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Keen Company Announces Lineup for Virtual Gala Honoring Pearl Cleage


The evening will feature show-stopping tunes as well as readings from Pearl Cleage's work, performed by Phylicia Rashad, Krysta Rodriguez, and more.

Keen Company Announces Lineup for Virtual Gala Honoring Pearl Cleage

Today Keen Company Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein announced the company for the 22nd Annual Benefit Gala, a virtual evening of extraordinary performances, musical entertainment, and backstage stories from stars of stage and screen, all in honor of Pearl Cleage.

The evening will feature show-stopping tunes as well as readings from Pearl Cleage's work, performed by Phylicia Rashad (Tony Award-winning and Emmy nominated actress, and long-time collaborator of Cleage); Krysta Rodriguez (recently seen as Liza Minnelli opposite Ewan McGregor in Halston for Netfli); Tamika Sonja Lawrence (a two-time Grammy Award winning recording artist, songwriter, and actress best known for Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman); Tayari Jones (the author of four novels, most recently An American Marriage, which was a 2018 Oprah's Book Club Selection, and won the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction); Zachary Noah Piser (Evan in Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, Wicked, Sweeney Todd, and Keen Company's Adventurephile); and Christopher Rachel ((Digging in the Dark for Keen Company, What to Send Up When It Goes Down for Playwrights Horizons). Hosted by John-Andrew Morrison (A Strange Loop, Keen's Blues for an Alabama Sky) with Music Direction by Benjamin Rauhala (2020 BroadwayWorld Cabaret Award for Best Musical Director).

This festive event will take place online, and tickets are available from just $50. Ticket packages include meal delivery, party favors, and access to the full evening of performances for up to three days. To enjoy one of the delicious catered meals, orders must be placed by Friday October 15th at Noon. All contributions help underwrite Keen Company's 22nd Season a hybrid Season offering both live, in-person performances as well as virtual streaming, including two in-person Off-Broadway productions, the Keen Playwrights Lab for mid-career writers, and the Keen Teens education program serving students in all five boroughs of NYC. the 22nd Season,

Due to the pandemic, Keen Company was forced to cancel both the 20th Anniversary Gala scheduled for April 2020 and the 21st Annual Benefit Gala scheduled for May 2021. "Being able to raise a glass with all of you, is one of the things we have missed most during this difficult time. We are always overwhelmed by the generous spirit surrounding the event, and it is a joy to see so many dear patrons and loyal friends gather together to share an evening. Although it is not yet time for us to meet again in person, we hope to make this online celebration feel as special as a great dinner party filled with your favorite theater loving friends. We hope to see you all there, because we've got two years' worth of celebrating to do," said Silverstein.

Pearl Cleage is an award-winning playwright, bestselling novelist, published poet and popular newspaper columnist. Keen Company was honored to bring Pearl Cleage's celebrated play Blues for An Alabama Sky to New York for the first time during our 20th Anniversary Season, as well as commission and debut her haunting radio drama Digging in the Dark during our innovative 21st Season of audio theater. We are thrilled to honor her vast and distinguished career and salute her with the Keen Vision Award!

Keen's ongoing programs, undaunted by the pandemic, continue to thrive:
Under the leadership of Keen's Director of New Work Jeremy Stoller, the Keen Playwrights Lab is in its eight season, currently working with playwrights Carlos Murillo, Vicki Ramirez, and Harrison David Rivers. Each year, the Keen Playwrights Lab brings together three mid-career playwrights to develop new full-length plays that uphold Keen's mission to create theater that champions identification and connection. Virtual readings of excerpts of new works by all writers will occur in December 2021, more details to be announced. Keen Teens the company's education program now in its 16th year, raises the quality of plays written for high school students by commissioning work from accomplished professional playwrights. The 2022 Keen Teens playwrights will be Bleu Beckford-Burrell, C. Quintana/">Quintana, and Stephanie Swirsky. This free program for teens provides invaluable mentorship opportunities - working alongside professional writers, directors, and designers to rehearse and premiere new work. Through Keen's partnership with Concord Theatricals, plays are published and licensed around the globe. The 2022 Keen Teens Festival of New Work will take place in May 2022; more details to be announced.

Keen Company creates theater that provokes identification, reflection, and emotional connection. In intimate productions of plays and musicals, we tell wholehearted stories about people striving to do their best and the decisive moments that change us. Keen has been honored with eleven Drama Desk nominations, two Drama Desk Awards, two Drama League nominations, and two Obie Awards. Keen Company is a Drama Desk and Obie Award winning Off-Broadway theater creating story driven work that champions identification and connection. In intimate productions of plays and musicals, the company tells stories about the decisive moments that change us. Keen also fosters mid-career playwrights through our Keen Playwrights Lab and mentors students from all five boroughs of NYC though our Keen Teens education program. In everything we do, Keen Company thrives through our welcoming ethos and community commitments.

For tickets, to make a gala contribution, browse the auction, or more information about Keen's upcoming productions, visit

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