Hosted by Jane Lynch
PLUS…. STEPHANIE J. BLOCK, LENA HALL, CELINA JAITLY, GREG LOUGANIS, BILLY
PORTER, THOMAS ROBERTS, CHELY WRIGHT, MATT GOULD, GRIFFIN MATTHEWS, AND THE
CAST OF WITNESS UGANDA, THE CAST OF WICKED, THE CAST OF ONCE, THE CAST OF I
AM HARVEY MILK, AND MORE
(Performers are subject to change)
Written By: Dustin Lance Black
Directed By: Schele Williams
Produced By: Jayson Raitt
Musical Directed by: Alex Lacamoire
PERFORMING & PRESENTING
Jane cut her theatrical teeth at The Second City, Steppenwolf Theatre and in many church basements all over the greater Chicagoland area. Recent film credits include A.C.O.D, Three Stooges, Wreck-It Ralph, Julie & Julia, Shrek Forever After, and many others.Jane can currently be seen in the Ryan Murphy television series Glee on FOX for which she is an Emmy and Golden Globe winner for portraying the iconic television character, Sue Sylvester. Jane’s play Oh Sister, My Sister! had runs at the Tamarind Theatre and Bang Theater garnering the LA Weekly Comedy Ensemble of the Year Award. Jane also authored the autobiography Happy Accidents which topped several national best sellers list, including the New York and LA Times. Starting this May, Jane will be featured in the Broadway production of Annie as Miss Hannigan in a limited Broadway run at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theater in New York. She also will be seen hosting NBC’s newest game show hit, Hollywood Game Night, produced by Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner.
Composer, singer, author, actor, activist, Sting was born in Newcastle, England before moving to London in 1977 to form The Police with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers. The band released five albums and earned six Grammy awards. Since 1985, Sting has released 14 solo albums. His latest, The Last Ship, is inspired by the story of his new musical of the same name drawing upon his memories of the shipbuilding community in Wallsend where he was born and raised. “The Last Ship” will make its Broadway debut at the Neil Simon Theatre with previews beginning September 29 and opening night set for October 26. Sting is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has appeared in more than 15 films and authored two books, including the New York Times best-selling memoir, Broken Music. He has sold close to 100 million albums from his combined work with the Police and as a solo artist and has earned an additional 10 Grammy awards, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, and three Oscar nominations. His support for human rights organizations such as the Rainforest Fund, Amnesty International and Live Aid mirrors his art in its universal outreach. In December, Sting will receive the Kennedy Center Honors, one of the most prestigious cultural prizes in the United States. For further details, please visit:www.sting.com and www.thelastship.com.
Patti LuPone’s most recent New York stage appearances include David Mamet’s The Anarchist, Joanne in the NY Philharmonic’s concert production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, her debut with the New York City Ballet as guest soloist in the company’s production of The Seven Deadly Sins and as Lucia in the musical Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. A two-time Tony Award winner for her performances in Evita and in the 2008 critically acclaimed revival of Gypsy, her other memorable stage performances include Mrs. Lovett in Sondheim’sSweeney Todd (both on Broadway and at the NY Philharmonic), Fosca in Passion for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, and starring roles in the Broadway productions of Noises Off, The Old Neighborhood, Master Class, Anything Goes, Oliver!, and The Robber Bridegroom. She is the author of the NY Times best-seller Patti LuPone: A Memoir.
Stephanie J. Block
Stephanie J. Block received both the 2013 Tony Award and Drama Desk nomination for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Alice Nutting/Edwin Drood in The Roundabout Theatre’s production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Other Broadway credits include Reno Sweeney in the 2011 Tony Award winning revival of Anything Goes, 9 to 5: The Musical (Drama Desk Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical), The Pirate Queen, and The Boy From Oz (opposite Hugh Jackman). Ms. Block is best known for her portrayal as Elphaba in the Broadway company of Wicked as well as originating the role in the National Tour. Off-Broadway shows include Little Miss Sunshine (Drama Desk Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical), By the Way, and Meet Vera Stark (Drama Desk Nomination for Best Actress in a Play). Some of her regional credits include Funny Girl, James Joyce’s The Dead, Triumph of Love, and The Grass Harp. Her voice can be heard on numerous commercial jingles and recordings including her solo album “This Place I Know.”stephaniejblock.com
Matt Gould, Griffin Matthews, and the cast of Witness Uganda
Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews are the co-creators of the Broadway-bound musical, Witness Uganda, which premiered at the American Repertory Theater in winter 2014. The show has received critical acclaim, including a 2012 and 2014 Richard Rodgers Award and has been performed in concert around the world. Witness Uganda is based on the true story of Matthews’s journey to Uganda, where he “adopts” a group of orphans and learns to navigate the delicate balance between aid work and social interference, gay rights in Uganda, and the evolving responsibility of Americans abroad. www.witnessuganda.com
Celina Jaitly is an acclaimed Indian actress, United Nations Equality Champion, human rights and animal welfare activist, brand ambassador and writer. Celina has starred in series of highly successful Bollywood movies and other cinema film productions. She is the recipient of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) humanitarian award. Outside of her acting career and role as a social entrepreneur, Celina has devoted most of her time to advocating for the rights of members of the LGBT communities in India. She played an important role in bringing to the public eye the case for repeal of Section 377 of India’s criminal code, a colonial era provision that criminalized same-sex relationships. With the law now revoked, Celina continues to focus her boundless energy on her quest for greater respect for the rights of LGBT people in India and beyond.
Four-time Olympic champion, Greg Louganis is widely considered the greatest diver in history. The only male to sweep both the 3m and 10m diving events in consecutive Olympic Games (’84 and ’88), Greg earned a total of 5 Olympic medals, 5 World Championship titles and 47 national titles (more than anyone in U.S. history). In 1984, Greg received the AAU’s James E. Sullivan Award for outstanding achievements. The following year, he was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. In 1987, he won the Jesse Owens Award. In 1993, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. And in 1994, he was presented with the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Robert J. Kane Award. His 1995 autobiography, Breaking the Surface spent five weeks as the New York Times #1 best seller. Currently, Greg is a mentor for the US Olympic diving team, a judge for the Red Bull Cliff Diving Tour, a dog agility competitor in National AKC and USDAA, and a motivational speaker. He is the subject of a feature-length documentary film, Back on Board, and stars in both ABC’s Splash and Channel 7’s Celebrity Splash (Australia).
A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Billy Porter is a Tony Award, Grammy Award, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award winner for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Lola in the Tony Award winning Best Musical “Kinky Boots.” Other Broadway credits include: Miss Saigon, Five Guys Named Moe, Grease, Smokey Joe’s Café and Dreamgirls. His one-man show, Ghetto Superstar: The Man That I Am debuted at The Public Theater in NYC in conjunction with City Theatre of Pittsburgh and was nominated for a 2005 GLAAD Media Award. Film and Television credits include: “The Humbling” (w/ Al Pacino), “The Broken Hearts Club”, “Intern”, “Noel” (with Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams), and others. Recordings: Most recently Billy’s Back On Broadway (Concord), At The Corner Of Broadway + Soul – “LIVE” from Joe’s Pub, “Untitled” (A&M records), and many more. His original song “Time” has been featured thrice on the mega-hit television series “So You Think You Can Dance.” Billy’s first full length play “While I Yet Live,” is currently scheduled to debut Off-Broadway in conjunction with Primary Stages in the Fall of 2014.
A native of Atlanta, Ryan Shaw made his New York debut in Tyler Perry’s play I Know I’ve Been Changed. Mr. Shaw further made a name for himself doing Motown covers, joining the group Fabulous Soul Shakers. His first album, This is Ryan Shaw, for Columbia, earned him a 2008 Grammy nomination for “I Am Your Man.” He opened for Van Halen’s 2007-2008 North American tour. In 2011 Mr. Shaw received another Grammy nomination for “In Between,” and he has just received his third for “Yesterday” on his new CD, Real Love on Dynotone Records. He is currently playing Stevie Wonder on Broadway in Motown: The Musical; the cast album has also received a Grammy nomination His website is thisisryanshaw.com
Chely Wright rose to fame as a commercial country singer, having released eight studio albums selling more than 1,000,000 copies in the U.S. and charted more than 15 singles on the Billboard charts. On the strength of her debut album in 1994, the Academy of Country Music named Chely Top New Female Vocalist of 1995. Her first hit came in 1997 with “Shut Up and Drive” followed two years later by her first number one single, “Single White Female” and in 2005, the zeitgeist – capturing hit “The Bumper of My S.U.V.” In 2010, Chely Wright released her eighth album, “Lifted Off the Ground” produced by Rodney Crowell, revealing a dramatic artistic transformation and emerging as a singer songwriter of the first order. The album would never have come to be were it not for an equally dramatic personal transformation which she candidly and painstakingly documented in a memoir entitled “Like Me” published by Random House the same day. Chely made history by being the first country music star to come out publicly as gay.
The cast of I AM HARVEY MILK
Part choral work, part theater piece, I Am Harvey Milk, music and words by Tony and Grammy Award nominee Andrew Lippa, weaves the story of Harvey Milk’s life – from boyhood to becoming the first openly gay man to hold public office in California to his assassination. Tonight we present “Tired of the Silence” with Lippa as Milk, and a 16-member Broadway men’s chorus directed by Noah Himmelstein and musical directed by Paul Staroba. The NY premiere of I Am Harvey Milk will be on October 6 at Avery Fisher Hall, starring Andrew, Tony and Emmy Award winner Kristin Chenoweth and Noah Marlowe and featuring the Orchestra of St Luke’s and the 120 member All-Star Broadway Men’s Chorus. Produced by Academy Award Winner Bruce Cohen, Robb Nanus, Jessica Leventhal, and Tony Award winners Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, directed by Noah and musical directed by Joel Fram, the concert will benefit the Harvey Milk Arts Fund at the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI). Tickets are now on sale at http://www.iamharveymilk.com
The cast of ONCE
From the very first note, Once draws you in and never lets go. This emotionally captivating musical is the only show on Broadway to have music that won the Academy Award®, Grammy Award®, Olivier Award and Tony Award®. The New York Post says, this “gem of a show wins its standing ovations the old-fashioned way: with a love story, great songs, compelling characters and inventive stagecraft.” Set in modern day Dublin, Once is the story of a Guy who gave up on his music—and his love—and the Girl who inspired him to dream again. This exhilarating musical is performed by an extraordinary cast of actor-musicians who sing, dance and play their hearts out on stage. Directed and choreographed by the brilliant team of Tony Award-winner John Tiffany and Steven Hoggett (The Glass Menagerie), this theatrically breathtaking production will dazzle you with its originality, wit and unforgettable music. Featuring all of the magical songs from the critically-acclaimed film, including the Oscar-winning “Falling Slowly,” this achingly beautiful, joyously uplifting show strikes an unforgettable chord in audiences and speaks to the power of music to connect us all. A show like that only comes around Once.
The cast of WICKED
Winner of over 100 major awards, including the Grammy Award and three Tony Awards®, WICKED is the untold story of the witches of Oz. Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, WICKED has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and a book by Winnie Holzman. The production is directed by Joe Mantello, with musical staging by Wayne Cilento. WICKED has been playing at the Gershwin Theatre since October 2003, and is about to celebrate its 11th anniversary – it is the longest-running musical at this theatre, since it opened in 1972. Producers David Stone and Marc Platt, and the entire company of WICKED, are happy to host tonight’s benefit performance.
J. Bob Alotta
Filmmaker and technologist turned Executive Director, J. Bob Alotta leads the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. While based in New York City, Astraea addresses the most critical issues faced by LGBTQI people working for social, racial, gender, and economic justice around the globe. Through film and at Astraea, Bob engages philanthropists, government leaders, and community members to transform the marginalization of LGBTQI people in our societies. Representing a new generation of social change philanthropists, Bob’s work builds new models of social justice, expanding the relevance of rights and dignity for all LGBTQI people.
2014 Tony Winner Lena Hall is currently starring as Yitzhak in the hit Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry for which she won for Featured Actress in a Musical. Prior to Hedwig, she starred as Nicola in the Tony Award winning musical Kinky Boots. Previous Broadway and Off Broadway roles include starring in the award winning Toxic Avenger at New World Stages, Tarzan (Original Cast), Dracula (Original Cast), 42nd St ( Anytime Annie), Cats ( Demeter), Beg Bugs ( NYMF) and Green Eyes ( Fringe). TV and Film roles include “Young Miranda” in the Sex and the City film, The Stepford Wives, The Graduates, All My Children. Born and raised in San Francisco, Ca; Lena Hall traveled the world performing and received her first big break singing for Pope John Paul II at Candlestick Stadium for over 50,000 people at the young age of 7. Hall was a member of the Young People’s Teen Musical Theatre Company in San Francisco and at the age of 17, joined the national tour of ‘Cats’. When not on the Broadway stage, Lena performs with her band The Deafening. www.lenahall.com @LenaRockerHall @thedeafening
Kathy Najimy (director, actor, writer, activist, producer) is known for her memorable performances in over 25 films including Sister Act, RatRace & Hocus Pocus. Najimy is currently recurring on HBO’s VEEP. Also for TV, she appeared as a regular on The Big C, Numb3rs, for 14 seasons voiced “Peggy Hill” on the Emmy Award-winning King of the Hill & appeared for 3 seasons as Olive on NBC’s Veronica’s Closet. In the theater, Kathy starred as legendary Mae West in the hit Broadway play Dirty Blonde, and later at The Old Globe Theatre (Outer Critics Circle Best Actress). With Mo Gaffney, Najimy wrote and starred in The Kathy and Mo Show, her long-running feminist comedy off-Broadway play (Obie Award) that became two hit HBO specials. She is very proud to have been named Ms. Magazine WOMAN OF THE YEAR! Najimy is currently co-producing a project for HBO and created an idea for a Broadway Play for Lincoln Center Theater. Her solo show Lift Up Your Skirt is now being developed for the NYC stage, Kathy has been recognized with numerous honors for her enthusiastic work supporting women’s, girls, LGBT, AIDS, animal and reproductive rights. She is working towards abolishing the cruel horse carriage industry in NYC and lives here with her husband Dan Finnerty (The DanBand)& their 17-yr old daughter, singer/songwriter/ actor, Samia.
Thomas Roberts is an award-winning journalist who hosts MSNBC’s “Way Too Early” weekdays at 5:30am ET. He contributes regularly to “Morning Joe,” which airs on MSNBC weekdays from 6am-9am ET. Prior to joining the Morning Joe team, Thomas anchored MSNBC Live weekdays at 11am ET from December 2010 to January 2013. Roberts was made an official member of MSNBC’s dayside team in 2010. He resides in New York City with his husband, Patrick Abner, and their two dogs, Riley and Roxy.
Stephen Schwartz, Executive Producer
Stephen Schwartz wrote the music and lyrics for the current Broadway hits WICKED and PIPPIN, and also contributed music and/or lyrics to GODSPELL, THE MAGIC SHOW, THE BAKER’S WIFE, WORKING (which he also adapted and directed), RAGS, and CHILDREN OF EDEN. He has also worked in film, collaborating with Alan Menken on the songs for Disney’s ENCHANTED, POCAHONTAS and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, and writing the songs for the DreamWorks animated feature THE PRINCE OF EGYPT.
The current president of the Dramatists Guild, Mr. Schwartz has been inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and has been given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Awards include three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and a tiny handful of tennis trophies.
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Bruce Cohen, Executive Producer
Bruce Cohen is an Academy Award-winning producer of film, television, and theater. Cohen won the Best Picture Academy Award for producing AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999) along with Dan Jinks. He earned additional Best Picture nominations for MILK (2008) and SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012).
Among the other films Bruce has produced is BIG FISH (2003), directed by Tim Burton. Bruce was a lead producer of the stage musical version of BIG FISH, on Broadway last fall. In television, Cohen was executive producer of the ABC series PUSHING DAISIES, and he was also executive producer of the CBS special MOVIES ROCK and was nominated for an Emmy in 2011 for producing the 83rd ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS.
Cohen is a National Board Member of the Producer’s Guild of America, having served two terms as vice president of motion pictures, and is on the Executive Committee of the Producer’s Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is president of the Board of Directors of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group behind the recently successful Supreme Court case to have California’s Proposition 8 declared unconstitutional. He is married to Gabe Catone and they have a three year old daughter.
Alex Lacamoire, Musical Director
Alex won a Tony and a Grammy as the music supervisor, co-orchestrator and cast album producer of In The Heights.Other credits as music director, arranger and/or orchestrator: Wicked; Bring It On; 9 To 5 (Drama Desk and Grammy nominations); Annie (2011 B’way revival); Working (59E59); The People In The Picture; Legally Blonde; High Fidelity; Bat Boy: The Musical, Fly (Dallas Theater Center), and the 2001 National Tour of Godspell. He has also composed songs for Sesame Street on PBS.
Schele Williams, Director
Schele is the associate director for Motown the Musical. She also an adjunct professor at The New Studio on Broadway at NYU. Directing credits: Permanent Collection¬, His Eye is on the Sparrow – Human Race Theatre OH, Ben Vereen Concert Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C, From Broadway to Bourbon Street – Gershwin Theatre, Hairspray! – Weston Playhouse, Aida -Ogunquit Theatre MA, Piece- Palo Alto, Piece at NYMTF and NAMT. Schele produced and directed Defying Inequality a Celebrity Benefit for Marriage Equality and From Broadway to Bourbon Street both at the Gershwin Theatre. She is the recipient of two proclamations one from the city of New York for her work on Defying Inequality; the other from the City of Dayton for her direction of His Eye is on the Sparrow- the Ethel Waters story. She is the co founder of Blink Twice Productions.
Jayson Raitt, Producer
Jayson Raitt is an independent producer with extensive background in producing and developing new musical theatre. He produced Murder for Two in NYC and regionally; a national tour starts this October. He is currently represented on Broadway by Rock of Ages (5 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical). Recent producing credits include Love Makes the World Go ‘Round, a new musical featuring the songs of Bob Merrill (Funny Girl, Carnival, “How Much is that Doggie in the Window,” “Mambo Italiano”); a musical adaptation of Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory; live television appearances by Christina Aguilera and dancers from the movie Burlesque on “Dancing with the Stars,” “The American Music Award,” and the UK’s “X Factor”; Vanities, A New Musical; concerts in Poland and Israel which were the backdrop for the documentary film 100 Voices: A Journey Home; Make Me A Song: The Music of William Finn Off-Broadway and in London; appearances by the cast of the movie Hairspray on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Today Show,” and the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”; and Being Alive, an all-Black Stephen Sondheim revue created and directed by Billy Porter. Upcoming new musicals include Nine Wives (by Douglas J. Cohen and Dan Elish) and a musical adaptation of Great Expectations. Jayson spent seven years on the producing team at Pasadena Playhouse. He attended the University of Michigan and the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television’s Producers Program.
Dustin Lance Black, Writer
Propper Daley, Uprising of Love Campaign Managers
Operating at the intersection of entertainment and public policy, Propper Daley partners with like-minded individuals, organizations, corporations and causes to create transformational social change. Propper Daley partners with clients who have the personal, financial and/or social capital to serve as catalysts and champions for meaningful causes and ideas. We work closely with these individuals, organizations, companies and causes to develop and implement unique “theories of change” and to design and execute highly leveraged engagement strategies and campaigns that are holistically inclusive of social media, nonprofit philanthropy, corporate partnerships and government relations.