The OBIE Award-winning Ma-Yi Theater Company, one of the leading theater companies in the U.S. devoted to presenting work about the Asian-American experience, honored Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang and Loida Nicolas Lewis, a best-selling author and the Asian-American CEO of TLC Beatrice, as part of its Seventh Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner on Monday, April 23 at the New York Hilton's Trianon Ballroom (1335 Avenue of the Americas at West 53rd Street).
Supporters of the theatre gathered to raise funds and honor Hwang and Lewis, who respectively received Leader in Arts and Leader in Community Service awards in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the Asian American community. Broadway stars Jenn Gambatese (Tarzan) and Jose Llana (Spelling Bee) respectively performed songs from Disney's Tarzan and the 2002 revival of Flower Drum Song, musicals whose books were written by honoree David Henry Hwang. Keo Woolford, best known for his starring turn in the recent West End revival of The King and I, performed scenes from his upcoming Off-Broadway play I Land, being presented by Ma-Yi Theater Company, April 20-May 13 at The Culture Project-SoHo.
Playwright David Henry Hwang is best known for his Tony Award-winning Best Play M. Butterfly, which also received a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play in 1988. Many of his plays look at Asian and Chinese Americans in the modern world. His other plays include the Tony-nominated Golden Child, the Pulitzer Prize-finalist The Dance and the Railroad, the OBIE Award-winning FOB, Family Devotions, Sound and Beauty, and Face Value, among others. He has written the book for several musicals, including Aida, the 2002 revival of Flower Drum Song, and Disney's Tarzan, currently on Broadway. Hwang is the author of several screenplays, including David Cronenberg's adaptation of M. Butterfly, Neil LaBute's Possession, John Madden's Golden Gate and the NBC mini-series "The Lost Empire." He served, by appointment of President Bill Clinton, on the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Hwang's newest play, Yellow Face, is scheduled to premiere in 2007 at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum and New York's Public Theater.
For more information, call Ma-Yi Theater Company at 212-971-4862 or visit www.ma-yitheatre.org.
Jose Llana and Jenn Gambatese
Jose Llana, Jenn Gambatese and Playwright David Henry Hwang honored with a Leader in Arts Award
Ralph Pena (Ma-Yi Theater Company's Artistic Director) and Jorge Ortoll (Ma-Yi Theater Company's Executive Director)
Ralph Pena, Jessica Hagedorn and Jorge Ortoll
Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins and the evening's co-chair, Lolita Valderrama Savage
Georgia Lee and David Henry Hwang
Ching Valdes Aran and David Henry Hwang
Donald Wilson, Susie Carino, Jorge Ortoll and Marya Coburn