The Drama League (Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Artistic Director; Bevin Ross, Executive Director) is pleased to announce performers and appearances slated for the 2022 Fall gala, “Embrace The Season: A Drama League Celebration.” Coming up on Monday, October 17 at 6:00 PM at City Winery (25 11th Avenue), the gala will feature a dazzling array of exclusive cast performances and appearances from musicals and plays on stage this season, as well as a sneak peek of productions to come. The expansive stage program — directed by Tony Award nominee Sheryl Kaller, with The Broadway Sinfonietta as the event’s House Band — will feature exclusive first previews of The Karate Kid, performed by Alan H. Green and Music Director Andrew Resnick, and Bliss, performed by Kayla Davion, Katy Geraghty, Gizel Jiménez, and Claire Neumann, as well as performances by Tony Award Winner Lena Hall from Little Shop of Horrors, Helen Park from KPOP, Shereen Ahmed from A Man of No Importance, in addition to appearances from Olivier Award-Nominated performer Wendell Pierce from Death of A Salesman, Obie Award-Winning performer April Matthis from The Piano Lesson, and a special teaser from Back to the Future.
The event will also feature an appearance from Tony Award-Nominated director Liesl Tommy. Tommy was the first-ever woman of color to be nominated for the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play for Eclipsed in 2016. Her debut feature film Respect, the story of Aretha Franklin, starring Jennifer Hudson, was released internationally last fall.
Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks said, “I believe Liesl’s true impact on the theater is that she was creating diverse and equitable productions long before it was a part of the national conversation. She’s the original visionary of our moment. We are thrilled and honored that she will be joining us for this event.”
The “Embrace The Season” Gala, presented with a spirit of uplifting and amplifying the New York theater community as it returns to a post-pandemic vitality, will also include the presentation of the annual Arts Ally Award, given each year to those who strengthen the foundation upon which the arts stand. The 2022 honoree is a New York-based theater and film production and investment company, Caiola Productions(Company, The Inheritance, Dear Evan Hansen, Little Shop of Horrors), led by Luigi Caiola and Rose Caiola. The gala is chaired by Mary Jain, with additional major support from BroadwayHD, Caiola Productions, City National Bank, Kirk Iwanowski & Steven Cohen, Una Jackman / Talu Productions and Jay Alix / and Lakeview Productions, John Gore Organization, Ken Davenport Productions, Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, Nederlander Organization, Sceneworks Studios, Susan Edelstein Productions, Tiwary Entertainment Groupand more.
The Creative Team for this year’s Drama League benefit Gala also features Associate Direction by Joyce Chittick, Production Management by Teresa Cruz, Stage Management by Karen Schleifer, Music Supervision by The Broadway Sinfonietta’s Macy Schmidt (Kimberly Akimbo, Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical), Assistant Direction by Tai Thompson and Andrew Coopman (Drama League Directing Fellowship Alumni), Producing Assistance from Kaylin Kellin, Assistant Stage Management by Joanna Schutzer, and vocal stylings from actor Beethovan Odenas the Announcer/”Voice of Oz.” The Gala performance is produced by The Drama League’s Artistic Line Producer, Ali Skye Bennet.
The Drama League has been at the forefront of the American theater community since 1916, providing lifelong artistic resources for directors and a platform for dialogue with audiences. Drama League Directors have received 22 Tony Award Nominations and nine Tony Award Wins, 20 Obie Awards, and multiple Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe, Peabody, Jefferson, Drama-Logue, Helen Hayes, NAACP, GLAAD and Princess Grace Nominations and Awards, among other honors. Over 100 of them are Artistic Leaders of theaters and production companies across the United States, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Collectively directing approximately 1,000 productions each season, Drama League Directors work in every aspect of the arts and entertainment industries. They have transformed, entertained, and inspired millions around the world.
Each year, The Drama League’s annual events bookend the theater season — kicking off with the Gala that provides attendees with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see the finest talent on stage, and then sealing the season with a grand celebration at The Drama League Awards. Returning President of the Drama League Board of Directors Bonnie Comley said, “It is my pleasure to share how proud we are to provide such critical support to the American Theater. Our upcoming Gala will celebrate our community by honoring the thrilling season ahead of Broadway and Off-Broadway theater and provide much-needed funds to support the young artists in our Director’s Project. We hope you will join us!”
The Board of Directors’ Executive Committee is Bonnie Comley (President); Joseph Pizza and Dr. Arthur Pober (Vice Presidents); Townsend Teague (Treasurer); Donna Daniels (Secretary); Gabriel Stelian-Shanks (Artistic Director); and Bevin Ross (Executive Director). Completing the Drama League Board of Directors are Elena Araoz, Tony Benten, Estefanía Fadul, Leslie Feldman, Irene Gandy, Sarah Hutton, Kirk Iwanowski, Una Jackman, Mary Jain, Paula Kaminsky Davis, Gwynn Macdonald, Stan Ponte, John Alan Turner, Nicole A. Watson, and Kumiko Yoshii.
For tickets to the Gala, visit dramaleague.org/gala2022, call 212-625-1025, or email email@example.com. The suggested dress for the Gala event is festive cocktail attire, black tie is optional.
Countdown to Christmas: For The Dancer and Theatre Lover Chita Rivera
2o days to go! Every year people panic to find the perfect gift. We at T2C have been collecting idea’s all year long to bring you the perfect gift guide at all price levels. When you’re at the end of your rope trying to find the perfect Christmas present this year, come to this guide for some great suggestions.
There are a lot of books out there this year but we highly recommend Chita: A Memoir , the critically-acclaimed book is written by the legendary Broadway icon Chita Rivera with arts journalist Patrick Pacheco. Chita takes fans behind-the-scenes of all her shows and cabaret acts, she shares candid stories of her many colleagues, friends, and lovers. She speaks with empathy and hindsight of her deep associations with complicated geniuses like Fosse and Robbins, as well as with the mega-talent Liza Minnelli, with whom she co-starred in The Rink. She openly discusses her affair with Sammy Davis, Jr. as well as her marriage to Tony Mordente and her subsequent off-the-radar relationships. Chita revisits the terrible car accident that threatened to end her career as a dancer forever. Center stage to Chita’s story are John Kander and Fred Ebb, the songwriters and dear friends indelibly tied to her career through some of her most enduring work: Chicago, The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and The Visit.
Chita’s love of performing began as a child in Washington, D.C., when her mother enrolled her in a local ballet school to channel her boundless energy. Still a teenager, she moved to New York to attend the School of American Ballet after an audition for George Balanchine himself and winning a scholarship. But Broadway beckoned, and by twenty she was appearing in the choruses of Golden Age shows like Guys and Dolls and Can-Can. In the latter, she received special encouragement from its star Gwen Verdon, forging a personal and professional friendship that would help shape her career. The groundbreaking West Side Story brought her into the orbit of Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, Hal Prince, and Stephen Sondheim. After Bye Bye Birdie further burnished her rising star, she reunited with Verdon and her then-husband Bob Fosse to work on the film version of Sweet Charity and the celebrated original Broadway production of Chicago.
Chita: A Memoir was published in English and Spanish and the English audio version of the Memoir was recorded by Chita. A Spanish audio version is also available.
“Chita Rivera blazed a trail where none existed so the rest of us could see a path forward. She has been part of some of the greatest musicals in the history of the form, from Anita in the trailblazing West Side Story through Claire Zachanassian in the underrated masterpiece The Visit, over 60 years later. She is a Puerto Rican Broadway icon and the original ‘triple threat.’ We’re so lucky to be alive in the same timeline as Chita Rivera.” — Lin-Manuel Miranda.
“A frank and fascinating memoir from one of the truly great artists of the American Theater. Lots of stories … Lots of insight … and quite a few caustic statements from Chita’s alter ego, Dolores. An illuminating history and a guaranteed pleasure!” — John Kander
Broadway legend and national treasure Chita Rivera, multi-Tony Award winner, Kennedy Center honoree, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – has taken no prisoners on stage or screen for seven decades. From her trailblazing performance as the original Anita in West Side Story—for which she tapped her own Puerto Rican roots—to her haunting 2015 star turn in The Visit. Chita has proven to be much more than just a captivating dancer, singer, and actress beloved by audiences and casts alike. In her equally captivating and one-of-a-kind memoir, Written with Patrick Pacheco, the woman born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero shares an incomparable life, both on stage and behind the curtain.
By the way this Memoir has won a Gold Medal for “Best Autobiography – English” at the 2023 International Latino Book Awards. https://www.latinobookawards.org/
Click here to buy your copy.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Spamalot
Here is the amazing cast of Spamalot. Christopher Fitzgerald as Patsy, James Monroe Iglehart as King Arthur, Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer as The Lady of the Lake, Ethan Slater as The Historian/Prince Herbert, Jimmy Smagula as Sir Bedevere, Michael Urie as Sir Robin, Nik Walker as Sir Galahad and Taran Killam as Lancelot.
I was so inspired I drew the whole cast.
To read T2C’s review click here.
Ahead of the Broadway Opening of Lempicka The Longacre Theatre Is Showcasing Art Work By Tamara de Lempicka
The Longacre Theatre (220 W 48th St.), soon-to-be home of the sweeping new musical, Lempicka, is showcasing a curated selection of renowned artist Tamara de Lempicka’s most famous works. Eschewing traditional theatrical front-of-house advertising, the Longacre’s façade now boasts prints, creating a museum-quality exhibition right in the heart of Times Square. The musical opens on Broadway on April 14, 2024 at the same venue.
The Longacre’s outdoor exhibition includes works of Self Portrait (Tamara in a Green Bugatti) (1929), Young Girl in Green (1927), Nu Adossé I (1925), The Red Tunic (1927), The Blue Scarf (1930), The Green Turban (1930), Portrait of Marjorie Ferry (1932), Portrait of Ira P. (1930), Portrait of Romana de la Salle (1928), and Adam and Eve (1932).
Starring Eden Espinosa and directed by Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin, Lempicka features book, lyrics, and original concept by Carson Kreitzer, book and music by Matt Gould, and choreography by Raja Feather Kelly.
Spanning decades of political and personal turmoil and told through a thrilling, pop-infused score, Lempicka boldly explores the contradictions of a world in crisis, a woman ahead of her era, and an artist whose time has finally come.
Young Girl in Green painted by Tamara de Lempicka (1927). Oil on plywood.