Playwrights Horizons Annual Gala

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Well, even though I won’t talk about when I was a 17-year-old intern at Playwrights Horizons, working for the Prop Master who couldn’t have been less condescending if he stood on a stool and bellowed, I’ve come to love and trust and admire the company tremendously. If you can make their annual gala and give generously, you should. And of course the gala stars my lady, Christine Ebersole!

Anyway, here’s the poop!

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PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS TO HOLD ITS
ANNUAL “HIGH STANDARDS” GALA BENEFIT
ON MONDAY EVENING, APRIL 16th
AT GUASTAVINO’S

EVENING TO STAR
TONY AWARD WINNER & GREY GARDENS STAR
CHRISTINE EBERSOLE
WITH BILLY STRITCH

Preview and preliminary bidding for special Silent Auction to begin online the week of March 26 at www.playwrightshorizons.org

NEW YORK, NY – Acclaimed Off-Broadway theater company Playwrights Horizons (Tim Sanford, Artistic Director; Leslie Marcus, Managing Director) will hold its annual High Standards Gala Benefit on Monday evening, April 16th at Guastavino’s (409 East 59th Street).

The evening will star Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole, the rapturously-acclaimed leading lady of the current hit Broadway musical Grey Gardens, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons last spring. For her performance in the musical, Ms. Ebersole received the Obie Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, a special Citation from the New York Drama Critics, and the Drama League’s 2006 Award for Performance of the Year, a distinction also bestowed on her by The New York Times and New York Magazine.

At the Gala, Ms. Ebersole will perform with her longtime collaborator, jazz pianist and singer Billy Stritch. The two were recently honored by the 2007 Nightlife Awards as Outstanding Duo for their celebrated engagement at The Metropolitan Room last summer.

The evening will also include a special Silent Auction. Preview and preliminary bidding will begin online the week of March 26 at www.playwrightshorizons.org. Auction items will include:

2 tickets to 2 shows at New York Fashion Week
A 2-night stay at the luxury resort Acqualina in Sunny Isles Beach, FL
2 tickets to Grey Gardens with an exclusive backstage tour
Dinner for 2 at such restaurants as Gramercy Tavern, B.R. Guest Restaurants, Josephina, and Chez Josephine
Getaway to a historic private home in Stratford-upon-Avon
Round of golf and lunch for 3 at the Westchester Country Club
Bracelet by red-hot jewelry designer David Yurman
A one-of-a-kind doghouse designed and custom built by the Playwrights Horizons production department
2 rentals from the TDF Costume Collection for Halloween
Tickets to such Broadway shows as Talk Radio, Journey’s End, A Chorus Line, Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera.

Cocktails and Silent Auction will begin at 6:00 PM, followed by dinner at 7:45 PM. Ms. Ebersole and Mr. Stritch will perform beginning at 9PM.

PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS, under the leadership of Artistic Director Tim Sanford and Managing Director Leslie Marcus, is a writer’s theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American playwrights, composers and lyricists, and to the production of their new work. In its 36 years, Playwrights Horizons has presented the work of more than 375 writers and has received numerous awards and honors. Notable productions include four Pulitzer Prize winners: Doug Wright’s I Am My Own Wife (2004 Tony Award, Best Play), Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles (1989 Tony Award, Best Play), Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park with George, as well as Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie’s Grey Gardens (2006 Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical), Bruce Norris’s The Pain and the Itch, Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation (2005 Obie Award for Playwriting), Craig Lucas’s Small Tragedy (2004 Obie Award, Best American Play), Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero, Kirsten Childs’s The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey’s James Joyce’s The Dead, William Finn’s March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, Christopher Durang’s Betty’s Summer Vacation and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Richard Nelson’s Goodnight Children Everywhere and Franny’s Way, Jon Robin Baitz’s The Substance of Fire, Scott McPherson’s Marvin’s Room, A.R. Gurney’s Later Life, Adam Guettel and Tina Landau’s Floyd Collins and Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley’s Violet.

CHRISTINE EBERSOLE received the Obie Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, a special Citation from the New York Drama Critics and the Drama League’s 2006 Award for Performance of the Year for her dual roles as Edith and Edie Beale in Grey Gardens. Her Broadway credits include Steel Magnolias, Dinner at Eight (Tony and Outer Critics Circle nominations), 42nd Street (2001 Tony and Outer Critics Circle awards), The Best Man, Getting Away with Murder, Harrigan ‘n Hart, Camelot (opposite Richard Burton and Richard Harris), Oklahoma!, On the Twentieth Century, I Love My Wife, and Angel Street. Off-Broadway credits include Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads (2003 Obie and Outer Critics Circle awards, Drama Desk nom.), Three Sisters, Geniuses, and four Encores! concerts. Regional credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Old Globe), Mame, Evita, My Fair Lady, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, and Laughing Wild. Films include Tootsie, Amadeus, Dead Again, Richie Rich, Black Sheep, Folks!, True Crime, Till There Was You, My Favorite Martian, Thief of Hearts, and My Girl 2. Television includes “Saturday Night Live” (series regular 81-82 season), “Gypsy” with Bette Midler, “One Life to Live” (Emmy nom.), “Ryan’s Hope,” “The Cavanaughs” (with the late great Barnard Hughes), “Valerie,” “Ink,” “Related” and guest appearances on “Will & Grace,” “Just Shoot Me,” “Murphy Brown” and “Ally McBeal.” CD’s include In Your Dreams, Live at the Cinegrill with Billy Stritch, and the newly-released Grey Gardens. Visit Christine at www.christineebersole.com.

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Pianist and singer BILLY STRITCH is one of the premier performers on the jazz and nightclub scene. His many albums include Billy Stritch, Waters of March, Jazz Live, and In Your Dreams (the latter with Christine Ebersole). Stritch has performed all over the United States and internationally in such famed venues as Rainbow and Stars, The Russian Tea Room, The Palais de Congres in Paris, The Municipale in Rio de Janeiro, The Russiya in Moscow, NHK Hall in Tokyo, and The Royal Albert Hall in London. He also appeared with Chita Rivera and Tommy Tune in a tribute to Jule Styne at the Palladium in London. He made his Broadway debut as Oscar in the Tony-winning revival of 42nd Street. At Broadway’s legendary Palace Theatre, he was arranger, vocal arranger, and musical supervisor for Liza Minnelli’s Minnelli on Minnelli and co-produced the live recording with Phil Ramone. Stritch also served as musical supervisor and vocal arranger for Minnelli’s Liza Live from Radio City Music Hall, and writes arrangements for her concert appearances. He was associate producer, pianist, and arranger for her album Gently, which earned two 1996 Grammy nominations. Stritch also frequently performs in concert with Christine Ebersole. He and Sandy Knox wrote the 1994 Grammy Award-winning song “Does He Love You?,” which was recorded by Reba McEntire and sold over four million copies. His many television appearances include “Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall,” “The Today Show,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Charlie Rose Show,” and “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.”

Ticket prices for the Gala Benefit start at $800 and can be reserved by calling Cynthia Flowers, Development Associate, at (212) 564-1235 extension 3145, or Jill Garland, Director of Development, at extension 3140. www.playwrightshorizons.org.

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Leonard Jacobs

Leonard Jacobs is Founder and Executive Editor of The Clyde Fitch Report, and owner and operator of Clyde Fitch, LLC, a media and information company at the nexus of arts and politics.