Edward Herrmann, Dana Ivey, James Naughton, Frances Sternhagen, Richard Thomas, Gene Wilder, David Wiltse and JoAnne Woodward


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