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My View: Virtual Great Time at Primary Stages 2020 Gala

Primary Stages held their 2020 Virtual Gala last night and the new norm is “dressing up” and attending from a computer or Smart TV.   There was also a VIP Reception hosted by Jamie deRoy but you had to BYOB. The Gala honored the dedicated NYC Public School teachers and Drama Desk-nominated lyricist/composer Adam Gwon.  Andrew Leynse, Artistic Director, Shane D. Hudson, Executive Director, and Casey Childs, Founder, had previously announced the event would take place Virtually and be hosted by Emmy Award-winning comedian Judy Gold.    

Primary Stages also had announced that Adam Gwon was to be the recipient of the 2020 Einhorn Mentorship Award. Adam has been teaching lyric writing with ESPA (Primary Stages’ Einhorn School of Performing Arts) for 10 years. The Einhorn Mentorship Award is awarded each year to a someone in the Primary Stages community who has been a true mentor and inspiration to their students or those who work with them. Past recipients include Jeanine Tesori, Kimberly Senior and Judy Gold.

The Virtual Gala featured performances and tributes by Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime; Once on This Island), Deborah S. Craig (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; “The Blacklist”), Santino Fontana (Tootsie; Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella), Jessica Hershberg (Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella; Baby It’s You), Troy Iwata (Be More Chill; The Boy Who Danced On Air), Jay Armstrong Johnson (Scotland, PA; On The Town), Ciara Renée (Frozen; “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”) and more surprise guests.

Funds raised from this event will support Primary Stages’ free educational programing for NYC public school students. A VIP reception for event sponsors preceded the gala and was  hosted by MAC Award winner Jamie deRoy.

The Gala Benefit Committee included Sue Breger, Chair; Jamie deRoy; Arlene Goldman; Eleanor Holtzman; Carol Roaman; and Mary Susnjara.

Judy Gold
Lynn Ahrens
Adam Gwon
Jay Armstrong Johnson
Jessica Hershberg & Santino Fontana
Troy Iwata
Deborah S. Craig
Ciara Renee
Jamie deRoy & Stephen Sorokoff
Andrew Leynse, Artistic Director
Dean Carpenter
VIP Reception


Stephen studied at the Manhattan School of Music. Besides being a pianist, Stephen’s business career was in the Fashion Industry. He was CEO of a textile manufacturing facility and President of an international textile machinery company. Stephen was on the Board of Directors of the “First All Children’s Theatre” which brought the Stephen Schwartz musical The Trip and Captain Louie to the Kennedy Center in Wash DC. His wife Eda, an interior space designer and classical pianist was on the Board of Barrington Stage Company and is still active at BSC. Stephen’s photographs, videos and articles appear on, and The New York Observer. He is active in the entertainment events at the Friars Club, where he is a member. Stephen is also an Honorary Board Member of The Society For The Preservation of The Great American Songbook. Stephen

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