National Corporate Theatre Fund (NCTF) held its Annual Chairman's Awards Gala and benefit last night (Monday, May 2) at the St. Regis New York hotel, raising more than $320,000 for new American theatre. This year, NCTF Chairman James S Turley, Chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young, honored Oscar and Tony Award-winner Joel Grey (on Broadway this season in Anything Goes and director of Broadway's The Normal Heart), recipient of the Theater Artist Award, presented to Mr. Grey by Anything Goes director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall; Charles Dillingham (Managing Director, Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles), recipient of the Theater Professional Award, presented by Benjamin Moore (Managing Director of Seattle Repertory Theatre) and Richard Thomas (Race on Broadway and The Public's Timon of Athens); and BNY Mellon, recipient of the Corporate Leadership Award, presented by Tony Award-winning stage and film actress Anika Noni Rose. All net proceeds of the event will be distributed as the NCTF/BNY MELLON FUND FOR NEW AMERICAN THEATRE.
The night, hosted by the appropriately inappropriate and brilliant Lewis Black (hilariously pitching a play of his own to the leagues of theater heavy-weights from across the country), included extraordinary performances by Ben Vereen, singing a unique and mesmerizing interpretation of "Defying Gravity" from the Broadway smash Wicked; Stephanie J. Block belted out the roof-raising "Get out and Stay Out" from 9 to 5 The Musical; and three of the dazzling sailors from the Tony-nominated revival of Anything Goes (Anthony Wayne, Adam Perry and Ward Billeisen) opened the evening with a number that included several Broadway standards, under the direction of Denis Jones.
Anikia Noni Rose, who presented BNY Mellon/Gerald Hassell with his NCTF award, shook-up the Broadway community this morning when she announced (with Matthew Broderick) this year's Tony nominations, which included her NCTF friends such as Joel Grey (direction of a play - The Normal Heart), guest Andrew Rannells (Best Actor in a Musical - The Book of Mormon) and presenter Kathleen Marshall (Direction of a Musical and Choreography - Anything Goes).
The full list of noteworthy attendees included Honorees Joel Grey, Charles Dillingham and Gerald Hassell (on behalf of BNY Mellon). Host Lewis Black, presenters Anika Noni Rose (Tony Award-winner and star of the film Dreamgirls), Richard Thomas, Kathleen Marshall (director / choreographer of Broadway's Anything Goes), Benjamin Moore (Managing Director, Seattle Rep). Guests: Colin Donnell (Billy in Anything Goes), Andrew Rannells (star of The Book of Mormon). Performers: Tony-winner Ben Vereen, Stephanie J. Block; from Anything Goes: Anthony Wayne, Adam Perry and Ward Billeisen in a performance directed by Denis Jones. Producers Michael David (Jersey Boys), Barry & Fran Weissler (Chicago, Scottsboro Boys), Jennifer Bielstein (Managing Director, Actors Theatre of Louisville), Kevin Moore (Managing Director, Cleveland Play House), Carey Perloff (Artistic Director, American Conservatory Theater), Michael Ritchie (Artistic Director, Center Theatre Group), Louis Spisto (CEO & Executive Producer, The Old Globe), and NCTF Chairman James Turley.
Co-chairs of the 2011 Chairman's Awards Gala were Cisco Systems, Inc., Ernst & Young, RVM and Wells Fargo.
The Gala Committee included: Mitchell J. Auslander, John R. Dutt, Richard Fitzburgh, Gretchen Shugart, John Thomopoulos and Isabelle Winkles.
NCTF is an association of ten of America's finest not-for-profit theatres dedicated to increasing the participation of corporations and their employees in supporting theatre across the country and in New York. Member theatres include: Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Conservatory Theater, American Repertory Theater, Center Theatre Group, The Cleveland Play House, Guthrie Theater, Long Wharf Theatre, The Old Globe, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Trinity Repertory Company.
The 2011 NCTF Annual Chairman's Awards Gala and benefit honoring Joey Grey, Charles Dillingham and BNY Mellon took place Monday, May 2 at the St Regis New York (2 East 55th Street @ Fifth Avenue). For more information, please visit www.nctf.org.
Photo Credit: Lyn Hughes
Ward Billeisen, James Turley, Anthony Wayne, Adam Perry and Phil Reno
Ward Billeisen, Anthony Wayne and Adam Perry
Richard Thomas, Joel Grey, Anika N Rose, Collin Donnell and Andrew Rannells
Richard Thomas, Charles Dillingham, Stephanie J. Block and Michael Ritchie
Charles Dillingham, Joel Grey and Gerald Hassell BNY Mellon
Carey Perloff, Lewis Black and Anika Noni Rose
Joel Gray and Ben Vereen
Anika Noni Rose