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NJ Theatre Alliance 2022 Ovation Gala Honored DEVCO President Christopher J. Paladino

The special night brought together more than 200 artists, business leaders, and government representatives.

NJ Theatre Alliance 2022 Ovation Gala Honored DEVCO President Christopher J. Paladino

This year, New Jersey Theatre Alliance ("The Alliance"), one of the state's largest arts service organizations, hosted their Ovation Gala on May 5, 2022 at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange, celebrating its 40th Anniversary and the state and region's professional theatre community.

The special night brought together more than 200 artists, business leaders, and government representatives to celebrate NJ professional theatre, and to raise significant funding for the Alliance and its members.

"This year's Ovation Gala was an extra special gathering of theatres advocates and supporting organizations that have made a tremendous impact on the theatre community. We finally got to celebrate the New Jersey theatre arts community, in-person, after a few very tough years for the industry and the world," says John McEwen, Executive Director the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

During the Gala celebration, The Alliance presented awards to supporting organizations, theatres, artists, administrators, and advocates who have made exceptional contributions to the art of theatre in New Jersey. This year, the President of the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), Chris Paladino was recognized with the Community Impact Award.

"It was an honor to present this year's Community Impact Award to Christopher J. Paladino. His positive influence on New Jersey, and New Brunswick in particular are vast and admirable. From the revitalization to fostering economic and social stability, his pact will affect generations to come. His background and career are a true success story, and we look forward to all of his future projects," says Carol Ann Herbert, New Jersey Theatre Alliance Board Member.

Tony nominee and Emmy winner Liz Callaway delighted guests with a musical cabaret set after dinner. Callaway made her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along, and has gone on to star in Baby, Miss Saigon, The Look of Love, The Three Musketeers, and for 5 years appeared as Grizabella in Cats.

The Gala also celebrated some very important milestones for The Alliance. This year is the 40th anniversary of The Alliance serving the theatre arts industry in New Jersey and its surrounding regions, as well as honoring Executive Director John McEwen for his 20th anniversary with the Alliance and receiving the Individual Champion Award.

"John has accomplished so much in his 20 years as our chief executive as evidenced by our strong financial position that not only allowed the Alliance to weather the pandemic storm but to also provide financial relief to our member theaters as well as hundreds of individual theater artists. All of this was made possible by the deft stewardship of John McEwen as his keen fundraising skills along with his personable demeanor. I'm also pleased to state that I've had the pleasure of knowing John McEwen for 40 years as we were young pups studying theater management at grad school at NYU, so not only is he a dear colleague, he's also a dear friend who I'm honored to serve on the Board," says Marshall Jones, III, President of The Alliance and Associate Professor - Theater, Mason Gross School of the Arts Rutgers, the state university of NJ.

Two programs were also honored with the 30th anniversary of the Cultural Access Network, which provides a wide range of services and programs to assist theatres and cultural organizations in making their programs and facilities accessible to seniors and people with disabilities, and the 25th Year of the Stages Festival, a three month long state-wide festival of free and low-cost theatre events for all ages including performances, classes, workshops, and play readings.

McEwen ends by saying, "The Alliance and our member theatres are looking forward to the future of the arts in New Jersey. We want to thank each and every person and organization who have been a part of our success in the past 40 years."

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