A packed house honored the theatrical achievements of award-winning playwright Terrence McNally
at Westport Country Playhouse
's annual fundraising gala, "The Full McNally: A Celebration of the Writing and Works of Terrence McNally
," on Monday evening, September 24.
McNally, winner of Tony Awards for his plays "Love! Valour! Compassion!" and "Master Class," and his books for the musicals "Ragtime" and "Kiss of the Spiderwoman," was honored with a gift from Westport Country Playhouse, presented by playwright Chad Beguelin, who recently premiered his new play "Harbor" at The Playhouse, and is a two-time Tony Award nominee for scripting the Broadway musical "The Wedding Singer."
McNally said that he was delighted that the gift was "given by a younger playwright." He said, "I'm so glad to see you [The Playhouse] did a new American play this year." He noted that "art can change people – we just have to make it more available to young people."
Surprise guest was Nathan Lane, whose professional association with McNally includes roles in "The Lisbon Traviata" (Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel awards); "Bad Habits"; "Lips Together, Teeth Apart"; "Love! Valour! Compassion!" (Obie, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards); "Dedication or the Stuff of Dreams" (Drama Desk nomination); and the film version of "Frankie and Johnny."
Lane took the stage to salute McNally with remarks ranging from poignant to hilarious – "Terrence McNally is the love child of a wild party between the Lunts and Noel Coward!"
Proceeds benefit Westport Country Playhouse - its work on stage, with schools, and throughout the community.
Hosting the event to honor McNally were actors Tyne Daly and Richard Thomas, who have appeared in McNally plays; Daly in "Master Class" and Thomas in "Unusual Acts of Devotion" and "The Stendhal Syndrome."
Directing the gala production was Josh Rhodes (film version of "Company," "Broadway Bares," "Sondheim: The Birthday Concert"); choreographers were Rhodes and Kristine Bendul (Broadway's "Movin' Out," NBC's "Smash"); and music director was Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations for "Company"; "The Addams Family," "Sweeney Todd," "Next to Normal").
Taking the stage to perform music and scenes from McNally's works were Malcolm Gets (Westport Country Playhouse's "Finian's Rainbow," Tony Award nominee for Broadway's "Amour"); John Glover (four McNally plays, including "Love! Valour! Compassion!" for which he won a Tony Award); Derek Klena ("Carrie," "Dogfight," television's "American Idol"); Marin Mazzie (Westport Country Playhouse's "The World Goes Round," Tony Award nominee for Broadway's "Ragtime"); Lindsay Mendez (Broadway's "Grease," 2011 revival of "Godspell"); Sean Palmer (Broadway's "The Little Mermaid," "Saturday Night Fever," "Fosse"); and Camille Zamora (opera, recital, and concert performances).
The Gala Committee included Katia and John Friend and Carlyn and Robert Stonehill, co-chairs; Karen Parrella, auction chair; Marjorie Barnes, Emily Boothroyd, Ania Czekaj-Farber, Michele Flaster, Angela Graham, Kim Harizman, Beth Hayes, Joanna Heimbold, Irma Hilton, Carole Hochman, Jennifer Huisking, Darlene Krenz, Mary Ellen Marpe, Mark Osgood, Judy Phares, Marjorie Treisman, and Judy Wetzel, committee members.
Photo Credit: Kathleen O'Rourke
Chad Beguelin, playwright; Terrence McNally, honoree; Mark Lamos, Westport Country Playhouse artistic director
Curtain Call with Kurt Froman, Kristine Bendul, Richard Thomas, John Glover, Tyne Daly, Camille Zamora, Marin Mazzie, Malcolm Gets, Sean Palmer, Lindsay Mendez, Derek Klena
Gala guests Nathan Lane, Joanna Gleason, and Jack O'Brien
Gala performers Camille Zamora, Marin Mazzie and Malcolm Gets, with Terrence McNally
Ann Sheffer, Westport Country Playhouse board of trustees member; Richard Thomas, gala host; Nathan Lane, guest; Tyne Daly, gala host; Terrence McNally, honoree
Michael Ross, Westport Country Playhouse managing director; Terrence McNally, gala honoree; Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director
Michael Ross, Westport Country Playhouse managing director; Robert Stonehill, gala co-chair; Terrence McNally, honoree; Katia and John Friend, gala co-chairs; Mark Lamos, artistic director. Absent from photo: Carlyn Stonehill, gala co-chair
James Earl Jones, Westport Country Playhouse board of trustees member, and wife Cecilia Hart; Michael Ross, Playhouse managing director
Elaine and Christopher Plummer, Westport Country Playhouse board of trustees member; Anne Keefe, Playhouse artistic advisor; James Naughton; Playhouse artist circle member
Tyne Daly and Richard Thomas, Westport Country Playhouse 2012 gala hosts
Nathan Lane, surprise guest. Background: Mary-Mitchell Campbell, music director