George Street Playhouse To Honor Board President Penelope Lattimer

George Street Playhouse To Honor Board President Penelope LattimerGeorge Street Playhouse has announced that its Annual Gala Benefit - a one-of-a-kind evening featuring stars of Broadway, film and television - will take place Sunday, May 6, 2018, 5 p.m., at The Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick. This year, George Street Playhouse celebrates the Arthur Laurents Centennial - a tribute to the playwright on what would have been his 100th birthday - and honors Dr. Penelope Lattimer, the Playhouse's current Board President, with the Thomas H. Kean Arts Advocacy Award.

"Dr. Lattimer's stalwart leadership and dedication have had a profound impact on George Street Playhouse and its contribution to American theater," said GSP Board Chairman James N. Heston. "Her life-long support of the arts and her passion to integrate them into the classroom have made her a leader and pioneer of the arts in New Brunswick and throughout the state of New Jersey."

Dr. Lattimer recently retired as the Director of the Rutgers Institute to Improve Student Achievement (RIISA). She is a former Assistant New Jersey State Commissioner of Education and has served as an Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction in a large urban district, a high school principal, and teacher. Dr. Lattimer was involved in the development of RIISA's work, specifically addressing middle level education as well as arts integration. She also worked to build networks and partnerships among districts with similar needs and interests in the central region of New Jersey.

In 2014, Dr. Lattimer received the Ernest L. Boyer Outstanding Educator Award for her extraordinary leadership over the course of her career. The award is presented annually by the New Jersey Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development to an educational leader who has made a major contribution and commitment to the field of education. Dr. Lattimer also served as the chairwoman of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

The Thomas H. Kean Arts Advocacy Award pays tribute to an individual, corporation or foundation whose dedication to the arts enhances the cultural life of the citizens of New Jersey.

The black-tie Gala draws corporate, civic and social leaders from throughout the region. Each year, the Gala raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to support George Street Playhouse's world-class mainstage productions and nationally recognized educational programs. The silent auction is one of the highlights of the Gala, and offers tickets to hard-to-get Broadway shows and top sports venues, luxury vacation trips and getaways, fine-dining experiences and much more.

Patrons attending GSP's Gala have come to expect stellar performances during the evening's Cabaret and this year should prove no exception as the event will celebrate renowned playwright - and friend of George Street Playhouse - Arthur Laurents, who would have turned 100 this summer. The evening will feature music from West Side Story, Gypsy, La Cage aux Folles, and other Broadway hits.

Past performers have included Constantine Maroulis, David Hyde Pierce, Rita Moreno, Bernadette Peters, Tyne Daly, Sandy Duncan, Kelly Bishop, Brian d'Arcy James, Alison Fraser, Penny Fuller, Anne Jackson, Jerry Stiller and Chita Rivera, among others. This year's performers will be announced at a later date.

The Gala will take place at The Heldrich, located at 10 Livingston Avenue in downtown New Brunswick. The event starts with a cocktail reception and silent auction at 5 p.m. Dinner follows at 6:30 pm with the Cabaret performance commencing at 7:30. Sponsorship opportunities, tables of 10, and individual tickets are available. For more information, visit www.georgestreetplayhouse.org/gala or contact Caitlin Christensen at cchristensen@georgestplayhouse.org or (732) 846-2895, ext. 145.

Sponsors for the evening include Robert and Joan Campbell, Flemington Car & Truck Country, James N. Heston, Karma Foundation, David Saint, TD Bank, and Withum.

About George Street Playhouse

George Street Playhouse is a nationally recognized theatre, presenting an acclaimed mainstage season to nearly 30,000 patrons annually, while providing an artistic home for established and emerging theatre artists. Its leadership consists of Artistic Director David Saint and Managing Director Kelly Ryman. Currently located on the Cook Campus of Rutgers University, George Street Playhouse will take residence in a new performing arts center scheduled to open for the 2019-20 season. Founded in 1974, the Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway, including the Outer Critics' Circle Best Musical Award-winner The Toxic Avenger; the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Drama League nominated production of The Spitfire Grill; and the Broadway hit and Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof by David Auburn, which was developed at GSP during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays. In 2015, George Street Playhouse was represented by two productions in New York with the Broadway production of It Shoulda Been You and Joe DiPietro's Clever Little Lies, which opened off-Broadway that same year. Both shows received their premieres at the Playhouse. Gettin' the Band Back Together, which premiered at GSP in 2013, is set to open on Broadway in Summer 2018. In addition to its mainstage season, GSP's Touring Educational Theatre features issue-oriented productions that are seen by more than 35,000 students annually.

Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund.

George Street Playhouse programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

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