The Riki and Bob Larimer Fund to Support New Works at York Theatre Company

The York Theatre Company, dedicated to the development of new musicals and the preservation of musical gems from the past, announced today the establishment of The Riki and Bob Larimer Fund, a major gift in the amount of $500,000 to be given over a 5-year period and to be put toward the development of new works for the York stage, and marketing initiatives.

The York Theatre Company's home is the Theater at Saint Peter's (619 Lexington Avenue, entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue).

"The York is one of New York's cultural jewels, and needs to be nurtured and supported," stated Riki Kane Larimer. "I am proud to help lead the company into a new era with the creation of this fund-and I know Bob would be, too."

"We are overwhelmed and deeply grateful. This is the largest single gift ever granted to The York in our 47-year history," said James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director. "I know that this visionary support of Riki will help to spur other like-minded individuals to join the Fund, and to help ensure the future of this storied company."

Ellen Weiss, The York's Director of Development, feels that this gift represents the importance of the arts in our society. "Riki Kane Larimer's singular gift to the York Theatre sets a benchmark. Musical Theater is a uniquely American art form and the work of the York, developing new musicals and revisiting old gems is important for our culture in defining who we are as human beings."

Riki Kane Larimer began her career as an advertising copywriter at Nadler & Larimer. She then created a syndicated newspaper column, "Wordy Gurdy by Tricky Ricky," appearing in over 150 newspapers nationwide. She is the lead producer of Cagney, the musical hit which had its New York premiere last year at the York and is now approaching its 200th performance at the Westside Theater on West 43rd Street. Her producing credits include Memphis (London), On the Town, Tappin' Thru Life, Gigi, and Clever Little Lies. A member of The Friars Club, Riki is on the boards of the Bay Street Theatre and the York Theatre Company, where she was associate producer of the acclaimed five-week, sold-out run of Cagney. Although he had a stunning career in advertising and marketing, her husband Bob's first love was musical theater. Over the years, Bob created several Off-Broadway shows and one Broadway show, But Never Jam Today, directed by Vinnette Carroll. He wrote the music and lyrics for the last song recorded by Marlene Dietrich, "The World Goes Rolling On." In 2014, he completed a concept album of Maxie's, an original jazz musical written with composer Hal Schaefer, featuring vocalists Billy Porter, Jason Alexander, Heather Headley, Shirley Jones, Ruben Studdard, John Schneider and Jennifer Holliday; Riki Kane Larimer acted as executive producer for the album.

The York Theatre Company is the only theater in New York City - and one of very few in the world - dedicated to developing and fully producing new musicals and preserving neglected, notable shows from the past. For over four decades, York's intimate, imaginative style of producing both original and classic musicals has resulted in critical acclaim and recognition from artists and audiences alike. Under the guidance of Producing Artistic Director James Morgan since 1997, the York has focused on new musicals in its Mainstage Series - most of them world, American, or New York premieres - by some of the field's most esteemed creators, and has also helped launch the careers of many talented new writers. Over 35 cast recordings from York Theatre Company productions are now available on CD, including its acclaimed revival of Closer Than Ever (2013 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Revival); commercial transfers of such York premieres as The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), Souvenir (Tony Award Nomination for actress Judy Kaye), and Jolson & Company, and revivals of Pacific Overtures and Sweeney Todd (four Tony Nominations including Best Revival) have all showcased the importance of the York and its programs. Recent hits have included Rothschild and Sons, Plaid Tidings andCagney, currently playing to sold-out houses at the Westside Theatre, starring Robert Creighton as James Cagney and the original York cast.

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