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Julie White & More Set for Playwrights Horizons' 2015 Gala Celebrating Peter Jay Sharp Tonight

Acclaimed Off-Broadway theater company Playwrights Horizons will hold its annual Spring Gala this evening, May 4 at the event space 583 Park Avenue.

Titled CELEBRATING PETER JAY SHARP'S NEW YORK, the evening will honor the late philanthropist, hotelier and real estate developer Peter Jay Sharp and The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation (Foundation Directors: the late Mr. Sharp, Edmund Duffy, Dan Lufkin, the late Jack Nash and Norman Peck). Among several theaters in New York City, Playwrights Horizons' more intimate 128-seat theater was named after the late philanthropist. It premiered when the company's new building opened its doors in January 2003.

In its 30 years of operation, The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation - established by Mr. Sharp in 1984 - has made a significant impact on the cultural and physical landscape of New York. It has contributed to both new programs and new space at many leading arts and community organizations, including BAM, Symphony Space, The Juilliard School, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Botanical Gardens, and Playwrights Horizons. While Mr. Sharp passed away in 1992, his vision was carried forward by the continued generous contributions of the Foundation. In 2014, as the Directors had always planned, The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation completed the spend-down of the majority of its funds and dissolved as a corporate entity.

The evening's celebration will feature performances and testimonials from some of the many Playwrights Horizons alumni to have worked at Playwrights Horizons' Peter Jay Sharp Theater, including Jack Herrick (composer, musical director and cast member of Wilder at The Sharp Theater in 2003), Amy Herzog (writer of After the Revolution at The Sharp Theater in 2010), Lucas Papaelias & Ray Rizzo (co-composers and performers of Essential Self-Defense at The Sharp Theater in 2007), Tony Award winner Julie White (star of Bad Dates at The Sharp Theater in its inaugural year 2003) and the cast of IOWA, the show currently playing in The SharpTheater, featuring Cindy Cheung, April Matthis, Annie McNamara, Karyn Quackenbush, Carolina Sanchez, Lee Sellars, Jill Shackner and Kolette Tetlow.

The evening will also feature the participation of Culture comentator and WNYC/syndicated radio host Kurt Andersen and Broadway driector Moritz von Stuelpnagel (the director of Hand to God on Broadway and a former Playwrights Horzions directing resident).

Serving as Gala Co-Chairs are Pauline Oudin, Judith O. Rubin and Marisa Sechrest.

The Spring Gala is the organization's largest fundraising event of the year, with donations earmarked to support six annual productions, the development of new plays and musicals, ticket subsidies and programs for students and early-career professionals. The programs cultivate the next generation of artists, arts managers and theatergoers.

For forty-four years, Playwrights Horizons has been the only major Off-Broadway theater dedicated solely to producing new American work. It's a mission that's always timely, always crucial, and it sets the organization apart from every other theater in the country. Six annual productions are the public face of the organization. Writers are also served by the New Works Lab, which includes script evaluations, readings, workshops and commissions. Playwrights Horizons operates Ticket Central, a box office service, as well as affordable rehearsal and performance spaces at 440 Studios. The next generation of artists, arts managers and theatergoers are cultivated through a Theatrical Residency Program, the Playwrights Horizons Theater School at NYU and audience development initiatives.

With the participation of subscribers and supporters, Playwrights Horizons continue to be a vibrant leader in the development of new American plays and musicals and a standard-bearer for excellence in the theater world. As a not-for-profit organization, charitable donations account for nearly 40% of the annual budget. Each year an average of 84% is spent on productions and programs, with only 16% spent on administrative overhead and fundraising.

Cocktails and a Silent Auction will begin at 6PM, followed by dinner at 7:30PM and the evening's entertainment. In addition to the Silent Auction, which is exclusive to those attending the Gala, a separate online auction will run May 5-19 and is administered through CharityBuzz.com.

Ticket prices for the Gala start at $1,000 and can be reserved by calling Elizabeth Stern at (212) 564-1235 ext 3137 or online at www.PHnyc.org/support-us/gala-2015/.


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