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Theater for the New City Announces 19th Annual Love 'n Courage Gala

"Love 'n Courage" will be hosted by songwriter/playwright/performer Phoebe Legere.

Theater for the New City Announces 19th Annual Love 'n Courage Gala

Theater for the New City's Emerging Playwrights Program will be beneficiary of the theater's 19th annual Love 'n Courage benefit Monday, February 14, 2022 at The Players, 16 Gramercy Park South. The evening honors Austin Pendleton, Drama Desk and Obie winner, Tony Award nominated actor, playwright, theater director and teacher.

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, ten 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 52 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. Once the play is selected, 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 since Covid began, TNC has added streaming capabilities.

"Love 'n Courage" will be hosted by songwriter/playwright/performer Phoebe Legere. Performers and speakers will include Ms. Legere, Crystal Field, David Amram, an excerpt from "Good Morning" by Anne Lucas, The Yip Harburg Rainbow Troupe, Bill Zeffiro, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Gregory Nissen, Glitter Kitty, TNC's Street Theater Company, an excerpt from "Turnaround" by choreographer Akiko Tokuoka, The Legendary Amaz'n Grace and a scene from "The Dark Outside" by Bernard Kops featuring Austin Pendleton with Katharine Cullison. Human Kinetics Movement Arts will perform during the cocktail hour.

The benefit committee includes Mary Tierney (Chair), F. Murray Abraham, David Amram, Tom Attea, Alexander Bartenieff, Vinie Burrows, Charles Busch, Janet Cooper-Piontek, Myrna Duarte, Carol Dudgeon, Crystal Field, Matthew Fitzgerald, Andrea Fulton, Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Robert Gonzales, Jr., Robert Greer, Philip Hackett, Alan Hanna, Deena & Ernie Harburg, Celia Kornfeld, Anne Lucas, Eduardo Machado, Nancy Manocherian, Mark Marcante, Audrey Heffernan Meyer, Louis Mofsie, Lissa Moira, Stephan Morrow, Richard Ploetz, Council Member Carlina Rivera, Tim Robbins, Liana Rosario, Michael Scott-Price, Edward Shea, Jonathan Slaff, David F. Slone, Esq., Founder 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 7:00 PM. Performances begin at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $200 (individuals) and $1750 for a table of ten, available online at For info call (212) 254-1109. Credit card payments will be accepted by TNC on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Checks and online payments are accepted any time. RSVP by February 7. Festive dress, proof of vaccination and mask wearing are all basic parts of the evening's festivities.

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