Ford's Theatre Annual Gala Celebrates President Lincoln's Legacy With Performances & More

The event featured Brian Stokes Mitchell, Bernadette Peters and more.

By: Jun. 10, 2024
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Ford's Theatre Annual Gala Celebrates President Lincoln's Legacy With Performances & More Ford's Theatre Society celebrated the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln at its Annual Gala on Sunday evening, June 9, 2024, at Ford's Theatre. For more than 40 years, the Society has hosted this bipartisan event, which provides crucial support to the non-profit's theatrical and educational programs.

“What helps ensure the continued success of Ford's Theatre Society is that Abraham Lincoln's wide-reaching appeal and the hope and promise of bridging divides in American life is at its heart,” said Ford's Theatre Director Paul R. Tetreault. “This year, as we look forward to completing the expansion of our campus, we're thankful for our supporters who have made it possible for Lincoln's legacy to be explored through learning, connection and meaningful dialogue.”

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Lincoln Medal to The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Emerita of the U.S. House, by Broadway legend Bernadette Peters, and to philanthropist and co-founder, CEO and Chairman of Blackstone, Stephen A. Schwarzman, by Olympic Gold Medalist Valarie Allman. The recipients, through their achievements and personal attributes, exemplify the lasting legacy of Abraham Lincoln.

The event at historic Ford's Theatre included memorable performances such as “Feeling Good” performed by host Brian Stokes Mitchell, “Children Will Listen” from Into the Woods performed by Bernadette Peters, “Over the Rainbow” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with the Ford's Ensemble performed by Josh Groban, “Coal Miner's Daughter” performed by rising country star Emmy Russell and “My Favorite Things” with the Ford's Ensemble performed by Susan Egan.

The gala performance was followed by a seated dinner at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum.

First Lady Jill Biden served as the honorary chair of the gala celebration. Honorary co-chairs were Rima Al-Sabah, Eva Al-Thani, Abigail P. Blunt, Marcia Carlucci, Hon. Elaine L. Chao, Dianne Cleaver, Sandy Cornyn, Hon. Deborah I. Dingell, Robin Hickenlooper, Ghada Raslan Irani, Marcia Jackson, Kennisandra Jeffries, Kelly Johnson, Ritu Ahuja Khanna, May Liang, Frances R. Lindner, Marlene A. Malek, Dr. Susan J. Blumenthal Markey, Catherine Merrill, Noémi K. Neidorff, Kelley Paul, Vicki Risch, Doreen M. Spiegel, Hon. Michael R. Turner and Iris Weinshall.

The Ford's Theatre Annual Gala benefits the Ford's Theatre Society and its programming, including Ford's Theatre theatrical and education initiatives. This event is made possible by the generous support of lead underwriter General Dynamics. Ford's Theatre gratefully acknowledges Ovation and Up Entertainment as the Red Carpet Sponsors, Marlene A. Malek and the Malek Family Charitable Trust and Eric and Wendy Schmidt as the 2024 Lincoln Medal Sponsors and Alston & Bird LLP as the Lincoln Medal Dinner Sponsor. Ford's Theatre extends a special thanks to Stu Schreiberg and Center Drive Media for the production of the 2024 Lincoln Medalist tribute videos.

The Lincoln Medal, first bestowed in 1981 to Senator Milton R. Young, is an annual award given by the Ford's Theatre Society to a person or persons who, through their body of work, accomplishments or personal attributes, exemplify the lasting legacy and mettle of character embodied by the most beloved president in our nation's history, President Abraham Lincoln.

Past recipients of the Lincoln Medal include actress Rita Moreno and philanthropist Marlene A. Malek (2023); General Colin L. Powell and Alma J. Powell, political humorist Mark Russell (2019); philanthropist and businesswoman Sheila C. Johnson (2018), golf champion Jack Nicklaus (2018); former NFL player Peyton W. Manning (2017), civil rights activist Diane Nash (2016); Former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice (2015); Congressman John Lewis (2007); Congressman John D. Dingell (2014); Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel (2012); human rights activist Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (2010) and Justice Albie Sachs (2010); filmmaker George Lucas (2009); actors James Earl Jones (2014), Ruby Dee (2008) and Sidney Poitier (2009); Dr. Maya Angelou (2008); singer Aretha Franklin (2009); and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (2008).

Ford's Theatre Annual Gala Celebrates President Lincoln's Legacy With Performances & More


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