TFANA to Present Spring Gala This Weekend

The gala celebrates Shakespeare's 460th Birthday and TFANA's successful 2023-24 season.

By: May. 10, 2024
TFANA to Present Spring Gala This Weekend
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.

Existing user? Just click login.

Theatre for a New Audience will bring together a vital community of theatergoers, artists, and patrons for its Spring Gala Monday, May 13, at Cipriani.

The gala begins at 6:30pm with a cocktail reception and silent auction, followed at 7:30pm with music, original video, awards, dinner, and a dessert reception.

The gala celebrates Shakespeare's 460th Birthday and TFANA's successful 2023-24 season and marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare's First Folio. At the event, Robert A. Caro—the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner—will receive the Samuel H. Scripps Award for Extraordinary Artistic Achievement. Leonard Tow and The Tow Foundation will receive the Art in Life Award for their philanthropy supporting the arts.

Emceed by esteemed theatre, television and film actor LisaGay Hamilton (TFANA: OBIE Award Best Performance, Ohio State Murders; Broadway: To Kill a Mockingbird; TV: The Practice), with music from Jazz Museum in Harlem All-Stars (Band Leader James Zito) and an original video celebrating Robert Caro and William Shakespeare, the gala raises essential support for TFANA's productions, artists' compensation, ticket access initiatives and education programs serving New York City public schools borough wide.

Horowitz observed, “This has been one of TFANA's most successful seasons. All four of our shows received accolades and exceeded box office projections. Individual ticket sales, subscriptions, and sales of New Deal tickets for those age 30 and under and full-time students of any age increased from last year. TFANA's season also marks the 400thth anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare's First Folio of thirty-six plays. For the first time, individuals could enter his plays and characters through printed words. Previously audiences only experienced the Bard in live performance. Now Shakespeare was in the playhouse and on the page. As this 400th Anniversary is during TFANA's 2023-2024 season, TFANA is presenting its 2024 Scripps s to author Robert Caro, who, like William Shakespeare, writes about individuals driven to amass great power.”

The Samuel H. Scripps Award for Extraordinary Artistic Achievement is named after the visionary philanthropist who made leadership gifts to Theatre for a New Audience.  The first gift enabled TFANA to expand its season. The second gift named TFANA's mainstage the Samuel H. Scripps.  

At this year's gala, Tony Award-winning Oslo playwright and Tokyo Vice creator, writer, and showrunner J.T. Rogers will present the award to Robert A. Caro, as the event ties the three-time National Book Critics Circle-winning biographer to Shakespeare's own dramatic and historic storytelling. 

Michiko Kakutani wrote in The New York Times of Caro's The Passage of Power that “Johnson emerges as both a larger-than-life, Shakespearean personage—with epic ambition and epic flaws—and a more human-scale puzzle,” and praised Caro's “masterly gifts as a writer: his propulsive sense of narrative, his talent for enabling readers to see and feel history in the making and his ability to situate his subjects' actions within the contexts of their times…” Robert Harris in The Guardian wrote, “The adjective ‘Shakespearean' is overused and mostly undeserved but not in this case…Caro marries profound psychological insight with a brilliant eye for the drama of the times.”

TFANA's Life in Art Award honors Leonard Tow—chief executive officer of New Century Holdings—and The Tow Foundation. Leonard Tow founded The Tow Foundation and, with his wife Claire, serves as its chair. The award celebrates the achievements of individuals whose support for the arts has set the standard for leadership and generosity. The award is named for the autobiography by the great theatre artist Constantin Stanislavski, My Life in Art. It will be presented by TFANA Founding Artistic Director Jeffrey Horowitz.

Theatre for a New Audience's gala is attended by many of New York's leading arts patrons and has been hosted by eminent artists such as Jessica Hecht, Harry J. Lennix Alfred Molina, and Maggie Siff. This year, in addition to emcee LisaGay Hamilton, attendees include Tony Award nominated and Obie Award-winning Director Arin Arbus; playwright, lyricist, and composer Ethan Lipton; BAFTA-winning and Olivier Award-winning actress Cheryl Campbell; Cara Rickets, who played Isabella in TFANA's recent Measure for Measure; Tom Pecinka, recently nominated for a 2024 Tony Award for his performance in Stereophonic; Kelley Curran of The Gilded Age and TFANA's The Winter's Tale; Andy Grotelueschen of Fiasco Theater, The Gilded Age, and TFANA's productions of Cymbeline, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Ajay Naidu, who was Pozzo in TFANA's production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot; Katherine Hourigan, former Vice President and Managing Editor at Knopf/Doubleday; literary agent Lynn Nesbit; Dr. Julian Zelizer, professor of political history and author; Dr. Meg Jacobs, historian and senior research scholar, Princeton; author and critic Brenda Wineapple; composer of opera, music theater, choral works Michael Dellaria;  Carnegie Hall Executive and Artistic Director Sir Clive Gillinson, CBE; author and editor Ayna Deutsch; Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO, New-York Historical Society; professor and sociologist Dr. David Halle; and David Margolick, journalist and contributing editor at Vanity Fair.

For more information about the Gala, visit

About the Honorees

Robert A. Caro is one of our nation's most acclaimed and honored authors, “the greatest political biographer of our times,” according to the London Sunday Times. For his biographies of Robert Moses (The Power Broker) and Lyndon Johnson (The Years of Lyndon Johnson) he has twice won the Pulitzer Prize, twice won the National Book Award, and three times won the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2010 President Barack Obama awarded Caro the National Humanities Medal. Born and raised in New York City, Caro graduated from Princeton, was later a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, and worked for six years as an investigative reporter for Newsday. He lives with his wife, the writer Ina Caro, in New York City, where he is at work on the fifth and final volume of the Johnson biography.

Leonard Tow, PhD, is the founder and chairperson of The Tow Foundation and chief executive officer of New Century Holdings. Educated at Brooklyn College and with graduate degrees from Columbia University, Dr. Tow served as the chairperson and chief executive officer of Citizens Utilities and founder of Century Communications and Centennial Cellular. His current board service includes Lincoln Center Theater and Educational Broadcasting Corporation. He is a trustee of the Brooklyn College Foundation and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, as well as a director of AMC Networks.

Led by Emily Tow, The Tow Foundation was established in 1988 by Leonard and Claire Tow. It has a long history of supporting visionary leaders and nonprofit organizations, as well as providing playwright residencies and director fellowships at major theatres in New York.

About the Performers and Presenters

J.T. Rogers is a playwright, screenwriter, and producer. His most recent play Corruption premiered this spring at Lincoln Center Theater. Other plays include Oslo, One Giant Leap, Blood and Gifts, and The Overwhelming, which have been seen on London's West End and at The National Theatre, at Lincoln Center Theater, and throughout the US and the world. For Oslo he received the 2017 Tony, New York Critics, Outer Critics, Drama Desk, Drama League, Lortel, and Obie awards for Best Play. He wrote the screenplay for the HBO film of Oslo, and is the creator, writer, and showrunner of the HBOMax series Tokyo Vice. Rogers has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, and is the recipient of the Irwin Piscator Award in recognition of his body of work. He is a founding partner of SRO Productions and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

LisaGay Hamilton is one of America's most distinguished actors. In theatre, Ms. Hamilton has played some of the world's greatest authors ranging from Shakespeare and Moliere to Athol Fugard and August Wilson winning the coveted OBIE Award for her performance in Theatre for a New Audience's Off-Broadway premiere of Adrienne Kennedy's Ohio State Murders and appearing on Broadway opposite Ed Harris in Aaron Sorkin's To Kill a Mockingbird. In television, she is known for roles in ABC's The Practice, TNT's Men of a Certain Age, and Netflix's House of Cards. Her latest appearances include NatGeo's Genius: MLK/X as “Alberta King,” FX's Class of '09, Netflix's Lincoln Lawyer, HBO's Winning Time, and Hulu's The Dropout and The First. In film, she recently appeared in 20th Century Studios' The Boogeyman, based on Stephen King's short story. Her notable credits include John Sayles' Go For Sisters, Sony's Take Shelter, Joe Wright's The Soloist, Clint Eastwood's True Crime, Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown, and Jonathan Demme's Beloved. Ms. Hamilton is a graduate of Juilliard's Drama Division.

TFANA to Present Spring Gala This Weekend


To post a comment, you must register and login.

Vote Sponsor