Jane Lynch, Carol Burnett Set for BACKSTAGE AT THE GEFFEN, 6/4


Emmy Award winning actress Jane Lynch will host this year's Backstage at the Geffen fundraiser, which recognizes leadership in the theater community while raising support for the theater's artistic and outreach initiatives, honoring Hollywood legend Carol Burnett and Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment Jim Gianopulos. Ms. Burnett will receive the Distinction in Theater Award and Mr. Gianopulos will be presented with the Distinction in Service Award by entertainment icon and longtime colleague Warren Beatty. The star-studded event will be co-chaired by Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Robert A. Iger and his wife, journalist Willow Bay. This irreverent evening of laughter, music and stories, which is sponsored by City National Bank, will be held on Monday June 4, 2012 at the Geffen Playhouse.

Backstage at the Geffen is a truly unique event at which audiences are privileged with some of L.A.'s most prominent performers' intimate behind-the-scenes stories. This year's performers will be announced shortly, but previous artists who have shared their backstage stories include: Julie Andrews, Annette Bening, Kristin Chenoweth, Clint Eastwood, Brendan Fraser, Tom Hanks, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David Hyde Pierce, Ray Romano, Martin Short and Dick Van Dyke.

Ms. Burnett will receive the Distinction in Theater Award for her enduring and unforgettable commitment to live performance. An award-winning actress and best-selling author, Ms. Burnett is widely recognized for her stage and screen work, most notably as the star of The Carol Burnett Show, which ran for 11 years, received 25 Emmy Awards and was named one of the "100 Best Television Shows of All Time," by TIME magazine in 2007. Ms. Burnett herself has been honored with 12 People's Choice Awards, eight Golden Globes, six Emmy Awards, the Horatio Alger Award, the Peabody Award for Friendly Fire, and the Ace Award for Between Friends with Elizabeth Taylor. She has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is a Kennedy Center honoree, and has been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. In 2000, Ms. Burnett added playwright to her credits when she and her daughter began writing her autobiographical play, Hollywood Arms, which premiered at the Chicago Goodman Theatre in 2002 before moving to Broadway at The Court Theatre later that year.

The recipient of this year's Distinction in Service Award, Jim Gianopulos has demonstrated a vital commitment to our cultural landscape. As Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, Mr.Gianopulos is one of the longest tenured studio heads in the industry and during his time at Fox he and his co-chair Tom Rothman have overseen a broad range of successful films and the studio's most profitable years ever. He also has the distinction of having championed two of the biggest risks, and the two highest grossing films of all time: Avatar and Titanic. Mr. Gianopulos is a Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a member of the Board of the Motion Picture & Television Fund and a trustee of the American Film Institute. In addition to his involvement in the entertainment industry, he serves on the National Entertainment Advisory Council for the Anti-Defamation League, on the Board and Executive Committee of the X-Prize Foundation and as a Trustee of Carnegie Mellon University.

Burnett and Gianopulos join an elite group of Geffen honorees – including 2011 recipients Julie Andrews (presented by Carol Burnett) and Creative Artists Agency (presented by Tom Hanks), 2010 recipients Kristin Chenoweth (presented by Matthew Morrison) and Barry Meyer (presented by Clint Eastwood), 2009 recipients Leslie Moonves (presented by Mary Steenburgen) and Rita Wilson (presented by Martin Short), 2008 recipients Annette Bening (presented by Anjelica Huston) and Robert A. Iger (presented by Julie Taymor), 2007 recipients Helen Mirren (presented by John Lithgow) and Herb Gelfand (presented by Gil Cates), 2006 recipient Colin Callender (presented by Annette Bening) and 2004 recipient Karl Malden (presented by Tom Hanks) – each of whom have each been celebrated at Backstage at the Geffen, an event that has become known throughout the city as a "must-attend" night at the theater.

Backstage at the Geffen title sponsor City National Bank is joined by presenting sponsors including Audi of America, Los Angeles magazine and the W Los Angeles-Westwood along with its poolside restaurant, The Backyard, which will be the site of an exclusive pre-show reception and dinner by Executive Chef Dakota Weiss for honorees, special guests and the event's Host Committee. The evening will also include a silent auction, which will launch online on May 1, 2012.

The evening raises funds for the Geffen Playhouse's artistic initiatives including new play development, playwright commissions, second productions and artistic risks, as well as the theater's award-winning education and outreach programs, which help bring the excitement of live theater to more than 22,000 children, families and community members each year. Last year, the event raised $850,000 for these programs, which helped the theater to produce three world premieres in our 2011/2012 season as well as bring nearly a thousand students to the Geffen Playhouse for special matinee performances.

Monday, June 4, 2012
7pm – Reception
8pm – Program
9:30pm – Dessert

Hosted by Jane Lynch
Distinction in Theater Award – Carol Burnett
Distinction in Service Award – Jim Gianopulos

The Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its world-renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works

and second productions, the Geffen Playhouse continues to present a body of work that has garnered national recognition. Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the company was founded by Gilbert Cates, and is currently helmed by Artistic Director Randall Arney, Managing Director Ken Novice and Chairman of the Board Frank Mancuso. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen Playhouse welcomes an audience of more than 130,000 each year, and maintains an extensive education and outreach program, designed to engage young people and the community at large in the arts. For more information, please visit geffenplayhouse.com.

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