Titled “The Highest Standard”, the evening will celebrate its five Pulitzer Prize-winning productions and honor the creators of these memorable works for the theater. The honorees are James Lapine (Sunday in the Park with George), Bruce Norris (Clybourne Park), Stephen Sondheim (Sunday in the Park with George), Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy), Wendy Wasserstein (The Heidi Chronicles) and Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife).
The evening will consist of songs from Sunday in the Park with George, excerpts from the Pulitzer Prize-winning plays and tributes by those connected to the projects. Participating artists will be announced in the coming weeks.
Trustee Paul Travis (Managing Partner, Washington Square Partners) serves as Gala Board Chair. Scott C. McDonald (Senior Vice President, Condė Nast) is the Gala Patron Chair and Pauline Oudin (Managing Director, Sopexa) is the Gala Generation PH Chair.
Playwrights Horizons is a not-for-profit organization, and almost 40% of its annual budget is supported by donations from individuals and institutions. The Spring Gala is the organization’s largest fundraising event of the year, with donations earmarked to support six annual productions, the development of new plays and musicals, a Theatrical Residency Program and ticket subsidy initiatives. These programs cultivate the next generation of artists, arts managers and theatergoers.
Cocktails and a Silent Auction will begin at 6PM, followed by dinner at 7:45PM and the evening’s entertainment. Complete details on the Silent Auction and an online auction, which will begin on April 29 and run through May 14, will be announced in the coming weeks.
Ticket prices for the Gala start at $1,000 and can be reserved by calling Michelle Kiefel at 212-564-1235 extension 3143.
JAMES LAPINE won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama with Stephen Sondheim for the musical Sunday in the Park with George, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons and then transferred to Broadway. Among other awards, the production earned Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards and a Tony Award nomination, all for Best Musical. For his work, Mr. Lapine received Drama Desk Awards and Tony Award nominations for both Best Book and Best Direction. He has also written and/or directed the following shows at Playwrights Horizons: Table Settings, March of the Falsettos, Into the Woods (workshop), Falsettoland, The Moment When and Fran’s Bed.
BRUCE NORRIS won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Clybourne Park, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons. It also won the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Play in London. The original Playwrights Horizons production will open on Broadway this April. He was also represented at Playwrights Horizons with his play The Pain and the Itch.
STEPHEN SONDHEIM won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama with James Lapine for the musical Sunday in the Park with George, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons and then transferred to Broadway. Among other awards, the production earned Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards and a Tony Award nomination, all for Best Musical. For his score, Mr. Sondheim received a Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award nomination. His other work at Playwrights Horizons includes the original workshop for Into the Woods and the world premiere production of Assassins.
ALFRED UHRY won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Driving Miss Daisy, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons and then transferred to Off-Broadway’s John Houseman Theatre for a three year run. The film version won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as Best Picture, in 1990. The play made its Broadway debut last season and is currently playing in London’s West End starring James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave.
WENDY WASSERSTEIN (1950-2006) won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for her play The Heidi Chronicles, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons. It transferred to Broadway and also won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize; the New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards; and earned her a grant from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays. She also adapted it for TNT, earning a 1996 Emmy Award nomination for Best Television Movie. She was also represented at Playwrights Horizons by her play Isn’t It Romantic, which transferred to Off-Broadway’s Lucile Lortel Theatre for a nearly two-year run.
DOUG WRIGHT won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for his play I Am My Own Wife, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons. It transferred to Broadway and also won the Tony Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award, a GLAAD Media Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama League Award and a Lucille Lortel Award. Also at Playwrights Horizons, he wrote the book for the musical Grey Gardens, which transferred to Broadway and earned him Tony and Drama Desk nominations for Best Book. It also earned Tony and Drama Desk nominations for Best Musical.
Currently in previews at Playwrights Horizons is the New York Premiere of Dan LeFranc’s The Big Meal, directed by Sam Gold. The production will open Wednesday, March 21 at Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theater as a limited engagement through Sunday, April 22nd.
Also playing is the New York Premiere of Assistance, a new comedy by Leslye Headland, directed by Trip Cullman. It runs on Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage through Sunday, March 11.
The final production of the company’s 2011/2012 Season will be Rapture, Blister, Burn, the World Premiere of a new play by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Obie Award-winner Gina Gionfriddo. Directed by Peter DuBois, it will begin performances Friday, May 18 at Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theater, opening Tuesday, June 12 as a limited engagement through Sunday, June 24. Rapture, Blister, Burn was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons with funds from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. The Playwrights Horizons production of Clybourne Parkby Bruce Norris will begin performances on Broadway at The Walter Kerr Theater on Monday, March 26.
Playwrights Horizons is a writer’s theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American playwrights, composers and lyricists and to the production of their new work. Under the leadership of artistic director Tim Sanford and managing director Leslie Marcus, the theater company continues to encourage the new work of veteran writers while nurturing an emerging generation of theater artists. In its 41 years, Playwrights Horizons has presented the work of more than 375 writers and has received numerous awards and honors, including a special 2008 Drama Desk Award for “ongoing support to generations of theater artists and undiminished commitment to producing new work.” Notable productions include five Pulitzer Prize winners: Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park (soon to open on Broadway), Doug Wright’s I Am My Own Wife (2004 Tony Award, Best Play), Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles (1989 Tony Award, Best Play), Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park with George, as well as Bathsheba Doran’s Kin, Bruce Norris’ The Pain and the Itch, Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation (three 2010 Obie Awards including Best New American Play), Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I, Amy Herzog’s After the Revolution, Melissa James Gibson’s This (2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist), Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie’s Grey Gardens (three 2007 Tony Awards), Craig Lucas’s Prayer For My Enemy and Small Tragedy (2004 Obie Award, Best American Play), Adam Rapp’s Kindness, Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation (2005 Obie Award for Playwriting), Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero, David Greenspan’s She Stoops to Comedy (2003 Obie Award), Kirsten Childs’s The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (2000 Obie Award), Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey’s James Joyce’s The Dead, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins, William Finn’s March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, Christopher Durang’s Betty’s Summer Vacation and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Richard Nelson’s Goodnight Children Everywhere, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s Once on This Island, Jon Robin Baitz’s The Substance of Fire, Scott McPherson’s Marvin’s Room, A.R. Gurney’s Later Life, Adam Guettel and Tina Landau’s Floyd Collins and Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley’s Violet.
JAMES LAPINE has written and/or directed the following shows at Playwrights Horizons: Table Settings, March of the Falsettos, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods (workshop), Falsettoland, The Moment When and Fran’s Bed. In addition to Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods, he has also worked with Stephen Sondheim on Passion, Sondheim on Sondheim and directing the first revival of Merrily We Roll Along at La Jolla Playhouse. With William Finn he has worked on Falsettos, A New Brain, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the upcoming Little Miss Sunshine. Other Broadway credits: The Diary of Anne Frank, Golden Child and Amour. He has also written the plays Twelve Dreams; Luck, Pluck & Virtue; and Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing.
BRUCE NORRIS is the author of Clybourne Park, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons in 2010. Clybourne Park won the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards (London) for Best Play, 2010, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 2011. Other plays include The Infidel (2000), Purple Heart (2002), We All Went Down to Amsterdam (2003), The Pain and the Itch (2004) and The Unmentionables (2006), all of which had their premieres at Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago. His newest play, titled A Parallelogram, premiered there in July 2010. His work has also been seen at Playwrights Horizons (New York), Lookingglass Theatre (Chicago), Philadelphia Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Washington, D.C.) Staatstheater Mainz (Germany) and the Galway Festival (Ireland), among others. He is the recipient of the Steinberg Playwright Award (2009), and The Whiting Foundation Prize for Drama (2006) as well as two Joseph Jefferson Awards (Chicago) for Best New Work. As an actor he can be seen in the films A Civil Action and The Sixth Sense, and the recent All Good Things.
STEPHEN SONDHEIM wrote the music and lyrics for Sunday in the Park with George (1984) and Assassins (1991), both of which had their premieres at Playwrights Horizons. He also wrote music and lyrics for Saturday Night (1954) A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), The Frogs (1974), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Into the Woods (1987), Passion (1994) and Road Show (2008), as well as lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965) and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983), Putting It Together (1993/99), Moving On (2001) and Sondheim on Sondheim (2010) are anthologies of his work as composer and lyricist. For films, he composed the scores of Stavisky (1974), co-composed Reds (1981) and wrote songs for Dick Tracy (1990). He also wrote songs for the television production Evening Primrose (1966), co-authored the film The Last of Sheila (1973) and the play Getting Away with Murder (1996) and provided incidental music for the plays The Girls of Summer (1956), Invitation to a March (1961), Twigs (1971) and The Enclave (1973). Mr. Sondheim is on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, the national association of playwrights, composers and lyricists, and served as its president from 1973 to 1981. In 1981 he founded Young Playwrights Inc. to develop and promote the work of American playwrights ages 18 years and younger. His collected lyrics with attendant essays have been published in two volumes: Finishing the Hat (2010) and Look, I Made a Hat (2011).
ALFRED UHRY is distinguished as the only American playwright to have won a Pulitzer Prize, An Academy Award and two Tony Awards. A graduate of Brown University, Uhry began his professional career as a lyric writer under contract to the late Frank Loesser. In that capacity he made his Broadway debut in 1968 with Here’s Where I Belong. His first major success came when he collaborated with Robert Waldman on a musical adaptation of Eudora Welty’s The Robber Bridegroom, which opened at the Mark Taper Forum in 1976 and went on to Broadway, winning Mr Uhry his first Tony nomination. He followed that with five re-created musicals at the Goodspeed Opera House. His first play, Driving Miss Daisy opened at Playwrights Horizon in 1987. It moved to The John Houseman Theatre, where it ran for three years and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. The film version, starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1990. The film also won The Best Picture Award. Currently the play is in the West End, starring James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave. His next play, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, was commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. It opened on Broadway the next year where it ran for over 500 performances and won Uhry Tony, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League awards for Best Play. His book for the musical, Parade, directed by Harold Prince, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1999. A revised production at the Donmar Theatre in London won Mr. Uhry an Olivier Award nomination. More recent works include his play Without Walls (2006), his play Edgardo Mine (2006), his Broadway musical Lovemusik directed by Harold Prince (2007, Drama Desk nomination) and his theatre/dance piece, Angel Reapers created with Martha Clarke (2011). His latest play, Apples and Oranges, will be performed at Manhattan Theatre Club this year.
WENDY WASSERSTEIN’s (1950-2006) play The Heidi Chronicles (premiered at Playwrights Horizons in 1988) won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award, and Susan Smith Blackburn Prize; the New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards; and earned her a grant from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays. For The Sisters Rosensweig she received the 1993 Outer Critics Circle Award, a Tony Award nomination, and the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in American Theatre. Her other plays include Third, Old Money and An American Daughter (Lincoln Center Theater on Broadway); Uncommon Women and Others (Phoenix Theater); Isn’t It Romantic (Playwrights Horizons); a musical, Miami (with Jack Feldman and Bruce Sussman at Playwrights Horizons); Waiting for Philip Glass, included in Love’s Fire (The Acting Company); and Welcome to My Rash (Theater J). Wasserstein’s screenplays include The Object of My Affection. For PBS Great Performances she has written Kiss, Kiss Darling; Drive, She Said; adaptations of John Cheever’s The Sorrows of Gin, and her own Uncommon Women and Others. She adapted The Heidi Chronicles for TNT (1996 Emmy nomination for Best Television Movie) and An American Daughter for Lifetime Television. Her adaptation of The Nutcracker was performed at The American Ballet Theatre at The Met, and her adaptation of The Merry Widow premiered at San Francisco Opera. She was the librettist for the original operas Festival of Regrets: Central Park (Glimmerglass Opera, NYCO) and Best Friends, both with composer Deborah Drattell. She wrote Pamela’s First Musical, a children’s book, which she adapted with Cy Coleman into a musical. Her other books include the novel Elements of Style, the essay collections Shiksa Goddess(Or How I Spent My Forties) and Bachelor Girls, and Sloth. She taught at Columbia University, NYU, Julliard School and Princeton University, and held an Honorary Doctorate from Mount Holyoke College. She started The Open Doors Program, which brings NYC Public High School students to plays accompanied by professional theatre artists. The program is run by the Theatre Development Fund in New York.
DOUG WRIGHT received Tony and Drama Desk nominations for his book for the Broadway musical Grey Gardens which had its premiere at Playwrights Horizons in 2006. His play, I Am My Own Wife (Playwrights Horizons, 2003), was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award, a GLAAD Media Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama League Award, and a Lucille Lortel Award in 2004. Earlier in his career, Mr. Wright won an Obie Award for outstanding achievement in playwriting and the Kesselring Award for Best New American Play for Quills. He went on to write the screenplay adaptation; the film was named Best Picture by the National Board of Review and nominated for three Academy Awards. His screenplay was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, and received the Paul Selvin Award from the Writer’s Guild of America. For director Rob Marshall, Doug penned the television special Tony Bennett: An American Classic, which received seven Emmy Awards. For career achievement, Mr. Wright was cited with an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Tolerance Prize from the KulturForum Europa. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Writer’s Guild of America, East, the Screen Actors Guild and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Directing credits include Kiki and Herb: Pardon Our Appearance in Washington DC, Philadelphia and London, and his own adaptation of August Strindberg's Creditors at La Jolla Playhouse. Acting credits include the films Little Manhattan and Two Lovers, and the television show “Law & Order.” His most recent Broadway credit was The Little Mermaid for the Walt Disney Company.
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