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TNC's Love 'n Courage Gala Will Benefit Emerging Playwrights Program

Theater for the New City's Emerging Playwrights Program will be beneficiary of the theater's 17th Annual Love 'n Courage benefit Monday, February 24, 2020 at The Players, 16 Gramercy Park South. The evening honors James Rado, the Tony and Grammy Award winning, actor, playwright, composer and co-author of the musical "Hair."


Theater for the New City (TNC) is a four-theater complex at 155 First Avenue. Its awards include the Pulitzer Prize, 43 Village Voice OBIE Awards, eight Audelco Awards, two Bessie Awards, five ASCAP Awards, 10 Rockefeller Playwrights Fellowships, The Mayors Stop the Violence Award, the Manhattan Borough President's Award for Public Service and Artistic Excellence in Theater, and a NY City Council Proclamation that pays tribute to TNC's contributions to improving the quality of life in the City by its "rich tradition of bringing theater to people in multi-cultural neighborhoods."


The Emerging Playwrights program is integral to the theater's mission, which includes being a center for new and innovative theater arts, discovering relevant new writing and nurturing new playwrights. TNC does not believe that readings are enough help for an artist to grow into the American playwriting mainstream. So the theater gives emerging artists full productions, with a minimal run of three weeks, full lighting, sets, costumes and overall good production values. The theater staff does marketing to make sure they have audiences, and ticket prices are kept low to ensure good attendance.


Each year there are between 20 and 30 emerging playwrights presented. No other theater approaches the volume of work by emerging playwrights that TNC has presented in the 50 years since its founding.


Playwrights are selected for the quality of their work and their historical and social vision. Executive Director Crystal Field declares, "That is our ballast. Everything else is just decoration." Many colleges have playwriting programs, but the process at TNC is different from what happens in university theaters because at TNC, the playwright is involved in all aspects of the production and has final say on everything including budget, casting, designers and choice of director. The producer cannot fire the writer and there is no censorship in any way. It's a nurturing relationship in which the author is also invited to create a new work for the following season.


Emerging playwright productions get to use the theater's set and costume shops and its vast inventory of set pieces. Each theater space is fully equipped and this year, TNC has added a projector and sound mixer.


"Love 'n Courage" will be hosted by songwriter/playwright/performer Phoebe Legere and playwright/director Matt Morillo. They will be joined on the dais by Crystal Field, Executive Artistic Director of TNC and Mary Tierney, Chairperson of the benefit. Performers will include: Cobu (all-women Taiko dance and drum group), Penny Arcade, Phoebe Legere, James Rado (accompanied by David Lewis), TNC's Street Theater Company featuring Michael David Gordon, Earth Cry led by Frances Key (great-granddaughter of Francis Scott Key, the man who wrote our national anthem), the Chorus of TNC's After School Cultural Arts Program, The Yip Harburg Lyrics Foundation's Rainbow Troupe. Robert Gonzales, Jr., Louisa Bradshaw, John Grimaldi and Human Kinetics Movement Arts.


The benefit committee includes Mary Tierney (Chair), F. Murray Abraham, David Amram, Tom Attea, Alexander Bartenieff, Patricia Bosworth, Jean Buchalter, Vinie Burrows, Charles Busch, Janet Cooper-Piontek, Eric Alexie Cruz, Myrna Duarte, Carol Dudgeon, Crystal Field, Matthew Fitzgerald, Andrea Fulton, Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Robert Gonzales, Jr., Robert Greer, Margaret Guarino, Philip Hackett, Alan Hanna, Deena & Ernie Harburg, Celia Kornfeld, David Lewis, Anne Lucas, Eduardo Machado, Nancy Manocherian, Mark Marcante, Audrey Heffernan Meyer, Alberto Minero, Louis Mofsie, Lissa Moira, Stephan Morrow, Richard Ploetz, Council Member Carlina Rivera, Tim Robbins, Liana Rosario, Gerald E. Rupp, Esq., Michael Scott-Price, Edward Shea, David F. Slone, Esq., Jean-Claude van Itallie, Betsy von Furstenberg (in memoriam), Jenne Vath, Joel Vig, Jonathan Weber, Patricia & Dr. Jay Weiner and Frank Zuback.


Cocktails are at 6:00 PM with a seated dinner at 6:45. Performances begin at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $200 and $1750 for a table of ten, available online at For info call (212) 254-1109. RSVP by February 17. Festive dress is required.

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