Theater Resources Unlimited Announces Cast for Gala

The virtual event is scheduled for March 20th at 5pm.

By: Mar. 12, 2022

Theater Resources Unlimited Announces Cast for Gala

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) announces a star-studded cast for this year's 2022 TRUSpeak: Hear Our Voices!, a virtual gala scheduled for Sunday, March 20, 2022 from 5pm to 7pm. Presented with generous sponsorship from R.K. Greene and The Storyline Project, Patrick Blake of Rhymes Over Beats, Merrie L. Davis of Next Act 2 Follow, Neal Rubinstein/Dangerous, Judith Estrine of Prism Stage Company, Stephanie Rosenberg/Financial Advisor at Wells Fargo Advisors and Judith Manocherian LLC, this is an evening to raise awareness of current social issues, as well as awareness of the work TRU has been doing for the theater community for over 28 years. Tickets and details are available at

Familiar faces in the cast will include Tony and Emmy nominee and Obie winner Veanne Cox (now appearing in TV's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Tony nominee Brenda Braxton (one of the legal partners on TV's The Good Fight), Broadway veterans Terry Burrell (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Swinging On A Star, Into The Woods, Dreamgirls), Danny Bolero (opening soon in Plaza Suite on Broadway), Bruce Sabath (Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof, 2006 revival of Company) and Todd Buonopane (...Spelling Bee, Grease, Chicago, Cinderella), plus TV, stage and film veteran Guy Whitlock, Daralyn Jay, Phil Chin, Jonathan Dauermann, Penelope Hsu, Jessica Luu Pelletier, Jacob Henrie-Naffaa and Patrick John O'Dea; with special appearances by spoken word artists Gha'il and rapper Masta Ace.

The evening will also include a remembrance of Van Dirk Fisher, the founding force behind New York's Riant Theatre, Strawberry Play and One-Act Festivals and the Jocunda Music, Film and Theatre Festival that offered online support to new works and new voices of theater. The tribute will be introduced by Melvina Douse-Manuel, producer of two of the plays in this benefit evening. Her play A Woman's Perspective was directed by Van in last year's benefit. There will also be a special appearance by spoken word performer Gha'il Rhodes Benjamin, who will perform a poem dedicated to Van, plus tributes from grateful artists. In the words of TRU's Bob Ost: "Van directed a powerful play in last year's TRUSpeak gala and supported TRU over the years in many ways. We and an entire community mourn his untimely loss and remember him with respect and gratitude."

Each of the seven plays will be introduced by a different honorary host, including producers Pat Addiss (recipient of the 2010 TRU Spirit of Theater Award), Michael Alden (recipient of the 2014 TRU Spirit of Theater Award), Rashad V. Chambers (Ain't Too Proud, The Music Man, Caroline or Change revival, Tony winner for The Inheritance; opening soon: Little Girl Blue at New World Stages), TRU Advisory board member Jim Kierstead (Hadestown, Six, Mrs. Doubtfire, Company); plus TRU vice-president and co-founder Cheryl Davis (general counsel for the Authors Guild, and a Kleban, Larsen and Audelco award-winning lyricist-librettist) and two-time Tony Award winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (La Cage aux Folles revival, Kinky Boots; recipient of the 2012 TRU Humanitarian Award for his work with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS). Special appearances will also be made by Robert Cuccioli (Tony nominee for Jekyll & Hyde; Les Miserables, Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark; And the World Goes 'Round) and Chuck Cooper (Tony winner for The Life; Chicago; Caroline, or Change; and Trouble in Mind).

The event is being executive produced by TRU president and co-founder Bob Ost with Iben Cenholt and Janel Scarborough; Iben is also acting as technical coordinator, in addition Janel has functioned as a dramaturgical and creative consultant. Joe Nelms is marketing coordinator, with graphics by Gary Hughes. The technical team creating the video magic includes Scott Arundale, Jay Lucas Chacon, Maarten Cornelis, Henry Garrou, Jens Hauland, Brian Lawton, Joe Nelms, Sadah Espii Proctor and Carley Santori.

General Admission tickets are $55 for the virtual show ($30 for TRU members), and VIP tickets are $90 ($75 for TRU), which include a post-show meet-and-greet with the creative teams and TRU Board and past Honorees. Circle of Angels tickets are $100, $250, and $500, and include the above play and after-party, plus a thank you credit in the program, waiting room, opening and closing credits (you must purchase by 3/13 to appear in the credits). Tickets can be purchased at

The 7 TRUSpeak plays and creative teams for the evening are:

The First Anti-Vaxxers by James McLindon, produced by Noel MacDuffie, directed by Cady Huffman (Tony winner for The Producers, Tony nominee The Will Rogers Follies), and starring Tony, Emmy nominee and Obie winner Veanne Cox (An American in Paris, Caroline, or Change, A Free Man of Color, La Cage Aux Folles; TV's Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Bull). Director of photography Carley Santori, Editor Scott Arundale.

Based on a historical event. In 1760, a drunken and boisterously eloquent Ethan Allen, in dire need of a hot bath, attempts to unlawfully receive the smallpox inoculation from a doctor in colonial Connecticut. A passionate crowd of 2 look on.

Cold Bread by Aladrian C. Wetzel, produced by Melvina Douse-Manuel, directed by director-actress-comedian and TV regular Rain Pryor (Fried Chicken and Latkes off-Broadway and on tour), starring Daralyn Jay. Director of photography/editor Sadah Espii Proctor.

It's both a physical and psychological struggle trying to bring a Black child into a world that may kill them based on the color of their skin. This is a play about motherhood, IVF and being Black in America and knowing it's never too early to prepare a Black child for how to navigate racism. Even if they're an embryo in the freezer.

Only Black by Kristy Thomas, produced by Melvina Douse-Manuel, directed by Ben Harney (Tony winner for Dreamgirls) and starring Guy Whitlock (TV: FBI: Most Wanted, Law and Order SVU, Bull). Editor Maarten Cornelis.

When Dr. Kevin Watkins is called to speak to the media about race relation issues within the school district, he comes to realize he will always be a black man in a world that sees him only as a token. An honest look at how people of color are used as the face of many organizations when addressing conversations about race.

Slave Trade by Ian Patrick Williams, produced by Merrie L. Davis, directed by Andrea Andresakis (world premieres off-Broadway of Spandex, A New Musical for all Sizes and My Purple Wig), and starring Bruce Sabath (Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof, Company 2006 Tony winning revival, off-Broadway Cagney) and Brenda Braxton (Tony nominee for Smokey Joe's Cafe, current co-star of TV's The Good Fight). Director of photography Carley Santori, Editor Joe Nelms.

An abusive businessman gets his comeuppance from his streaming device.

She's Blown Away by Vince Gatton, produced by Claudia Zahn, directed by Robert Cuccioli (Tony nominee for Jekyll and Hyde; And the World Goes 'Round, Spiderman: Turn off the Dark) and starring newcomers Jacob Henrie-Naffaa, Patrick John O'Dea and Jessica Luu Pelletier. Director of photography/editor Brian Lawton.

An eager high school boy enlists his friends' help in coming up with the perfect "big gesture" to win the heart of the girl he likes. A play about romance, boundaries, consent, and the fraught and dangerous world young people - especially young women - are expected to navigate.

Obstacle by John Busser, produced by Maureen Condon, directed by Audelco multi-award winner Glynn Borders (The Dark Star from Harlem), and starring Danny Bolero (Joseph... revival, In the Heights, upcoming Plaza Suite; TV: Blue Bloods, Law and Order SVU). Editor Jens Haulund.

The aftermath of a tragedy that a high school Drivers Ed teacher finds himself responsible for. A chilling examination of the price we pay for trying to ensure safety in a world where there are so many obstacles preventing that.

Every Creeping Thing by David Beardsley, produced by Jesica Garrou, directed by Sharifa Williams (The Quarantine, Players Theatre; Interventions, The Navigators Lift-Off Festival; Magpie, T. Schreiber Studio), and starring Terry Burrell (Broadway: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Swinging On A Star, Into The Woods, Dreamgirls, Honky Tonk Nights, Eubie, The World Goes Round), Todd Buonopane (Broadway: Spelling Bee, Grease, Chicago, Cinderella; TV: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and 30 Rock), Jonathan Dauermann (Crazy Meshugga Hurricane Earthquake with New Yiddish Rep, web series Untold Genius), Penelope Hsu (The Jeff Dunham Show on Comedy Central) and Phil Chin. Director of photography/editor Henry Garrou.

Four dinosaurs and a cockroach debate what to do about the impending asteroid strike, but don't worry; this is the good old days, when politicians knew how to get things done and always put the interest of the greater good ahead of their own. Really. Don't worry.

Van Dirk Fisher was the CEO/Artistic Director of The Riant Theatre/Black Experimental Theatre, The Strawberry Play and One-Act Festivals and the Jocunda Music, Film and Theatre Festival.

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is the leading network for developing theater professionals, a twenty-eight-year-old 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of the arts. Membership includes self-Producing Artists as well as career producers and theater companies.

TRU publishes an email community newsletter of services, goods and productions; presents monthly panels as well as the new weekly Community Gatherings; offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program taught by prominent producers and general managers in New York theater, and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop business skills. TRU serves writers through the TRU Voices Play Reading Series, Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, How to Write a Musical That Works and a Director-Writer Communications Lab.

Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by the Montage Foundation, The Storyline Project and the Leibowitz Greenway Foundation.

For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit


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