American Theatre Wing Raises $750,000, Increases Grants to Theatres

by Jacob Coakley
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The American Theatre Wing increased their giving this year,On Monday, Sept. 15, the American Theatre Wing held their annual gala, honoring Dame Angela Lansbury, for her lifetime of contributions to the theatre. The gala raised a record $750,000 for the Wing’s education and outreach programs. Heather Hitchens, president of the Wing, announced that the event’s success enabled the Wing to increase their National Theatre Company Grants by 20%, to $12,000 for each theatre. This year’s recipients were: Amphibian Stage Productions (Fort Worth, Texas), Ars Nova (New York, New York), Forum Theatre (Silver Spring, Maryland), Keen Company (New York, New York), PlayGround (San Francisco, California) , Red Bull Theater (New York, NY), Rogue Machine Theatre (Los Angeles, California), The House Theatre of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois), the TEAM (Brooklyn, New York), Theater Wit (Chicago, Illinois), Theatre B (Fargo, North Dakota), and Williamston Theatre (Williamston, Michigan).

THE AMERICAN THEATRE WING RAISES A RECORD-BREAKING $750,000 AT ANNUAL GALA THIS PAST MONDAY EVENING
BROADWAY LEGEND DAME ANGELA LANSBURY HONORED BY A GLITTERING ARRAY OF BROADWAY TALENT AT THE PLAZA HOTEL

New York, NY (September 17, 2014) – The American Theatre Wing (William Ivey Long, Chairman, Board of Trustees; Heather Hitchens, President) announced today that its annual gala, held this past Monday evening at the Plaza Hotel, was the most successful in the organization’s history, raising over $750,000 (besting the previous record, which was set in 2013, by more than $50,000). All proceeds from the evening will benefit the education and outreach programs of the American Theatre Wing, which include SpringboardNYC, the Theatre Intern Network, the National Theatre Company Grants and the Jonathan Larson Grants®, and will also support free access for students, aspiring professionals, and the general public to programming on AmericanTheatreWing.org, including the long running “Working in the Theatre” media program.

Heather Hitchens announced from the stage that the event’s success has allowed the American Theatre Wing to increase the National Theatre Company Grants by 20% this year.  The recipients of those grants will be announced shortly.

The sold-out, black-tie event was held at The Plaza Hotel and honored Broadway legend Dame Angela Lansbury for her lifelong dedication and invaluable contributions to the theatrical community. The evening’s program featured a selection of numbers, performed by a glittering array of Broadway stars, including Glenn Close, Harvey Fierstein, James Monroe Iglehart, Christine Ebersole, and Len CariouWilliam Ivey Long, Harold Prince, James Earl Jones, and Sir Howard Stringer presented Ms. Lansbury with her honor. 

“I am so proud of this Gala! The extraordinary outpouring of love for Angela Lansbury and support for the Wing was just incredibly moving, and a powerful reminder of why we all love the theatre,” enthused Ms. Hitchens. “The fact that it was also the most successful in our history from a fundraising perspective is just an amazing bonus, and we will put that money to good work supporting emerging theatre artists and companies across the country.”

Among the glittering attendees were Dan Rather, Judy Collins, Jordan Roth, Susan Stroman, Kenny Leon, Roger Rees, Rick Elice, Kate Burton, Jim Dale, Pia Lindstrom, Pauletta Washington, Tonya Lewis Lee, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Marva Hicks Taha, Laura Osnes, Liz Claman, Edward Herrmann, Marin Mazzie, Jason Danieley, Adam Jacobs, Courtney Reed, Steve Blanchard. Anki Leeds, CeCe Black, Marva Smalls, and Sir Howard Stringer served as Gala co-chairs.

Additional revenue for the American Theatre Wing is being generated by a group of exclusive online auctions, hosted by Charitybuzz.com, including a week-long stay in Paris (along with tickets to the World Premiere of An American In Paris) and one-of-a-kind personal experiences with Neil Patrick Harris, director Jack O’Brien, and William Ivey Long.  Bidding on these items is open until Thursday, September 18 at 1:00 p.m. (EDT).   For the complete details on these auction items and to place a bid, please visit http://www.charitybuzz.com/support/americantheatrewing.

Key support for this year’s gala was led by Viacom, as well as Adrienne Arsht, Sony Corporation of America, Melissa Sage Fadim, and Enid Nemy and the Dorothy Strelsin Foundation.

Dame Angela Lansbury has enjoyed an extraordinary career spanning more than seventy years, first as a star of motion pictures, and as an award-winning stage actor in New York and London. Most recently on Broadway, she appeared as Mrs. Sue-Ellen Gamadge in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, and as Madame Armfeldt in Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music (Tony Award® nomination). For her energetic portrayal of Madame Arcati in the 2009 revival of Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit, she won her fifth Tony Award®, as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. She received her four other Tonys for her triumphant leading-actress turns in the musicals Mame in 1966, Dear World in 1968, the Gypsy revival in 1974, and Sweeney Todd in 1979.

From 1984 to 1996, she made television history starring as Jessica Fletcher on “Murder, She Wrote,” the longest-running detective drama series in TV history, winning four of her six Golden Globe Awards. In November 2013, Angela received an Honorary Oscar “for her extravagant achievements in cinematic industry of her career of 75 years.” She also received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2000. In 1994, Queen

Elizabeth named her a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and promoted to Dame Commander in 2014. Married in 1949, she and husband Peter Shaw worked together until his death in 2003. She has three children and three grandchildren.

The American Theatre Wing (William Ivey Long, Chairman, Board of Trustees; Heather Hitchens, President) is dedicated to advancing artistic excellence and nurturing theatre’s next generation: on stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience.

For nearly a century, the Wing has pursued this mission with programs that span the nation to invest in the growth and evolution of American Theatre. Traditionally, the Wing has encouraged members of the theatre community to share their off-stage time and talent directly with the theatre audience at large--whether it was singing for the troops in the Stage Door Canteen of the 1940's, or sharing their stories on a podcast today.

As the founders of The Tony Awards®, the American Theatre Wing has developed the foremost national platform for the recognition of theatrical achievement on Broadway. The Wing recently became the new home of the OBIES, Off and Off-Off Broadway’s highest honor, in a partnership with the Village Voice. Yet the Wing's reach extends beyond New York. The Wing develops the next generation of theatre professionals through the SpringboardNYC and Theatre Intern Group programs, incubates innovative theatre across the country through the National Theatre Company Grants, fosters the song of American theatre through the Jonathan Larson Grants, and illuminates the creative process through the “Working in the Theatre” program and media archive.

Visitors to americantheatrewing.org can get inspired and gain insight into the artistic process through the Wing’s extensive media collection, and learn more about its programming for students, aspiring and working professionals, and audiences.

Follow the Wing on Facebook.com/TheAmericanTheatreWing and Twitter.com/TheWing.

AMERICAN THEATRE WING ANNOUNCES RECIPIENTS OF 2014 NATIONAL THEATRE COMPANY GRANTS
NUMBER OF RECIPIENTS HAS BEEN INCREASED TO TWELVE THEATRE COMPANIES FROM COAST TO COAST

AMOUNT OF EACH GRANT HAS BEEN INCREASED BY 20%

New York, NY (September 18, 2014) – The American Theatre Wing (William Ivey Long, Chairman, Board of Trustees; Heather Hitchens, President) has announced the recipients of its 2014 National Theatre Company Grants.  This year’s recipients are: Amphibian Stage Productions (Fort Worth, Texas), Ars Nova (New York, New York), Forum Theatre (Silver Spring, Maryland), Keen Company (New York, New York), PlayGround (San Francisco, California) , Red Bull Theater (New York, NY), Rogue Machine Theatre (Los Angeles, California), The House Theatre of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois), the TEAM (Brooklyn, New York), Theater Wit (Chicago, Illinois), Theatre B (Fargo, North Dakota), and Williamston Theatre (Williamston, Michigan).

Grants for the 2014 cycle in the amount of $12,000 each will be distributed for general operating support to these companies which, according to grant guidelines, have been in operation at least five, but not more than fifteen years, have articulated a distinctive mission, cultivated an audience, and nurtured a community of artists in ways that strengthen and demonstrate the quality, diversity, and dynamism of American theatre. 

As was previously announced, the funding for these grants has been increased due to the success of this year’s American Theatre Wing Gala, which took in more than $750,000 on Monday, September 15, besting all previous records.  

“We are particularly proud to be able to benefit twelve theater companies this year, and with larger grants,” Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing, commented.  “These companies have proven themselves vital to their respective communities, and we know they will put this funding to good use and continue to do great work.”

The American Theatre Wing has long shown its dedication to not-for-profit theatres through its Theatre Company Grants Program. After many years during which eligibility was restricted to New York City companies, 2010 marked a significant change in the granting of The Wing, resulting from extensive review by the organization’s Board of Trustees.  The ATW Grants have distributed some $3 million dollars over the past 55 years.  For more information on the ATW’s National Theatre Company Grants, visit: americantheatrewing.org/grants/. The application period for 2015 grants will open in the spring of next year.

The American Theatre Wing (William Ivey Long, Chairman, Board of Trustees; Heather Hitchens, President) is dedicated to advancing artistic excellence and nurturing theatre’s next generation: on stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience.

For nearly a century, the Wing has pursued this mission with programs that span the nation to invest in the growth and evolution of American Theatre. Traditionally, the Wing has encouraged members of the theatre community to share their off-stage time and talent directly with the theatre audience at large--whether it was singing for the troops in the Stage Door Canteen of the 1940's, or sharing their stories on a podcast today.

As the founders of The Tony Awards®, the American Theatre Wing has developed the foremost national platform for the recognition of theatrical achievement on Broadway. The Wing recently became the new home of the OBIES®, Off and Off-Off Broadway’s highest honor, in a partnership with the Village Voice. Yet the Wing's reach extends beyond New York. The Wing develops the next generation of theatre professionals through the SpringboardNYC and Theatre Intern Network programs, incubates innovative theatre across the country through the National Theatre Company Grants, fosters the song of American theatre through the Jonathan Larson Grants, and illuminates the creative process through the “Working in the Theatre” program and media archive.

Visitors to americantheatrewing.org can get inspired and gain insight into the artistic process through the Wing’s extensive media collection, and learn more about its programming for students, aspiring and working professionals, and audiences.

Follow the Wing on Facebook.com/TheAmericanTheatreWing and Twitter.com/TheWing.

Mission Statements____________________________________________________

Amphibian Stage Productions Located in Fort Worth, Texas, Amphibian Stage Productions seeks to produce innovative and engaging works of theatre that challenge the way we see the world around us. The company believes that theatre has the ability to forge a unique dialogue between performers and audience members enabling their desire to infuse new energy into this important art form. The company is widely recognized for its stylistically and thematically varied scripts that foster a deeper understanding of ourselves as members of the global community.

Ars Nova is committed to developing and producing theater, comedy and music artists in the early stages of their professional careers. Located in New York, NY the company’s unique development programs are designed to support outside-the-box thinking and encourage innovative, genre-bending work. By providing a safe environment where risk-taking and collaboration are paramount, Ars Nova gives voice to a new generation of artists and audiences, pushing the boundaries of live entertainment by nurturing creative ideas into smart, surprising new work. 

 

Forum Theatre Located in Silver Spring, Maryland, Forum Theatre produces adventurous, relevant, and challenging plays from a diversity of voices that inspire discussion and build community -- and that are accessible, affordable, and entertaining. The company has aimed to be both the home for stories that provoke discussion and the place to host that discussion and want their plays to be a conversation with the audience. Known for strong ensemble casts, ambitious design concepts, and community focus – the company is committed to diverse programming reflecting the experiences and identities of their audience and neighbors.

 

Keen Company Located in New York, NY, Keen Company creates theater that provokes identification, reflection and emotional connection. In intimate productions of plays and musicals, the company tells stories in which people strive to live with integrity. Through its educational arm, Keen develops and produces new plays for high school audiences, expanding the repertoire of plays available for young people and creating new generations that embrace theatre. Keen seeks to build a lasting community of artists and audiences who share a passion for theater that champions sincerity and speaks to life’s profound moments.

 

PlayGround Located in San Francisco, CA, PlayGround is a leading Bay Area playwright incubator and theatre community hub. The mission of PlayGround is to support the development of significant new local voices for the theatre.  More than just another play development program, PlayGround fosters the creation of a true theatre community by nurturing the collaborative process between early career playwrights and established, professional actors and directors. The beneficiaries of our efforts are the writers, their collaborators and the audiences these artists serve – today and in the future.

 

Red Bull Theater Located in New York, NY, Red Bull Theater is dedicated to the presentation of vital and imaginative productions of heightened language plays and to the development of new plays written in a similar vein. With the Jacobean plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries as its cornerstone, Red Bull Theater engages the intellect and imagination of today's theatergoers through intimate and evocative stagings of great classic stories. Red Bull Theater aims to be in the vanguard of a new classical theater for the new century, creating a home for plays of heightened language and epic expression in intimate, imaginative productions.

Rogue Machine Theatre serves the greater Los Angeles, California community in developing and nurturing emerging playwrights, introducing important contemporary works to Southern California, and engaging diverse audiences by presenting vital, invigorating productions. The company seeks to heighten public conversation on social and cultural issues by examining and evoking dialogue about who, what, where, and how we are as a culture.

The House Theatre of Chicago unites Chicago, IL in the spirit of community through amazing feats of storytelling. The universality of the company’s stories makes The House the favorite of many non-traditional and younger theatre goers. The House Theatre of Chicago uses myth and spectacle to transform the landscape of theatre into a socially open and welcoming place for their community to engage in the ritual of storytelling. While the stories that they tell are epic in scope, the experience of them is intimate. The company brings people together, and in the tradition of Greek theatre, gives them a forum in which to laugh, cry, and experience catharsis together.

 

the TEAM The TEAM is a Brooklyn, NY based ensemble that creates new performance works that examine the experience of living in America today, and generates dialogue about our nation's past, present and future through national and international touring. Described as “Gertrude Stein meets MTV,” the company’s work crashes American history and mythology into modern stories to illuminate the current moment. They combine aggressive athleticism with emotional performances and intellectual rigor, keeping the brain, eyes and heart of the audience constantly stimulated.

 

Theater Wit Located in Chicago, IL, Theater Wit is led by four core values. Through laughter, Theater Wit connects with its community, building strong relationships of openness, trust, and camaraderie. With empathy and relevance, Theater Wit builds its programming, telling the stories of its community. With agility, TW makes critical and innovative decisions, creating new models and collaborative opportunities that address core challenges. The company provides an exceptional neighborhood theater experience for Chicago audiences, uniting its own aesthetic commitment to humor, surprise, intimacy and honest humanity with the finest contemporary work by its peers.

 

Theatre B Located in Fargo, ND, Theatre B engages regional audiences through innovative productions that are culturally and artistically invigorating. The company values creative work of high artistic integrity; a healthy ensemble and intentional family; the ongoing development of displaced professionals and emerging artists; thought-provoking art as inspiration for social action; the responsible stewardship of all resources; and the theatre as integral to a healthy cultural community.  The vision of Theatre B is to become a professional regional theatre built around a resident ensemble and enmeshed in the fabric of the community.

 

Williamston Theatre produces professional theatre that excites and engages audiences in Williamston, MI, while challenging us all to explore our lives. Williamston Theatre is an integral part of the cultural fabric of Michigan, making theatre for, by and about the people in this part of the world. The company pursues innovative collaboration in every aspect of their work, to establish a home for Midwest artists and engage audiences of diverse ages, cultures and economic backgrounds.