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Tuesday, 08 March 2011 15:13

Playwrights Horizons Announces Details for Spring Gala Benefit A PLAY IN FORTY ACTS



“A Play in Forty Acts”











     NEW YORK, NY – Acclaimed Off-Broadway theater company Playwrights Horizons (Tim Sanford, Artistic Director; Leslie Marcus, Managing Director) will hold its annual Spring Gala Benefit on Monday evening, May 2nd  at 583 Park Avenue.  The company is currently celebrating its 40th Anniversary Season.

     Titled “A Play in Forty Acts”, the evening will honor Board Chair Judith O. Rubin for her 25 years at Playwrights Horizons.  It will also feature performances by Tony Award winner LaChanze (The Color Purple, at Playwrights Horizons in The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin and Once on this Island) and Tony Award nominees Stephen Bogardus (Love! Valour! Compassion!, at Playwrights Horizons in March of the Falsettos, Falsettoland, James Joyce’s The Dead and currently, Go Back to Where You Are),Chad Kimball (Memphis, at Playwrights Horizons in My Life with Albertine),Kelli O’Hara(South Pacific, The Light in the Piazza,at Playwrights Horizons in My Life with Albertine) and Mary Testa (Xanadu, 42nd Street,at Playwrights Horizons in The Wax, From Above, In Trousers and Lucky Stiff).

     Judith O. Rubin has served on the Board of Playwrights Horizons for 25 years.  Her passionate and peerless leadership has inspired trustees, staff members and artists alike, and has buoyed the organization through a multitude of challenges and triumphs.  Few have been as ardent in their enthusiasm, wise in their counsel and generous with their expertise and resources.  She has made the theater’s professional mission to champion American playwrights her personal mission and thousands of artists and audience members have benefitted in profound and significant ways. 

     The evening’s Artistic Co-Chairs will include nine notable Playwrights Horizons veterans: Edward Albee (Me, Myself & I in ’10), Annie Baker (Circle Mirror Transformation in ’09), Reed Birney (Gemini in ’76, An Imaginary Life in ’93, The Butterfly Collection in ‘00, Pen in ‘06, The Savannah

Disputation ‘09, Circle Mirror Transformation in ’09, A Small Fire in ’11), Adam Bock (The Drunken City in ‘08, A Small Fire in ‘11), Christine Ebersole (Grey Gardens in ‘06), Michael Greif (Spatter Pattern in ’04, Grey Gardens in ‘06), LaChanze (Once on This Island in ‘90, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin in ‘00, Inked Baby in ‘09), Kelli O’Hara (My Life with Albertine in ‘03), Richard Nelson (James Joyce’s The Dead in ’99, Franny’s Way in ’02, My Life with Albertine in ’03, Rodney’s Wife in ‘04, Frank’s Home in ‘07).

     Trustee Jide J. Zeitlin (Founder, The Keffi Group) will serve as Gala Benefit Board Chair. Laura S. Langford (Managing Director, UniCredit Bank AG) and John E. Langford  (Owner, GAA Books) will be Gala Benefit Patron Co-Chairs and Sam Gonzalez will be Gala Generation PH Chair.

     Cocktails and a Silent Auction will begin at 6PM, followed by dinner at 7:45 PM and the evening’s entertainment.  Complete details on the Silent Auction, including preliminary online bidding which will begin April 26 and run through May 18, will be announced in the coming weeks.

     Ticket prices for the Gala Benefit start at $800 and can be reserved by calling Michelle Kiefel at 212-564-1235 extension 3143.

     Currently in previews at Playwrights Horizons is the World Premiere of Bathsheba Doran’s KIN, directed by Sam Gold.  The production will open Monday, March 21 at Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theater as a limited engagement through Sunday, April 3.

    Currently in rehearsals is the World Premiere of GO BACK TO WHERE YOU ARE, a new play by David Greenspan, directed by Leigh Silverman.  It begins previews Thursday, March 24 at Playwrights Horizons Peter Jay Sharp Theater, opening Tuesday April 12 as a limited engagement through Sunday, May 1.

     The final production of the 2011/2012 Season will be THE SHAGGS: PHILOSOPHY OF THE WORLD, the New York premiere of a new musical with book by Joy Gregory; music by Gunnar Madsen; lyrics by Ms. Gregory & Mr. Madsen; and story by Ms. Gregory, Mr. Madsen & John Langs.  Directed by Mr. Langs, it will begin performances Thursday, May 12 at Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theater, opening Tuesday, June 7 as a limited engagement through Sunday, July 3.  THE SHAGGS is a co-production between Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop.


Playwrights Horizons, celebrating its 40th Anniversary Season, 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 40 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 four Pulitzer Prize winners: 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 Adam Bock’s A Small Fire, Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park and 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.

Judith O. Rubin (Chairman of the Board) served for eight years as a member of the National Council on the Arts of the NEA and for six years as a member of the board of Theatre Communications Group. In June, 2004 she completed three years as a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee and is now a member of the Advisory Board of the American Theatre Wing and of the Administration and the Rules Committees of the Tony Awards. She is a member of the New York State Council on the Arts, 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 has served on the Yale University Council Committee on Theater at Yale, and the Board of Regents of the State of New York, representing the First Judicial District (Manhattan). She is a director of the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation, and a trustee of The Mount Sinai Health System in New York and of its School of Medicine. She is a former trustee of Public Radio International, and the Center for Arts and Culture, a cultural policy think tank in Washington, D.C. She was Commissioner for Protocol for the City of New York during the four years of the Dinkins Administration and is a former president and chairman of the 92nd Street Y, a large cultural center in New York. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and is listed in Who’s Who of American Women.


LaChanze has appeared at Playwrights Horizons in Once on This Island (also on Broadway, Tony nomination), The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin and Inked Baby. Other Broadway: The Color Purple (Tony Award), Ragtime, Company, Dreamgirls, Uptown…It’s Hot!. Other Off-Broadway: Dessa Rose, The Vagina Monologues. Her film and television credits include Breaking Upwards, Heartbreak Hospital, For Love or Money, Leap of Faith, My New Gun, the Disney animated series “Hercules,” “Sex and the City,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Total Security,” “The Cosby Mysteries” and “The Cosby Show.” She has performed on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The View,” “The Rosie O'Donnell Show,” “Good Morning America,” “Live with Regis and Kelly” and “The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet,” among many others.

Stephen Bogardus is currently in rehearsals for the Playwrights Horizons production of David Greenspan’s Go Back to Where You Are. Also at PH: March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland (also in the combined Broadway production Falsettos), plus the Broadway transfer of James Joyce’s The Dead. Broadway: Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Old Acquaintance, Man of La Mancha, High Society, King David, Love! Valour! Compassion! (Tony nomination), The Grapes of Wrath, Les Misérables, West Side Story. Off-Broadway: Sweet Adeline, Allegro (City Center Encores!); Love! Valour! Compassion! (MTC); Genesis, Umbrellas of Cherbourg (NYSF); The Pavilion (Rattlestick). National tours: Show Boat, Chess. Film: Julie and Julia, Love! Valour! Compassion!, States of Control, Second Best. TV: “Eleventh Hour,” “Life,” “Without a Trace,” “Monk,” “Ed,” “Law & Order.”

Chad Kimball appeared at Playwrights Horizons in My Life with Albertine.  He is currently starring in the Tony Award-winning musical Memphis as Huey Calhoun, a role for which he received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations. He previously played the role at both Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse, where he was honored with the San Diego Critics Circle Award for Best Leading Male Performance in a Musical. His other Broadway credits include starring as John Lennon in Lennon, Good Vibrations, Into the Woods and Frank Wildhorn’s The Civil War. His other Off-Broadway appearances include Finian’s Rainbow (Irish Repertory Theatre) and Godspell (The York). Regional credits include Sweeney Todd, Baby and Little Fish. Chad won the Bistro Award for his solo concert at ARTS Nova, which he reprised at Joe’s Pub.

Kelli O’Hara appeared at Playwrights Horizons in My Life with Albertine.  She received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for her portrayal of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific at Lincoln Center Theater. Her other Broadway credits include The Pajama Game (Tony nomination) with Harry Connick Jr., The Light in the Piazza (Tony nomination), Follies, Sweet Smell of Success, Jekyll & Hyde and Dracula. Other recent credits include Encores! Bells Are Ringing, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady opposite Kelsey Grammer and Brian Dennehy (Avery Fisher Hall, NY Philharmonic), Sunday in the Park with George (Reprise) and a sold-out run at Café Carlyle. TV/film: two NBC pilots, “Alexander Hamilton” (PBS), “Numb3rs,” “All My Children,” the animated series “Car Talk” (PBS), Sex and the City 2, The Dying Gaul. Solo album: Wonder in the World on Ghostlight Records.

Mary Testa has appeared at Playwrights Horizons in The Wax, From Above (Obie Award), Lucky Stiff and In Trousers. Shehas been seen on Broadway in Guys and Dolls, Xanadu (Drama Desk nomination), 42nd Street (Tony nomination), Marie Christine, On the Town (Tony nomination), Chicago, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Rink, Marilyn-An American Fable and Barnum. Other Off-Broadway credits include Regrets Only (MTC); See What I Wanna See (Public Theater; Drama Desk and Drama League nominations); First Lady Suite (Drama Desk nomination); String of Pearls (Drama Desk nomination); and The Vagina Monologues. Her film and television credits include Eat Pray Love, The Bounty Hunter, Four Single Fathers, Stay, Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding, Sleepers, “Nurse Jackie,” “Life on Mars,” “Cashmere Mafia,” “Whoopi” and “Sex and the City.”

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