The Drama League (Artistic Director, Gabriel Stelian-Shanks; Executive Director, Bevin Ross) has revealed some of the artists who will be honoring Sutton Foster at the organization’s 36th Annual Benefit Gala this fall. The black-tie evening honoring Foster — a two-time Tony Award, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Fred Astaire, and Gracie Award winner and star of TV Land’s hit television series “Younger” — will take place on Monday, October 28, 2019 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in New York City at The Plaza (768 Fifth Avenue).
Celebrating Sutton Foster’s career onstage and screen, including her upcoming star turn in The Music Man coming to Broadway in 2020, the gala features a one-night-only musical tribute in Foster’s honor. The star-studded program will include appearances by Joel Grey, Jonathan Groff, Beth Leavel, Brandon Victor Dixon, Laura Osnes, Jelani Alladin, Miriam Shor, Peter Hermann, Megan McGinnis, Leigh Silverman, and Jeanine Tesori, with more to be announced.
Drama League Directors Project alum Laura Brandel directs this year’s gala program, with Music Direction by David Evans and Choreography by Leah Hofmann. The 36th Annual Benefit Gala is produced by Drama League Artistic Line Producer Ali Skye Bennet and Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, with Assistant Producer Shannon Corenthin and Production Manager Sean Gorski. The creative team also includes Stephanie Card (assistant director), Timothy Huang(additional lyrics), Terri K. Kohler (production stage management), Whitney Locher (costume design), Nick Kolin (lighting design), Mike Tracey (sound design), and Lisa Renkel (video design).
Past Drama League Benefit Galas have included appearances by such artists as Liza Minnelli, Santino Fontana, Matthew Broderick, Susan Stroman, Carol Kane, Kevin Kline, Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Colbert, Harry Connick, Jr., Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth, Angela Lansbury, Tony Bennett, Nick Jonas, Kermit the Frog, and casts of Broadway’s hottest musicals. For information about journal ads or tickets, which include tables for ten and individual seats, please call (212) 244-9494, ext. 101 or visit www.dramaleague.org.
Sceneworks Studios is Sponsor of the 2019 Drama League Benefit Gala. Art Lab LLC is a Supporter of the 2019 Benefit Gala. MAC Cosmetics is the Official Make-Up Partner of The Drama League. The 2019 Drama League Benefit Gala Chairs are Mary Jain and Joseph Pizza. Leadership support for the 2019 Benefit Gala is also provided by its Vice Chairs: Anna May & Tim Feige, Meg Fofonoff of Art Lab LLC, Kathy & Ken Henderson, Una Jackman & Jay Alix, Stan Ponte & John Metzner, Iris Smith, and JoAnn & John Weisel. The Benefit Gala Committee members are Bonnie Comley & Stewart F. Lane, Bill Damaschke, Leslie C. Feldman, The Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts, and Sotheby’s International Realty.
The Drama League Benefit Gala raises funds to support the organization’s programming and educational initiatives, including The Drama League Directors Project. This award-winning initiative, which began in 1984 and to date has over 300 alumni, has been instrumental in launching the careers of many acclaimed theater directors including Tony Award winners Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown), Rebecca Taichman (Indecent), Christopher Ashley (Come From Away), Sam Gold (Fun Home), Diane Paulus (Waitress; Jagged Little Pill), Pam MacKinnon (The Parisian Woman), Michael Mayer (Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Burn This), and John Rando (Gettin’ The Band Back Together); Tony Award nominees Alex Timbers (Beetlejuice; Moulin Rouge! The Musical); Mark Brokaw (Heisenberg), and Moritz von Steulpnagel (Present Laughter); as well as OBIE and Emmy Award winners Lila Neugebauer (The Waverly Gallery), Anne Kaufmann(Marvin’s Room), Lear deBessonet, and R.J. Cutler, to name a few. Drama League Directors have been honored with Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Obie, Peabody, Drama Desk, GLAAD, Drama League, New York Drama Critics Circle, Outer Critics, Evening Standard, Lucille Lortel, Bessie, Princess Grace, Garland, Drama-Logue, Barrymore, Helen Hayes, Elliot Norton, and Joseph Jefferson Awards, and have directed films and plays that received Academy Award nominations and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The Drama League of New York advances the American theater by providing a life-long artistic home for directors and a platform for dialogue with, and between, audiences. Since 1916, The Drama League has been at the forefront of the American theater community, with initiatives to promote artistic development and audience engagement. It is one of the nation’s oldest continuously-operating, not-for-profit arts advocacy and education organizations. Through its programming, The Drama League serves over 3,000 artists and 15,000 audience members each season with over 150 events and programs.
For additional information about The Drama League and upcoming events, please visit the website at www.dramaleague.org, call (212) 244-9494, or e-mail email@example.com. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dramaleague and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dramaleague.
Jelani Alladin, a Brownsville, Brooklyn native, most recently starred as Hercules in Public Work’s Musical Adaptation of Disney’s Hercules. He made his Broadway Debut in Frozen the Musical as Kristoff which earned him a Drama Desk nomination for Best Leading Actor and a Drama League nomination for Distinguished Performance. Jelani is a graduate of the inaugural class of Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio on Broadway. Off-Broadway credits include Sweetee (Signature Theatre Company), Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope (York Theatre Company), and Nassim (Barrow Street Theatre). Regional credits include I and You (TheatreSquared), Violet (Clarence Brown Theatre), The History Boys (Palmbeach Dramaworks) and Choir Boy (Studio Theatre of DC and Marin Theatre Company). Jelani received the San Francisco Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Leading Actor In A Play for his work as Pharus in Choir Boy. His past film credits include I Didn’t Come Here to Make Love, High Noon on the West Side and One Hit Wonder.
Brandon Victor Dixon, following his Tony Award-nominated performance in Shuffle Along on Broadway, joined the cast of Hamilton on Broadway in the role of Aaron Burr, and the STARZ hit drama “POWER” in the role of Terry Silver. A Presidential Scholar Semi-finalist and scholarship winner at the British Academy of Dramatic Acting, Brandon is a graduate of Columbia University and received the I.A.L Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. Since his professional debut originating the role of Adult Simba in The Lion King National Tour (Cheetah), Brandon has displayed diverse abilities in a number of roles. Notably, he was nominated for a Tony Award for his role as Harpo in Broadway’s The Color Purple, a Grammy for his portrayal of Berry Gordy inMotown The Musical, and he was nominated for Olivier, Drama Desk, Lortel, OCC, Drama League, and AUDELCO awards for his portrayal of Haywood Patterson in The Scottsboro Boys. In the past two years, Brandon has spent his time producing new pieces and performing in concerts and benefits with fellow artists such as Jennifer Hudson, Nathan Lane, Wynton Marsalis, Chita Rivera, Liza Minnelli, Matthew Brodason, David Hyde Pierce, Levi Kries, and Kelli O’Hara. Other Credits include: “One Life To Live”, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”, and “The Good Wife”. Originally from Gaithersburg, Maryland, Brandon currently resides in New York City.
Joel Grey is best known for his Tony and Academy Award-winning performance as the Emcee inCabaret, is the multi-award-nominated director of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, and is a co-director of the Tony Award-winning production of The Normal Heart. Other Broadway credits include George M, Chicago, Wicked, and Anything Goes. Joel is also an internationally exhibited photographer with five published books, and his work is part of the permanent collection of The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Jonathan Groff’s credits include Off-Broadway: Little Shop of Horrors (Westside Theatre), Spring Awakening (Atlantic), Hair (Delacorte), Prayer For My Enemy (Playwrights Horizons; Obie Award),The Singing Forest (The Public), The Bacchae (Delacorte), The Submission+ (MCC), Hamilton (The Public). Broadway: Hamilton (Tony nomination), Spring Awakening (Tony, Drama Desk, and Drama League Award nominations), In My Life. Regional: Red (Mark Taper Forum), The Sound of Music(Bus and Truck National Tour). West End: Deathtrap. Film and TV: Frozen, Taking Woodstock_, “Mindhunter,” “Looking,” “Boss,” “The Normal Heart”, “Glee.”.
Peter Hermann stars as Charles Brooks on TV Land’s hit romantic comedy “Younger”, which returns for a seventh season in 2020. Credits include performances on Broadway in Talk Radio and the Tony-Award winning Lincoln Center production of War Horse, the critically acclaimed film United 93, and a recurring role on NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” for the last eighteen seasons. He is the author of “If the S in MOOSE Comes Loose,” his first children’s book from HarperCollins, with illustrations by Caldecott winner Matthew Cordell. A graduate of Yale University, he was a charter member of the Teach For America Teaching Corps. Peter lives in New York with his wife, Mariska Hargitay, and their three children.
Beth Leavel was nominated for a 2019 Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critic’s Circle award for her performance in the Broadway show The Prom. Tony, Drama Desk, OCC, LA Drama Critics Awards winner for her performance as the title role in The Drowsy Chaperone. Other Broadway: Baby It’s You (Tony, Drama Desk, OCC nominations), Bandstand, Elf, Mamma Mia!, Young Frankenstein, 42nd St, Crazy For You, The Civil War, Showboat. Numerous television, commercial, and off-Broadway credits. MFA UNC-G. Proud mom to T.J. and Sam, and helplessly in love with Adam Heller. Grateful to the BRS/GAGE family.
Megan McGinnis is currently touring North America with Come From Away. She recently completed the Off-Broadway run of Daddy Long Legs, originating the role of Jerusha Abbott, both nationally and internationally (Ovation Award, Jeff Nomination, London What’s On Stage Nomination). Broadway: Side Show (Revival, Standby Daisy/Violet), Les Miserables (Revival, Eponine), Little Women (Beth), Beauty and the Beast (Belle), Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Diary of Anne Frank, and Parade. Film/TV: Anywhere But Here, A Goofy Movie, “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (upcoming recurring), “Dear John,” “Sister, Sister,” “Wings,” and “Blossom” (recurring). Recordings: Daddy Long Legs, Little Women, Parade, Sutton Foster’s Wish (the duet “Flight”) andTake Me to the World.
Miriam Shor currently stars alongside Sutton Foster in the hit TV Land series “Younger.” Shor appeared in the final season of FX’s “The Americans” and earned a 2018 SAG Award nomination alongside the ensemble cast. Shor will next be seen in the FX miniseries “Mrs. America.” Shor played Cricket Caruth-Reilly on ABC’s “GCB” and had roles in “Then Came You”, “Inside Schwartz”, “Big Day”, and “Swingtown”. Shor appeared on multiple seasons of the FX drama “Damages,” the HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce,” and had a recurring role in “The Good Wife.” On Broadway, Shor originated the role of Yitzhak in John Cameron Mitchell’s rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch and subsequently reprised her role in his 2001 film adaptation. Having gone back to her theatre roots many times, Shor has worked with renowned artists such as Stephen Sondheim, Terrence McNally and Lanford Wilson. In 2016, Shor co-starred in the Public Theater’s Sweat by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, which was Tony nominated for best play. In film, Shor will next be seen in the Netflix drama “Lost Girls,” directed by Liz Garbus.
Leigh Silverman’s shows with Sutton Foster include: Violet (Encores and Roundabout); Tony nomination; Sweet Charity (New Group) and The Wild Party (Encores). This season’s credits include Soft Power (Public Theater) and Grand Horizons (Williamstown and Hayes). Other Broadway credits include Lifespan of a Fact, Chinglish, and Well. Silverman received a 2019 OBIE for Sustained Excellence.
Jeanine Tesori is an award-winning composer of musical theatre and opera. Along with Missy Mazzoli, Ms. Tesori is one of the first female composers commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. Broadway: Fun Home (Tony Award, Pulitzer finalist); Caroline, or Change (Olivier Award); Violet;Shrek; Thoroughly Modern Millie; Twelfth Night; A Free Man of Color. The Public: Mother Courage. Opera: Blue (Libretto, Tazewell Thompson); A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck (Tony Kushner); The Lion, The Unicorn and Me (J.D. McClatchy); Grounded (George Brant). Supervising Vocal Producer for Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. Founding Artistic Director: Encores! Off-Center. Lecturer: Yale University.