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Anna Deavere Smith, Laurence Belfer, Christian McBride & Marshall Weinberg to be Honored at 92Y's Virtual Gala

The event will feature special cameo appearances by RYAN REYNOLDS, DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER & DIANNE REEVES.

Anna Deavere Smith, Laurence Belfer, Christian McBride & Marshall Weinberg to be Honored at 92Y's Virtual Gala

On May 24, 2020, 7:00-8:00 pm ET, the 92nd Street Y will host a virtual gala to honor exceptional individuals and celebrate the many ways in which donor support has transformed 92Y during the pandemic, enabling them to serve their local and global communities like never before. All proceeds benefit 92Y, and for every ticket purchased, an additional ticket is donated so that more people have access to this inspiring event.


Honorees are:


92Y's Board Chairman LAURENCE BELFER for extraordinary leadership and service

Jazz Great and Educator Christian McBride for keeping the arts relevant and alive during a dark time

Award-winning playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith for leading civic discourse and inspiring social action

Philanthropist MARSHALL WEINBERG for helping extend their reach to the global community

Reflecting the dazzling array of words, music and movements that unite us, performances and readings during the virtual gala include:

BALLET HISPÁNICO perform Linea Recta by Annabella Lopez Ochoa

Christian McBride AND FRIENDS perform "Tomorrow (A Better You, Better Me)" by Quincy Jones

IAN MCEWAN reads "The Rolling English Road" by G.K. Chesterton

ANGELA HEWITT performs the last movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 15 in D Major, Op. 28 ("Pastorale")

YIYUN LI reads her translation of "River Letter" by Shen Congwen

Sasha Cooke performs "Goin' Home" by Anton Dvořák, arr. William Arms Fisher

A reading by RITA DOVE

A dance performance by YIN YUE

and

Special Cameo Appearances by Ryan Reynolds, Dee Dee Bridgewater & Dianne Reeves

The event will include a special appreciation for 92Y's longtime staff members Ellen Birnbaum, Director of Early Childhood Education, and Sally Tannen, Director of 92Y Parenting Center for elevating 92Y as a beacon of early childhood education.

"Now in our 147th year, marking our second virtual gala, we'll gather online to celebrate all those who have sustained 92Y's innovation and reinvention through the pandemic-our patrons, artists, performers, thinkers, educators and other extraordinary people who are helping ensure our future, including a return to in-person programming and a continuation of the digital outreach that has seen our community expand to a global one," said Seth Pinsky, CEO of the 92nd Street Y, "This is our opportunity to celebrate and express our gratitude."

About the Honorees


Laurence D. Belfer is Chief Executive Officer of Belfer Management LLC, a family investment firm. In the not-for-profit sector, Laurence serves as Chair of the Board of the 92nd Street Y, where he founded the Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact. He is also on the Board of #GivingTuesday - the global giving movement created at Belfer Center. At the Harvard Kennedy School, he Co-Chairs the Dean's Council, serves on the Executive Board and is a Member of the International Council of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. In addition, he serves on the Advisory Board of the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, is a Member of the Asia Society Policy Institute's Council.

Laurence belongs to the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO Big Apple Gold) and is a Henry Crown Fellow at The Aspen Institute. He is a 1988 graduate with honors from Harvard College who earned his Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School in 1992.


Anna Deavere Smith is an actress, playwright, teacher, and author and has appeared at 92Y numerous times as a panelist. She is credited with creating a new form of theater and her most recent original work, Notes from the Field, looks at the vulnerability of youth, the criminal justice system, and contemporary activism. The New York Times named the stage version among The Best Theater of 2016 and TIME Magazine called it one of the Top 10 Plays of the Year. HBO premiered the film version in February 2018, and it was nominated for a Critics' Choice Award. By looking at current events from multiple points of view, Smith's theater combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance. Plays include Fires In the Mirror, Twilight: Los Angeles, House Arrest, and Let Me Down Easy. Twilight: Los Angeles was nominated for two Tony Awards. Fires in the Mirror was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize.

In 2012, President Obama awarded Smith the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal. She is a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. Other awards include the prestigious 2013 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for achievement in the arts, the George Polk Career Award in Journalism, and the Ridenhour Courage Award. In 2015, she was named the Jefferson Lecturer, the nation's highest honor in the humanities. She has been given several honorary degrees including those from Yale, Juilliard, University of Pennsylvania, Smith College, and Spelman.

Smith is also a television and film actress. Credits include such shows as Shonda Rhimes's new "untitled project", ABC's series For the People and Black-ish. She also co-starred on Showtime's Nurse Jackie and was featured on the long running series, The West Wing. Films include The American President, Rachel Getting Married, Philadelphia, Dave, Rent, and Human Stain. Smith is a Full Professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where she founded the former Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue.


Christian McBride moved to New York in 1989 to pursue classical studies at the Juilliard School and was promptly recruited to the road by saxophonist Bobby Watson. Call it a change in curriculum: a decade's worth of study through hundreds of recording sessions and countless gigs with an ever-expanding circle of musicians. In 2000 the lessons of the road came together in the formation of what would become his longest-running project, the Christian McBride Band. Praised by writer Alan Leeds as "one of the most intoxicating, least predictable bands on the scene today," the CMB-saxophonist Ron Blake, keyboardist Geoffrey Keezer, and drummer Terreon Gully-have been collectively evolving McBride's all-inclusive, forward-thinking outlook on music through their incendiary live shows, as chronicled on 2006's Live at Tonic. Part excursion, part education, the CMB is a vehicle built on a framework of experience and powered by unfettered creativity: a mesmerizing dance on the edge of an electro-acoustic fault line.

In 2009 McBride began focusing this same energy through a more traditional lens with the debut of his critically-acclaimed Inside Straight quintet, and again with the Christian McBride Big Band, whose 2012 release The Good Feeling won the GRAMMY for Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album. As his career entered its third decade, McBride added the role of mentor, tapping rising stars pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. for the Christian McBride Trio's Grammy-nominated album, Out Here.

He is also a respected educator and advocate, first noted in 1997 when he spoke on former President Bill Clinton's town hall meeting "Racism in the Performing Arts." He has since been named Artistic Director of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Sessions (2000), co-director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (2005), and the Second Creative Chair for Jazz of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (2005). He has performed numerous times at 92Y, led classes for schoolchildren as part of 92Y's Center for Arts Learning & Leadership, and is the driving force and headliner behind our forthcoming celebration of the 50th anniversary of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On."

In 1998 he combined roles, composing "The Movement, Revisited," a four-movement suite dedicated to four of the major figures of the civil rights movement: Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The piece was commissioned by the Portland (ME) Arts Society and the National Endowment for the Arts and performed throughout New England in the fall of 1998 with McBride's quartet and a 30-piece gospel choir. For its tenth anniversary, "The Movement, Revisited" was expanded, rewritten, and revamped to feature an 18-piece big band and four actors/speakers in addition to the gospel choir. It was performed in Los Angeles at Walt Disney Concert Hall and praised by the Los Angeles Times as "a work that was admirable-to paraphrase Dr. King-for both the content of its music and the character of its message."

Currently he hosts and produces The Lowdown: Conversations with Christian on SiriusXM satellite radio and National Public Radio's Jazz Night in America, a weekly radio show and multimedia collaboration between WBGO, NPR and Jazz at Lincoln Center, showcasing outstanding live jazz from across the country. With his staggering body of work, McBride is the ideal host, drawing on history, experience, and a gift for storytelling to bridge the gap between artist, music, and audience. He brings that same breadth of experience to bear as Artistic Advisor for Jazz Programming at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).

Completing the circle is his work with Jazz House Kids, the nationally-recognized community arts organization founded by his wife, vocalist Melissa Walker. Exclusively dedicated to educating children through jazz, the "Jazz House" concept brings internationally renowned jazz performers to teach alongside a professional staff, offering students a wide range of creative programming that develops musical potential, enhances leadership skills, and strengthens academic performance. This shared celebration of America's original musical art form cultivates tomorrow's community leaders and global citizens while preserving its rich legacy for future generations.


Marshall M. Weinberg graduated from the University of Michigan in 1950. He spent one year in the graduate program in philosophy at Harvard University and later transferred to the Columbia Graduate School of Business. He was then employed at the New York investment firm Herzfeld & Stern, where he spent his professional career.

Marshall Weinberg's philanthropy encompasses higher education, reproductive rights (through the Center for Reproductive Rights and Law), and international justice. He has been a generous supporter of 92Y and most recently made a significant gift to support the Marshall Weinberg 2021 Spring Classical Music Season.

At the University of Michigan, Mr. Weinberg supports Judaic Studies, the Population Studies Center, the School for Environment and Sustainability, and the Department of Philosophy in addition to the Weinberg Institute for Cognitive Science.

In 2008, Marshall Weinberg received the David B. Hermelin Award for Fundraising Volunteer Leadership, the university's most prestigious award for volunteers. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at Spring Commencement at Michigan Stadium on May 3, 2014.


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