Transport Group, the winner of a special 2007 Drama Desk Award and a 2007 Obie Award, honored playwright Terrence McNally and director Joe Mantello on Monday, December 7 at Asia Society and Museum during it's 2009 Gimme A Break! benefit. BroadwayWorld was on hand to capture the ceremony.
Gimme A Break! began with a cocktail reception followed by a performance featuring Broadway stars sharing their ‘big break' experiences through stories and songs. McNally and Mantello then received the Transporting American Theatre Award, presented by John Glover (to Mr. McNally) and by Jon Robin Baitz (to Mr. Mantello).
Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen of [title of show] served as the evening's hosts. The evening's performers included Brooks Ashmanskas (Tony nominee for Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me); Stephanie J. Block (Wicked, The Pirate Queen, Drama Desk nominee for 9 to 5); Rosie Perez (Academy Award nominee for Fearless, Broadway's The Ritz and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune); Martha Plimpton (three-time Tony nominee for Pal Joey, Top Girls, and The Coast of Utopia); Chita Rivera (three-time Tony winner for The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman); and Marian Seldes (Tony winner for A Delicate Balance).
Terrence McNally is the recipient of four Tony Awards: Love! Valour! Compassion!, Master Class, Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman. Other plays include Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, The Lisbon Traviata, Corpus Christi, The Ritz, Some Men, A Perfect Ganesh, It's Only a Play, Bad Habits, The Stendhal Syndrome, Dedication or the Stuff of Dreams and Deuce. His most recent play was Unusual Acts of Devotion at the La Jolla Playhouse and Philadelphia Theatre Company. He has written the books for the musicals The Full Monty, A Man of No Importance, The Visit and Catch Me If You Can and the libretto for the opera Dead Man Walking. He won the Emmy Award for Andre's Mother. There will be a celebration of his work at the Kennedy Center next spring, including the world premiere of a new play, Golden Age.
Joe Mantello is best known for his work as a director on the Broadway productions of Wicked, Take Me Out (Tony Award), Assassins (Tony Award), Love! Valour! Compassion! (Tony nomination), and 9 to 5. He was a member of the original Broadway cast of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, for which he received a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play. In 2007 Mr. Mantello directed The Ritz, his sixth production with playwright Terrence McNally. Mr. Mantello is a member of Naked Angels and an associate artist at the Roundabout Theater Company. He is a recipient of Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Helen Hayes, Clarence Derwent, Obie and Joe A. Callaway awards.
Founded in 2001, Transport Group, under the leadership of Jack Cummings III, Artistic Director, and Lori Fineman, Executive Director, is a not-for-profit theatre company that develops and produces work by American Playwrights and composers with the aim of exploring the American consciousness in the 20th and 21st centuries. Transport Group presented its premiere production in 2002: Thornton Wilder's Our Town, which featured actors in their sixties in the roles of Emily and George and a twelve-year-old girl as the Stage Manager. Its second production, Requiem for William, an evening of seven seldom produced plays by William Inge, that featured a cast of 26 as well as original songs, premiered in 2003. In 2004 the company presented the first New York revival of Michael John LaChiusa's First Lady Suite, which received rave reviews, played to sold-out houses, and earned two Drama Desk Award nominations including outstanding revival of a musical. Recent productions include the world premiere of the musical The Audience, which featured a cast of 46 actors and earned three Drama Desk Award nominations, including outstanding musical; Normal, a new musical about a mother's battle to save her daughter from anorexia; cul-de-sac, a new play by Tony Award nominee John Cariani; the first New York revival of Tad Mosel's Pulitzer Prize play, All the Way Home; the 50th anniversary, Obie-winning production of William Inge's The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, the world premiere musicals Crossing Brooklyn, Marcy in the Galaxy, and Being Audrey, and the first New York revival of Irwin Shaw's Bury the Dead (which received a Drama Desk nomination). Both First Lady Suite and Bury the Dead were filmed for the New York Performing Arts Library's Theatre on Film and Tape Archive. Transport Group is the winner of a special 2007 Drama Desk Award for its "breadth of vision and its presentation of challenging productions."
Photo Credit: Amy Shaugnessy