Kenny Leon, Judith O. Rubin & The Shubert Foundation to be Honoured at Theatre Communications Group 50th Anniversary Gala, April 23


On Monday, April 23, 2012, Theatre Communications Group (TCG) will celebrate its 50th anniversary at a gala honoring Kenny Leon, Judith O. Rubin, and The Shubert Foundation, at Espace (635 West 42nd Street between 11th and 12th avenues).

“Not only will we be celebrating all that TCG has accomplished over the last 50 years, we are thrilled to be honoring a group of people who have made a notable difference in the world of American theatre. They have shared their passion for the theatre with TCG and our members, and we are delighted to be sharing the evening with them,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG.

The event will feature a “who’s who” of American Theatre. The Gala Co-Chairs are Ralph Bryan and Heather Randall. The Honorary Gala Chairs include: Angela Basset, Courtney B. Vance, and Louise Kerz Hirschfeld.

The Honorary Gala Committee includes F. Murray Abraham, Douglas Carter Beane, Beau Bridges, James Bundy, Kate Burton, Charles Busch, Michael Cerveris, Rick Elice, Philip Himberg, Rachel Kraft, Patti LuPone, David Hyde Pierce, Phylicia Rashad, Roger Rees, Tim Robbins, Olga Sanchez, Roche Schulfer, Stephen Sondheim, Ben Vereen and Doug Wright.

The Theatre Communications Group’s Executive Director, Teresa Eyring will welcome the guests.

The evening’s entertainment will include excerpts of new theatrical works by TCG Member Theatres from around the nation including La Jolla Playhouse’s Hands on a Hardbody and the Dallas Theater Center, Public Theater and Signature Theatre’s co-production of Giant.

Hands On A Hardbody: The La Jolla Playhouse world premiere boasts a book by Doug Wright, lyrics by Amanda Green, and music by Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green. Based on the acclaimed documentary, this La Jolla Playhouse commissioned musical follows ten strangers who enter an endurance contest to win a brand new truck—the key to their own individual American dream.

Giant: A sprawling, epic love story with larger-than-life characters and Texas-size musical numbers. Co-produced by Dallas Theater Center and The Public Theater with a 2009 World Premiere at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, this classic tale of ambition and romance comes to the stage with book by Sybille Pearson and song after memorable song by Michael John LaChiusa.

“It’s my great honor to showcase several great works from our Member Theatres,” said Erying. “Audiences fell in love with Giant when it played at Signature and Dallas Theatre Center. La Jolla Playhouse is working diligently on Hands on a Hardbody and we are thrilled to offer our gala attendees a sneak preview of this new work. These and other works emerging from theatres of all sizes across the U.S., demonstrate the strength and vitality of our National Theatre community.”

The evening will begin with cocktails at 6:00 followed by dinner and performances at 7:00. Guests are asked to wear festive attire.

Kenny Leon (Director). Tony nominated director and Julia Hansen Award winner, Kenny Leon is one of the most acclaimed directors in contemporary American theatre. He is the first African-American director to have two shows on Broadway simultaneously: The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett and Stick Fly produced by Alicia Keys. In 2010, his Broadway production of Fences garnered 10 Tony Nominations including Best Director and won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor and Best Actress. Past Broadway credits include Radio Golf, Gem of the Ocean and the Tony-winning revival of A Raisin in the Sun. Mr. Leon was nominated for Best Director by the Directors Guild of America for the television film of A Raisin in the Sun which also received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and won 3 NAACP Image Awards and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Prior to founding Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, he served 11 years as Artistic Director of the ALLIANCE THEATRE. Other directorial credits include Toni Morrison’s opera Margaret Garner, the world premiere of Flashdance: The Musical, Alicia Keys’ As I Am worldwide tour and the August Wilson Century Cycle at the Kennedy Center, for which he was Artistic Director. His television directorial credits include Private Practice and Ghost Whisperer. Currently he’s directing an all-black adaptation of Steel Magnolias for Lifetime.

JUDITH O. RUBIN: Ms. Rubin is chairman of the board of Playwrights Horizons. She was a member of the board of TCG for six years, and is now on its executive committee. For eight years she served on the NEA's National Council on the Arts. She has been a member of the New York State Council on the Arts since 1989, is currently on the Tony Awards Administration Committee, the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) Board of Overseers. She is a trustee of the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation that awards a major annual prize to a play by an emerging playwright. She is on the board of Mount Sinai Medical Center and of the New York Community Trust, and is a former director of Public Radio International. She served as president of the 92nd Y from 1984 to 1988, was a member of the Board of Regents of New York State, representing Manhattan, and was Commissioner for Protocol during the administration of New York City Mayor David Dinkins.

THE SHUBERT FOUNDATION: Established in 1945 by Lee and J.J. Shubert in memory of their brother Sam, it is also the sole shareholder of The Shubert Organization, Inc., which owns and operates 17 Broadway theatres and an Off-Broadway theatre, as well as the Shubert Theatre in Boston and the Forrest Theatre in Philadelphia. The Organization also manages The National Theatre in Washington, DC. The mission of The Shubert Foundation is to sustain and advance the live performing arts, in particular the American theatre, by supporting not-for-profit, producing theatre companies, as well as dance companies and other arts-related institutions that assist in the development of the theatre. The Shubert Foundation is the largest private foundation providing general operating support to America’s not-for-profit theatre and dance companies. In 2011 it supported 315 theatres and 68 dance companies. The Foundation’s steadily increasing allocation total hit a new high in 2011, with 449 organizations sharing grants of over $19 million. Grantees are large and small, urban and rural, with repertories ranging from classical to contemporary. Located in every region of the country, each plays a role in the evolution of the art form, the pursuit of artistic excellence and the encouragement of theatergoing.

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