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Ed Harris, Lea DeLaria, John Tartaglia and More Set for The New Group's 2014 Gala Honoring Beth Henley and Geoff Rich, 3/10

Off-Broadway's The New Group honors Beth Henley, playwright, author of Crimes of the Heart and The Jacksonian, and Geoff Rich, Executive Director of The New Group 2002-2013, with The 2014 Michael Mendelson Award at the company's Annual Gala, "Bright Lights Off-Broadway." The Gala, set to take place Monday, March 10 beginning at 6:00pm at Tribeca Rooftop (2 Desbrosses Street), features appearances by Ed Harris, Holly Hunter, Carol Kane, Amy Madigan, Bill Pullman and Jonathan Marc Sherman and performances by Stephen Bogardus, Lea DeLaria and John Tartaglia, along with cocktails, dinner, and silent and live auctions filled with an array of exciting items and one-of-a-kind experiences.

Gala tickets are $750; $1,000; $1,500. Tickets may be arranged by contacting Jamie Lehrer, Director of Development at The New Group, at (212) 244-3380 x308 or

The New Group honors Beth Henley and Geoff Rich with The 2014 Michael Mendelson Award for Outstanding Commitment to Theater. Founded in 2005, this award recognizes individuals who show outstanding commitment to the theatrical community. Past recipients include Peter Alkalay and Jonathan Marc Sherman; David Rabe and Nancy Manocherian; Wallace Shawn and Fred Wistow; Robyn Goodman and Ethan Hawke; Ruth and Stephen Hendel; Wendy Ettinger and Derek McLane.

Beth Henley was born in Jackson, Mississippi. Her plays have been produced internationally and translated into over ten languages. Crimes of the Heart (The Golden Theatre) and The Wake of Jamey Foster (Eugene O'Neill Theatre) were performed on Broadway. Off-Broadway productions include: The Miss Firecracker Contest, Am I Blue, The Lucky Spot, The Debutante Ball, Abundance, Impossible Marriage, and Family Week. Her play Ridiculous Fraud was produced at McCarter Theatre as well as South Coast Repertory Theatre. Ms. Henley's newest work The Jacksonian premiered at the Geffen Playhouse in January 2012 to great acclaim. Robert Falls directed and the cast included Ed Harris, Bill Pullman, Amy Madigan and Glenne Headly. It most recently premiered Off-Broadway at The New Group. Beth Henley was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play for Crimes of the Heart. Other awards include: American Theatre Wing 1998 Award for Distinguished Achievement in Playwriting; Susan Smith Blackburn Finalist for Crimes of the Heart and Ridiculous Fraud; Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award 2000; New York Stage and Film Honoree, 2007; ATHE Career Achievement Award, 2010. Ms. Henley has the honor of serving as Theatre Arts Presidential Professor at LMU, Los Angeles. She is a member of The Fellowship of Southern Writers, the Dramatist Guild and the Academy of Arts and Science.

Geoff Rich was born in Toms River, NJ, and graduated Princeton 1978. In 1984 he founded Radio Today Entertainment, which became America's largest independent radio producer and distributor and was sold to Disney/ABC in 1998. Radio credits include Flashback, Rock Stars, Rick Dees' Weekly Top 40, Walter Cronkite's 20th Century, The Mitch Albom Show, The Stephanie Miller Show, The Pete Rose Show and The Dr. Laura Program. Radio Today won the Grand Award for Best Music Show at the International Radio Festival in 1994 and the Marconi Award for best network talk show in 1997. In 1998 he joined the Board of The New Group. From 1998-2001 he was responsible for programming the ABC Radio Networks. In 2000 Geoff helped found the New York Gothams Youth Baseball organization which helps Manhattan teenagers pursue their baseball dreams. In 2002 Geoff volunteered to be The New Group's Executive Director. Over the next 12 years, he produced over 40 shows for The New Group including Avenue Q (Tony Award, Best Musical 2004), Hurlyburly (Drama Desk Nomination, Best Revival 2005) and The Kid (Drama Desk Nomination, Best Musical, 2011). Since 2003 Geoff has served as President of the Board of Trustees for Princeton University's Summer Theatre program. He lives with his wife, Koni and their 15-year-old daughter Gabrielle, while their 28-year-old son Jaremy designs computer games for PopCap, a division of Electronic Arts.

The New Group (Scott Elliott, Artistic Director; Adam Bernstein, Executive Director) is currently represented Off-Broadway by the world premiere of Thomas Bradshaw's Intimacy, directed by Scott Elliott (through March 8). The company commenced its 2013-2014 season with the New York premiere of Beth Henley's The Jacksonian, directed by Robert Falls, featuring Ed Harris, Glenne Headly, Amy Madigan, Bill Pullman and Juliet Brett. Last season, The New Group presented the world premieres of Francine Volpe's The Good Mother directed by Scott Elliott; Jonathan Marc Sherman's Clive, directed by and featuring Ethan Hawke; and the new musical Bunty Berman Presents..., with book & lyrics by Ayub Khan Din and music by Ayub Khan Din & Paul Bogaev. In its 2011-2012 season, the company presented Thomas Bradshaw's Burning, the extended run of Erika Sheffer's Russian Transport (both directed by Scott Elliott) and David Rabe's An Early History of Fire directed by Jo Bonney. Other productions include Tommy Nohilly's Blood From A Stone featuring Ethan Hawke (Obie winner); the revival of Wallace Shawn's Marie and Bruce starring Marisa Tomei and Frank Whaley; One Arm by Tennessee Williams, adapted and directed by Moisés Kaufman; A Lie of the Mind; The Kid; Groundswell; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie; Hurlyburly; Mike Leigh's Two Thousand Years, Abigail's Party, Smelling a Rat, Goose-Pimples and Ecstasy; Wallace Shawn's The Fever and Aunt Dan and Lemon; Kenneth Lonergan's The Starry Messenger featuring Matthew Broderick and This is Our Youth; Kevin Elyot's Mouth to Mouth and My Night With Reg; and Ayub Khan Din's East is East and Rafta, Rafta.... The New Group is a recipient of the 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical (Avenue Q). The New Group and Artistic Director Scott Elliott were honored with a Special 2010-11 Drama Desk Award "for presenting contemporary new voices, and for uncompromisingly raw and powerful productions."

In Spring 2014, The New Group presents the New York premiere of Annapurna by Sharr White, directed by Bart DeLorenzo and featuring Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman, in a limited Off-Broadway engagement April 13 - June 1.

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