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La Femme Theatre Productions presents the revival of Tennessee William’s A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, directed by Austin Pendleton. After staging a string of successful co-productions with top Off-Broadway theater companies, La Femme is thrilled to debut its first solo production. Performances begin on September 14 and run through October 21, 2018, with opening night on September 23 at Theatre at the St. Clement’s (423 West 46th St). A fitting venue for this production, St. Clement’s was founded by Tennessee William’s cousin, Reverend Sidney Lanier. Tickets are $55 – $99 and can be purchased by visiting LaFemmeTheatreProductions.org or by calling (866) 811-4111.

In Tennessee Williams’s unique tragicomedy, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, four women in Depression-era St. Louis live and work together in a valiant effort to stave off loneliness and despair. And, along the way, they uncover false idols — and maybe even themselves.

Clive Barnes of the New York Post said, “This is not your usual Tennessee tourist trip. But it is sweet, honest, compassionate, different.”

Cast includes Kristine Nielsen (Broadway: Present Laughter, You Can’t Take It With You, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike -Tony nomination), Annette O’Toole (TV:  “Smallville,” “Man from Nebraska,” “The Kennedys of Massachusetts”- Emmy, Golden Globe nom; NY: Southern Comfort –Lucille Lortel award, Drama Desk and Drama League nom), Jean Lichty (NY: The Traveling Lady, Nora, A Loss of Roses), Polly McKie (NY: The Home Place, A Day by the Sea. Film: Unsane).

“I think some of the late plays of Tennessee’s are some of his best.  I think he strikes out in many bold, gentle, brave, funny and very touching directions in these plays.  And I think that ‘A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur’ is one of the gentlest, funniest, loveliest, and most moving of Tennessee’s later plays — actually of all his plays. And they could not be better served than by our brilliant cast. These women know all about acting, about Tennessee, about life and the idea of all four of them together makes me tingle.” Director, Austin Pendleton

Creative team includes Harry Feiner (Set and Lighting Designer), Beth Goldenberg (Costume Designer), Leah Loukas (Wig and Hair Design), Carrie Mossman (Prop Designer), Amy Stoller (Dialect Designer and Dramaturg), Ron Piretti (Fight Director), Stephanie Klapper (Casting Director), Gary Levinson (Production Manager), Marci Skolnik (Production Stage Manager), and Lisa Dozier King (General Manager).

La Femme Theatre Productions is an all-inclusive theater company dedicated to the exploration and celebration of the universal female experience. La Femme launched in 2014 as an associate producer of William Inge’s lost gem, A Loss of Roses,(featuring Deborah Hedwall and Patricia Hodges), which Terry Teachout called “a triumphant exhumation” and included in the Wall Street Journal’s “2014 Best Theater”. La Femme then co-produced Clifford Odets’s Rocket to the Moon (featuring Katie McClellan, Marilyn Matarrese, Ned Eisenberg, Larry Bull, and Jonathan Hadary – Drama Desk nomination), Ingmar Bergman’s Nora, and last season’s Off-Broadway hit – Horton Foote’s The Traveling Lady (featuring Tony Award nominee Karen Ziemba and Lynn Cohen).

Austin Pendleton (Director) B.A. Yale University, 1961; studied acting in NY with Herbert Berghof, Uta Hagen and Robert Lewis. Apprenticed at Williamstown Theatre Festival; Acting: IVANOV (CSC), Rosmersholm (Pearl Theatre), The Last Will, Love Drunk and Another Vermeer (Abingdon), Mother Courage and Romeo and Juliet (Public Theatre, Shakespeare In The Park), Limonade Tous Les Jours (The Cell), Small Craft Warnings (Mother Of Invention), The Sunset Limited (Steppenwolf in Chicago, 59e59 in NY). Broadway: The Diary of Anne Frank, Doubles, Hail Scrawdyke! (Derwent Award), The Little Foxes and Fiddler on the Roof, Off-Broadway: The Sorrows of Frederick, The Black Monk, Hughie, Sophistry, Educating Rita, The Last Sweet Days of Isaac (Obie and Drama Desk Awards) And Oh Dad… Title roles in Hamlet, Richard III, and Richard II (Off-Off-Broadway), King Lear, Waiting for Godot and Quills (New Rep, Boston); Ivanov and Tartuffe (Yale Rep); Amadeus (Cleveland Playhouse). Film: Bad City (DVD), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, A Beautiful Mind, Trial and Error, The Associate, Guarding Tess, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, The Muppet Movie, Starting Over, Front Page, What’s up Doc, Skidoo, Catch-22. TV: “100 Centre Street,” “Oz,” “Homicide,” “St. Elsewhere.” Directing–Broadway: Spoils of War, The Little Foxes (Tony Nomination), John Gabriel Borkman, The Runner Stumbles and Shelter. Directing–Off-Broadway: The Traveling Lady and Nora (Cherry Lane), Hamlet, Ivanov, Three Sisters (Obie Award) and Uncle Vanya (CSC); Between Riverside and Crazy (Pulitzer Prize) Vieux Carré and Toys in the Attic (Pearl), Fifty Words (MCC). Directing–London: Detroit (National Theatre). Directing–Regional: The Birthday Party, Detroit, Love Song, Frankie and Johnny, Harvey, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Three Sisters, Loose Ends, and Say Goodnight Gracie (Steppenwolf). Fathers and Sons, Beach House, The Master Builder, Miss Julie and The Dance of Death (Long Wharf). King Lear, Electra, Angel Street, and The Cherry Orchard (Whole Theatre). Playwright: Orson’s Shadow, Uncle Bob, Booth. Librettist: A Minister’s Wife. Recipient of 2007 Drama Desk Special Award as Renaissance Man of the American Theatre.

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: suzanna@t2conline.com

Off Broadway

Jonah Off-Broadway at Roundabout Cracks Wide Open Trauma and Repair

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The story that is being told is a complete page-turner. Back and forth, up and around, and deep within, flipping from now to back then in a light flash of repeated verbal moment and some lightning cracks in the time continuum. It’s a fantastically compelling unpacking, these articulate moments of disturbing wonder, playing with frameworks and fantasies that gnaw at our stressful hearts and imagination. We are pulled, sweetly, at first, into the world of Ana, played to perfection by the magnificently detailed Gabby Beans (LCT’s The Skin of Our Teeth), completely and within an instant, wanting and waiting for this tender kind of interaction to blossom, but also realizing she walks too fast and too forward. We want to hold on to this cautious, overly emotional tingling, and gigantically charming awkward fumbling. It can make a young man cry. Or a young woman lean in with hope and faith.

Roundabout Theatre Company‘s Jonah, a new play most vitally and inquisitively written by Rachel Bonds (Goodnight Noboby; The Lonely Few), asks us to follow in the quick footsteps of Ana, begging us to keep up, but falling through doorways with abstract oblivion at a moment’s notice. It’s the tenderest of beginnings, with a crack that opens up a world of problematic trauma and complex formulations. Those trapped constructs, and those “deep deep sick” feelings, sneak inside our senses and leave us wondering where we are moment to moment, and what should we believe.

As directed with clarity and vision by Danya Taymor (Broadway’s Pass Over), the effect is deliberately destabilizing, giving you tenderness and discomfort within moments of each other, with the changing of the guard brought upon by sharp cracks and seizures in the universe. The titular character, Jonah, delicately and dynamically portrayed by the sweetest of creatures, Hagan Oliveras (“American Horror Stories“; Players Theatre’s The Trouble with Dead Boyfriends), runs in pursuit of the electric energy of Ana, trying hard to keep up with this fantastical creature. What is she running to? Or from? It’s the most engaging of beginnings, drawing us forward with awkward longing and a supersonic unseared outreach. We couldn’t want this union more as we say “yeah, yeah, yeah” to their cross-legged flirtation with love and understanding, but there is something that just doesn’t feel real, or maybe right, in their outreach. And an uneasiness starts to sink in.

I like you,” he says, with utter sincerity, and our hearts shimmer open a wee bit more. Jonah plays with our sensibilities and our own longing for this kind of thoughtful spring awakening, until that lighting crack and skipping occurs. Much like on an old-fashioned record player, courtesy of the stellar work of set designer Wilson Chin (MTC’s Cost of Living), lighting by Amith Chandrashaker (MTC’s Prayer for the French Republic), and sound design by Kate Marvin (MCC’s Wolf Play), a fracture comes into play, and we are thrown. Or is it he that is thrown? We are no longer in her dorm room, cozy and awkward, retelling our intricate fantasizes to a wide-eyed young man in love, but somewhere else, trying to survive the brutal hard world of before alongside her stepbrother Danny, played powerfully by Samuel H. Levine (Broadway’s The Inheritance). It doesn’t carry with it that same sense of authentic innocence and safety. It’s dangerous, and uncomfortable, even in the care and protective stance of her stepbrother.

Gabby Beans and Samuel H. Levine in RTC’s Jonah. Photo by Joan Marcus.

I do what I want,” is a refrain the young Ana keeps repeating to the lovestruck Jonah, and at first we believe in the bravado, until we see a different aspect of Ana’s existence, a parallel universe, in a way, where the trap has been set, not by her, but by the world of ‘have and have not’; ‘need and hunger’. “She just got trapped,” she says of her mother, “afraid of what he might do.” She knows this caged framework in a way that few of us can understand, yet maybe the third man that comes knocking on that door, later, in a different place and time, can ask the right question from the correct category of topics; the one that is now fixated on the flame of Ana; the very tall Steven, played to itchy delight by John Zdrojeski (Broadway’s Good Night, Oscar).

It is there in the third where something shifts, where protection and need come together, collide, and shatter on the floor. Ana is working hard to find something that resembles her fantasy, or push the thought away behind her writing and a closed door. But also, maybe she can discover at least a pathway for the opening up and the healing to begin. It’s the cleverest of constructs, looking at trauma and pain from a number of angles and vantage points, all at once, from up above, back and forward, and within such a detailed and unique lyrical unwrapping. Beans is absolutely ingenious in her complicated approach to the parallels, giving us a character worthy of the fixation. Jonah is the key, the ointment to stop the itch, and the pathway to healing.

John Zdrojeski and Gabby Beans in Roundabout Theatre Company’s .Jonah. Photo by Joan Marcus.

For more info and tickets, click here.

For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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Broadway

Museum of Broadway Celebrates Black History Month

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Museum of Broadway, 145 W. 45th Street, upcoming February Events

Saturday, February 24th | 12:00 PM

The Museum of Broadway Presents: A History of Minstrelsy with Ben West 

Join musical theatre artist and historian Ben West, author of the upcoming book The American Musical, for a journey into the history of minstrelsy, including its legacy of blackface on Broadway, its trailblazing Black artists, and its impact on the development of the American musical. Note: This talk will involve mature content.

– Event link here

Monday, February 26th | 11:00 AM

The Museum of Broadway Presents: A Conversation with Black Broadway Creatives

Join in celebrating and honoring the lives, careers, and experiences of Black Broadway creatives in the American theater.  Panelists include Ken Hanson, Dante Harrell, Destiny Lilly, Zane Mark, Thelma Pollard and Virginia Woodruff, in-conversation with Erich McMillian-McCall of Project 1 Voice.

– Event link here

Wednesday, February 28th | 12:00 PM

The Museum of Broadway Presents: Mary & Ethel…And Mikey Who? 

Talkback and Book Signing with award-winning author Stephen Cole joined by famed cabaret star Klea Blackhurst and special guest Anita Gillette

– Event link here 

Thursday, February 29th |10:30 AM

The Museum of Broadway Presents: Spotlight on Black Broadway Producers

Join acclaimed award-winning producers Rashad Chambers, Sade Lythcott & Brian Anthony Moreland in-conversation with Merrily We Roll Along’s Krystal Joy Brown

– Event link here

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Music

Jason Robert Brown’s The Connector Is Intelligent, Thought Provoking and Musically Seamless

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“The truth is not about the facts – forgive me. The facts can always be manipulated, arranged, massaged – We are not purveyors of facts, we are tellers of truths.” …..Or are we?

The Connector now playing at at MCC’s Newman Mills Theater space, has twice been extended and in all honesty should move to Broadway this season. If it did it would stands a massive chance of being nominated or winning Best Musical, Best Score, Best Orchestration, Best Direction, Best Lead Actor and many of the technical awards. I wouldn’t be surprised if it sweeps the Drama Desk and The Outer Critics Circle Awards come award season.

Set in 1996 at a newspaper called “The Connector”, this unrivaled purveyor of “the truth and nothing but the truth,” is about to be put to the test. Enter Ethan Dobson (the remarkable Ben Levi Ross), fresh out of Princeton who’s arrived with talent, guts and a smarmy style.

Scott Bakula, Ben Levi Ross By Joan Marcus

Ethan has long admired and longs to work for the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Conrad O’Brien (welcome back to the fabulous Scott Bakula), who is being over run by new owners, who care more about circulation and the color turquoise, than facts.

Jessica Molaskey By Joan Marcus

The first person Ethan meets and the voice of a collective conscience is Robin Martinez (normally played by Hannah Cruz, but at my performance Ashley Pérez Flanagan). At first attracted to Ethan, Robin starts to see the cracks, as does fact checker, Muriel (a layered performance by Jessica Molaskey). Right from the start, she does not like or trust Ethan. Nor do we. In a strange way, this almost seems like a musicalized version of “The Talented Mr. Ripley”.

As Conrad takes Ethan under his wing, we see three of his stories, each done in a different musical style. The first is about an eccentric West Village scrabble player (the terrific Max Crumm). With a “Rhythm of Life” feel, Ethan becomes an over night success with circulation increasing and a fan by the name of Mona Bland (a memorable Mylinda Hull) who will end up being his downfall.

Fergie Philippe, Hannah Cruz, and Ben Levi Ross Photo: Joan Marcus

The next story is about the take down of the mayor of Jersey City, done in rap/ gangland style that gets him a nomination for the prestigious National Magazine Award. As his source Willis, Fergie Philippe gives his all, but the problem we soon find out, is that though the story is sensational, there are gaping holes in the facts, which Muriel, Robin and Mona glaringly see. 

In the end who is Ethan really? What is truth and what is fact? Does the public really care or do they just want sensationalism? Has the world really gotten over its sexism? It’s racialism? Sadly, I don’t think so. Everything becomes the movie of the week and then goes away until the next big scandal.

The Connector was conceived and directed by Daisy Prince, who does a remarkable job and asks some really intelligent questions. She has also gathered a fabulous cast, who makes this show seem real, relevant and up to date.

Ben Levi Ross By Joan Marcus

Ben Levi Ross will remind you of Jessie Einsenburg. He is loaded with talent. Not only does he posses a vocal prowess that is unmatched, his nuances and phenomenal acting choices make him so watchable. He is like an onion slowly peeling away each delicate layer. He is seriously brilliant.


As Robin, I saw the understudy who is about to take over the role, Ashley Pérez Flanagan. She sings and acts well, but lacks some of the nuances that originally made me want to see this show. I fell in love with the song “Cassandra” in 2017 and either Jason Robert Brown rewrote some of the notes or they were different in the production I saw. This song is pivotal to the show, as the lyrics talk about how women writers are written off.

“Half the stories of the world are left unwritten, half the stories have been lost along the way. And so the people of the world will not encounter, anything but one perspective, one reflection, one directive, male and white and unenlightened, every day. It’s easy for you, it’s easy for you and I’m missing it”

These are the lyrics by Jason Robert Brown for “Cassandra”. Not only is his music rich in rhythm and style, but it reaches into your soul to take capture. His lyrics hit at the heart of pain, truth, anger and honesty. Each song is a playlet with character-driven narratives and stand on their own. Smartly his band is electric and musically I could sit through this show every night of the week and hear new emotional tugs. I am so excited to announce the album will be released in late spring by Concord Theatricals Recording, because I want to listen to these songs again and again. A plus is JRB is on the piano playing with his band.

Jonathan Marc Sherman’s book is funny, terrifying and taps on timely issues, however I did want more as to the why’s and psychology of Ethan, but maybe that’s the point, we don’t understand the why’s and never will.

Not only is the show wonderfully done, but the raw masterful set by Beowulf Boritt, lighting by and projection design by Janette Oi-Suk Yew and choreography by Karla Puno Garcia are shear perfection.

You will not be able to stop thinking about this show, that is full of thought provoking ideas on journalistic integrity and the difference between fact and truth. This is a show not to be missed and that’s a fact.

The Connector: MCC Theater Space, 511 W 52nd Street, through March 17th.

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Broadway

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

MORE MURDER — (Via Deadline) Sophie Ellis-Bextor is gearing up to tour around North America for the first time and adding more cities for fans to see her perform “Murder on the Dance Floor” live.

The British singer’s song is featured in the final scene of Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn, where Barry Keoghan’s Oliver dances naked around the manor. After the scene went viral, the song, co-written by Ellis-Bextor and Gregg Alexander, also went viral on social media. “Murder on the Dance Floor” was originally released in 2001, but it never charted on the Billboard Hot 100 until now, peaking at 51 recently.

Ellis-Bextor recently made an appearance on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon where she performed the viral hit and the star is now embarking on a North America tour.

The artist announced her first-ever live show in NYC, set to take place on June 6 at Webster Hall, and the date quickly sold out. Ellis-Bextor has now announced more dates across the U.S. and Canada that will take her to San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

“Oh my… the New York show sold out in a day! Thank you thank you thank you,” Ellis-Bextor said in her newsletter announcing the additional tour dates. “So – how about some more shows in some more cities?! My band and I are coming for you! Super excited. Come and dance with me….”

May 30: August Hall (San Francisco, CA)May 31: The Observatory North Park (San Diego, CA)June 3: 9:30 Club (Washington D.C.)June 4: Royale Boston (Boston, MA)June 5: Union Transfer (Philadelphia, PA)June 6: Webster Hall (New York City, NY)June 8: Danforth Music Hall (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

I love this record, because its an actual song. Sure, they repeat the title about three-dozen times, but its a great track.

Neil Diamond and Micky Dolenz

NOISE CLOSES — (Via Deadline) Broadway’s A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical will play its final performance on Sunday, June 30, before launching a national tour this fall, producers announced today.

The musical, which began previews on November 2, 2022, at the Broadhurst Theatre and opened that year on December 4, will have played 35 preview performances and 657 regular performances when it closes.

As I’ve said, early reviews of the show, kind of stopped me from going to this. An artist who is even referenced in the play said to me ‘why would I go to a play that got bad reviews.’ Understood.

But, I did see it and absolutely loved it. Of course, I’m somewhat on the business side and loved all the insider-nuances. And, I saw it with the original performers in it.

There will be a national tour and I predict it will be a huge hit as Diamond’s music is multi-generational. As I’ve said, I preferred Diamond’s “Solitary Man”-period more than “America” and “I Am, I Said.” Although, “Turn On Your Heart Light” (written with Carole Bayer Sager and Burt Bacharach) was a great record.

An icon for certain.

SHORT TAKES — Warner’s second Aquaman movie; Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will stream on MAX on February 27. The first Aquaman movie, out in 2018, remains the highest-grossing DC film of all time. The sequel, after a plethora of media, mostly about Amber Heard, disappeared in a matter of weeks … Broadway-journeyman and Rockers On Broadway-creator Donnie Kehr recupping. Get well soon brother! … Keith Girard’s New York Independent featured an interview with 17-old wunderkind Kjersti Long. Check it out: https://www.thenyindependent.com/music/1704991/kjersti-long-17-explores-her-jersey-roots-by-way-of-utah-with-power-pop-style-video/

Pet Shop Boys

Just listened to the Pet Shop Boys “West End Girls.” What a tremendous record that hold up amazingly well all these years later. It came out in 1984 and produced by Bobby Orlando … Amazon shuttering Freevee? First off, as an offshoot of Amazon, this has got to be one of the worst monikers ever! I mean, FreeVee ... always sounded like frisbee!  Adios … Thursday’s Law & Order was the ode to Sam Waterston’s Jack McCoy-character (Last Dance).

Sam Waterston

After 404 episodes, we had to say goodbye. It wasn’t the greatest episode, but when McCoy took over the case and presented it to the jury, Waterston shone brightly. When McCoy said to Hugh Dancy (Nolan Ryan), it was a hell of a ride, it resonated terrifically. Thanks Jack! …

True Detective

I loved the finale on HBO of True Detective with Jodie Foster and Kali Reis. I didn’t understand it all, but the look and direction (by Issa Lopez) and Jodie Foster was just superb. I had forgotten just how good an actress Foster was. Sure, she was good in Nyad, but it was a supporting role. Here, she was just stellar. I’d like to see more of her …

Micky Jones

It was a grim week medically speaking as talk-show hostess Wendy Williams was diagnosed with aphasia and dementia and Mick Jones of Foreigner, with Parkinson’s. Sending prayers to both … And finally, news surfaced Thursday that an “inebriated” Andy Cohen harassed Brandi Glanville. I don’t know Andy at all, but his bad-boy antics of the last several years were clearly leading to something like this. Glanville’s lawyers even invoked NBC’s Matt Lauer in their brief. Expect a huge media brouhaha over this one. Sad for sure … Happy Bday Lou Christie; Niki Avers and Chloe Gaier.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steve Walter; Obi Steinman; Felix Cavaliere; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Kent Kotal; Ace Frehley; Alex Saltzman; Lush Ice; Tony King; Barry Zelman; Justin Ridener; Kent & Laura Denmark; Mark Bego; Mark Scheerer; Barbara Shelley; and SADIE!

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Events

The Acting Company Honors Stephen McKinley Henderson and William H. Wright II

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The Acting Company (Kent Gash, Artistic Director; Devin Brain, Producing Director; Erik Schroeder, Managing Director) is proud to announce that Stephen McKinley Henderson will receive the John Houseman Award Honor, and William H. Wright II will receive the Joan M. Warburg Award Honor, as part of The Acting Company’s “Fantastic Journeys” Gala on Monday, April 29. Additional details and performers to be announced in the next few weeks.

This one-night-only event will celebrate more than a half a century of developing emerging actors by bringing classics and new plays across the US on fantastic journeys that have changed the American cultural landscape. The evening will include a cocktail hour that begins at 6:30 PM, followed by a silent auction, special guests, performances, dancing and a gourmet dinner.

“The Acting Company is thrilled to honor exemplary Actor, Director, Mentor and Professor of Acting, two-time Tony Award nominee, Obie Award winner, Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award winner Stephen McKinley Henderson with the John Houseman Award,” said Artistic Director Kent Gash. “A veteran of theatre, film and television, Mr. Henderson has created an impressive body of work originating varied and indelible roles for nearly 50 years, written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights August Wilson and Stephen Adly Guirgis among many others. Without the work of Stephen McKinley Henderson many of us would not have careers. He is the gold standard of excellence that we aspire to reach.”

Tickets and tables for the “Fantastic Journeys” Gala on Monday, April 29 are available for purchase by calling 212-258-3111 or by visiting https://theactingcompany.org/gala.

Stephen McKinley Henderson has worked on stages throughout the United States and abroad, on and off Broadway, and in television and film. His eight Broadway performances include Between Riverside and Crazy (Tony nomination), Fences (Tony nomination), A Raisin in the Sun, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and A Doll’s House Part 2. Off-Broadway roles include LAByrinth Theatre Company’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Second Stage Theater’s Jitney (Drama Desk, Obie, and Audelco awards for outstanding ensemble). He is the 2023 recipient of the Drama Desk’s Harold Prince Lifetime Achievement Award. His stage directing credits include Signature Theater’s Zooman and the Sign, Ali! in New York, London, and Atlanta, and The Meeting for St. Louis Black Repertory Theater presented at the Kennedy Center.  Stephen’s work appears in six Oscar nominated films: Dune; Fences; Lady Bird; Lincoln; Manchester by the Sea; and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. In his freshman year at Lincoln University in Missouri, a historically black institution, he auditioned for John Houseman and Michael Kahn and became a member of Group l, Juilliard Drama Division in 1968. His conservatory training continued at North Carolina School of the Arts (BFA) where he served as president of the student government and at Purdue University Graduate School (MA), where he was Director of the Drama Workshop for the Black Cultural Center. Stephen was part of a master class taught by Lloyd Richards at the Actor’s Center and he continued to study with Mr. Richards on a Fox Foundation Fellowship for three years. He is a Lunt and Fontanne Ten Chimneys Fellowship Teacher and a former Chair of the University at Buffalo Department of Theatre and Dance. John Houseman cited Stephen’s work as a student in his memoir, Final Dress, and Dr. Samuel Hay cites his work as an actor, director, and educator in his text, African American Theater, A Critical Analysis

William H. Wright II is an expert in investment banking, finance and corporate governance. Most recently, he was a managing director at Morgan Stanley, retiring in 2010 after 28 years with the firm. During his career in investment banking, he was a trustee of the Morgan Stanley Foundation. Wright has been consulted on securities regulation reform by the Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Corporation Finance and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services. He has also served on the faculties of the Ray Garrett Institute of the Northwestern University School of Law and the Practicing Law Institute. Wright is chair of the board of trustees at Doris Duke Foundation, he sits on the board of Mount Sinai Health System, Inc. and its seven member institutions, and he is a member of the board of directors of the New York City Ballet. Wright has also served as senior warden of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and is currently a vestryman of Trinity Church Wall Street. He is also treasurer and a member of the board of trustees of Historic Hudson, as well as of the

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