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Michael John LaChiusa and Gretchen Shugart Are Being Honored by The Transport Group

Michael John LaChiusa and Gretchen Shugart Are Being Honored by The Transport Group
Queen of the Mist,Mary Testa

Queen of the Mist with Mary Testa

Transport Group, the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and OBIE Award-winning theatre company, has announced its annual gala Gimme a Break!, and will honor 5-Time Tony nominee Michael John LaChiusa and and its CEO Gretchen Shugart, on Monday, March 7, 2016 at the New York Times Center, 242 West 41st Street with the Transporting American Theatre Award for their significant contributions to the American Theatre. The evening will feature Broadway stars sharing their “big break” moments in story and song, as well as the award presentation, cocktail and dessert receptions and a silent auction. Past recipients of the Transporting American Theatre Award includes Barbara Whitman, Beth Williams, Sue Frost, Christian Borle, Paul Huntley, Douglas Carter Beane, Lewis Flinn, A.R. Gurney, Liz Smith, Barbara Frietag, Terrence McNally and Joe Mantello among others. Performers will be announced at a later date.  Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at

Hello Again

Hello Again

Michael John LaChiusa is an American musical theatre and opera composer, lyricist and librettist. He is a five-time Tony Award nominee for his score and book for both Marie Christine and The Wild Party and his libretto for Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Off-Broadway productions include Hello Again, See What I Wanna See, The Petrified Prince, Little Fish, Bernarda Alba, Queen of the Mist, Giant, First Lady Suite and First Daughter Suite.  Transport Group produced the first New York revivals of LaChiusa’s Hello Again (Off Broadway Alliance Award Winner, Drama League Award Nominee) and First Lady Suite (Drama Desk Award Nominee) and commissioned 2011’s Queen of the Mist starring Mary Testa for which LaChiusa received The Dramatists Guild’s Frederick Loewe Award for Dramatic Composition and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Off-Broadway Musical, as well as Drama Desk, Drama League, Lucille Lortel, and Off Broadway Alliance Award nominations. He has also written numerous compositions for opera, film and television. LaChiusa is an adjunct professor at the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He is currently working with Sybille Pearson on the world premiere musical Rain, to open at the Old Globe in San Diego in March. A film version of Hello Again starring Audra McDonald and Cheyenne Jackson is currently in development.

Gretchen Shugart

Gretchen Shugart

Gretchen Shugart is CEO of, Inc., a media and technology company serving the performing arts industry through, OvationTix, and UK-based TheaterMania and WhatsOnStage together have over 1.2 million email subscribers, and approximately 1.7 million monthly site visitors. OvationTix, the company’s proprietary ticketing, fundraising and CRM system is used by over 500 producing organizations across the U.S. Prior to her position at TheaterMania, Gretchen was President of eMediaCapital LLC, a boutique investment bank specializing in the media industry and held corporate finance positions at several large financial institutions, nearly all named JP Morgan Chase today. Gretchen graduated from New York University’s Stern School of Business. She is President of the Board of Directors of TheatreForward, a non-profit dedicated to advancing American theatre, serves as a mentor in Columbia University’s Master’s Program in Technology and serves on the overseers board of California Institute of the Arts.  Gretchen and her husband, Jon Maurer, have two grown children, Stephanie and Alexander.

Founded in 2001 by Jack Cummings III and Robyn Hussa, Transport Group has produced twenty-five shows comprised of thirteen new works and twelve revivals, including twelve plays and thirteen musicals.  In addition to mainstage productions, Transport Group also produces readings, developmental labs, concerts, and other special events.  During Transport Group’s first eight seasons, the company was in residence at The Connelly Theatre, a turn-of-the century proscenium theatre located in the East Village. Beginning with the 2009 – 2010 season, Transport Group began to explore environmental staging, performing works in non-traditional spaces such as a penthouse apartment, a commercial loft, and a gymnasium. Transport Group found an uptown home in The Duke on 42nd Street, where productions included the acclaimed one-man version of The Patsy starring David Greenspan and the New York premiere of the musical The Memory Show by Sara Cooper and Zach Redler.  In addition, Transport Group produced four productions at The Gym at Judson, housed within the historic Judson Memorial Church in the West Village.  Productions at that location included the world-premiere musical Lysistrata Jones by Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn which moved to Broadway in 2011, the world-premiere Queen of the Mist by Michael John LaChiusa, and a groundbreaking production of I Remember Mama featuring an ensemble cast of ten women in their 70s and 80s.  Transport Group’s most recent season was produced at Theatre 79 at New York Theatre Workshop, and at the 100-year-old proscenium Playhouse Theatre at Abrons Arts Center.

Once Upon a Mattress

Once Upon a Mattress

Currently headed by Jack Cummings III (Artistic Director) and Lori Fineman (Executive Director), Transport Group recently concluded the wildly successful run of Once Upon a Mattress, starring Jackie Hoffman and John “Lypsinka” Epperson. The 2015 season also included Three Days To See; an exploration of the extraordinary heart and mind of Helen Keller through her own writings. Our 2014 season began with the first critically acclaimed revival John Cariani’s modern classic Almost, Maine, the 2006 romantic comedy that explores the magical delicacy of finding and sharing real love.  Almost, Maine enjoyed an extended run with packed houses on a snow-laden set, and featured the play’s author, Tony Award-nominated actor John Cariani in the cast.  In March of 2014, New York responded with rapturous reviews, sold out performances, and multiple award nominations for the revival of the John Van Druten classic I Remember Mama.  Director Jack Cummings III envisioned John Van Druten’s 1944 play with an ensemble cast of ten women in their 70s and 80s, starring Drama Desk Award nominee Barbara Andres and Oscar and Tony nominee Barbara Barrie.  Also in 2014, Transport Group produced a sold-out, star-studded concert version of The Music Man, featuring 58 actors, and the original orchestrations performed by a 20-piece orchestra.  The Music Man: In Concert comes on the heels of past one-night-only sensations, including concert productions of Once Upon a Mattress, starring Jackie Hoffman and John “Lypsinka” Epperson, and Baby, featuring over 60 actors, hosted by original cast members Todd Graff and Liz Callaway.

Transport Group’s annual gala benefit Gimme a Break! will take place Monday, March 7th 2016 at the The New York Times Center, 242 West 41st St. VIP reception at 6:00pm, cocktail hour and silent auction at 6:30pm, performances and award presentation at 7:30pm. For tickets and for more information, visit


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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