Ann Bowers, NASA's Dr. Natalie Batalha, Randi Zuckerberg Set for THEATREWORKS LEADING LADIES Today

Randi Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media
and Editor-in-Chief of Dot Complicated. Photo by Delbarr Moradi.

A trailblazing pioneer at the nexus of technology, a celebrated NASA mission scientist, and a digital media marketing visionary will take center stage at TheatreWorks Leading Ladies, an event celebrating the confluence of arts and innovation in Silicon Valley.

This extraordinary afternoon will include a luncheon, during which attendees have an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with fellow Silicon Valley powerhouses and hear keynote speeches, followed by a private performance of SILENT SKY, the biographical play by leading new American playwright Lauren Gunderson about a bold female astronomer who helped crack cosmology at the turn of the 20th century.

Keynote speakers at this event will be Ann Bowers, first Director of Personnel for Intel Corporation, first Vice President of Human Resources for Apple Computer, and consultant to myriad start-ups; Dr. Natalie Batalha, Science Team Lead for NASA's Kepler Mission; and Randi Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media and Editor-in-Chief of Dot Complicated. The event is co-chaired by Jenny Dearborn, Chief Learning Officer, Success Factors, an SAP company, and Lauren Gunderson, one of the country's hottest rising new playwrights as well as a leading speaker on science and the arts.

TheatreWorks Leading Ladies takes place today, February 8, 2014 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View. For tickets and information, the public may visit or call 650.463-7159.

For this starry fundraiser, guests are invited to participate at the Supernova ($25,000), Celestial ($10,000), Galactic ($5,000), Star-Struck ($3,000), or Cosmic ($1,000) sponsor levels. Individual tickets are available for $150. Sponsors receive blocks of seats to TheatreWorks Leading Ladies for guests, as well as tickets donated to the women's group or charity of their choice, plus other gifts including a copy of the SILENT SKY script signed by the author and TheatreWorks cast. All guests will receive a copy of Randi Zuckerberg's new book Dot Complicated and all proceeds of the event benefit TheatreWorks programs that support new works and new voices: from bringing developing productions to the stage to education programs, such as the Young Playwrights Project.

SILENT SKY tells the true story of Henrietta Leavitt, who headed to Harvard in 1893 to study the stars, eventually making a groundbreaking discovery that would become the basis for the pivotal work of Edwin Hubble. In an age of women's suffrage and international uncertainty, Leavitt mapped her own journey through a rigid society determined to keep a woman "in her place." During her career, Leavitt discovered over 2,400 variable stars, roughly half the known total in that era. Playwright Lauren Gunderson has received national acclaim for her extensive body of work and is recipient of the Berrilla Kerr Award for American Theatre, Global Age Project Young Playwright's Award, Eric Bentley New Play Award, and Essential Theatre Prize; she received a Sloan Science Script Award (2008) for her screenplay Grand Unification and she has spoken nationally and internationally on the intersection of science and theatre and Arts Activism.

Henrietta Leavitt laid the groundwork for strong, accomplished women of future generations, including the keynote speakers of TheatreWorks Leading Ladies inaugural event. Ann Bowers, Natalie Batalha, Randi Zuckerberg, as well as playwright Lauren Gunderson - leaders in their respective fields - have all reached for the stars and grasped them.

Ann Bowers served as the first Director of Personnel for Intel Corporation, the first President of Human Resources for Apple Computer, and has been consultant to myriad start-ups. She served as Chairperson of the Silicon Valley Joint Venture Education Initiative and was instrumental in a challenge to Silicon Valley schools to redesign themselves for the 21st century. Ms. Bowers is the founding trustee and head of the Noyce Foundation which focuses on improving math and science education in the U.S. She is a trustee emerita for Cornell University, sits on the University's President's Council, and is Chair of the Cornell Silicon Valley Advisory Board. She was a trustee at Santa Clara University for 20 years and also served on the board and executive committee of the Exploratium. She is a founding board member of Music@Menlo, served as Chairperson of the Tech Museum of Innovation until January 2013, and currently sits on its executive committee.

Dr. Natalie Batalha is a research astronomer in the Space Sciences Division of NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, and is the Kepler Mission Science Team Lead. She started her career as a stellar spectroscopist studying young, sun-like stars. Inspired by the growing number of exoplanet discoveries, she joined the team led by William Broucki at NASA Ames Research Center, working on transit photometry - an emerging technology for finding exoplanets. Dr. Batalha has been involved with the Kepler Mission since the proposal stage, and as one of the original Co-Investigators was responsible for the selection of the more than 150,000 stars the spacecraft monitors. She led the analysis that yielded the discovery last year of the Kepler 10b - the first rocky planet orbiting another sun-like star in our galaxy. Now in its fourth year of operation, Kepler is zeroing in on the answer to the question that drives the mission: are potentially habitable worlds abundant in our galaxy?

Randi Zuckerberg is the Founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, a digital and traditional media and Production Company, and Editor-in-Chief of Dot Complicated, an online community helping people navigate and "untangle" their wired, wonderful lives. In the Fall of 2013 she released two books with HarperCollins: Dot Complicated, an adult non-fiction book that addresses the multifaceted complications of our socially transparent world, and a children's book titled Dot. As an early marketing executive at Facebook, she created and ran the social media pioneer's marketing programs. She led the company's U.S. election and international politics strategy and created Facebook's live-streaming initiatives during the 2008 Presidential Inauguration. Ms. Zuckerberg was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2011 for her innovative coverage of the 2010 mid-term elections that integrated online and TV in unique formats. Since starting Zuckerberg Media, she has produced shows and digital content for BeachMint, the Clinton Global Initiative, Cirque du Soleil, the United Nations, Bravo, and Conde Nast.

Since its inception in 1970, TheatreWorks has produced hundreds of productions that celebrate the human spirit, including 62 world premieres and over 140 regional premieres, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast from across the country. The company's New Works Initiative has cemented its national reputation as a leader in the development of new plays and musicals for the American stage. TheatreWorks provides education programs to more than 35,000 students each year through TheatreWorks for Schools, and with its Healing Project provides arts therapy to patients at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

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