THE ACTORS FUND VIRTUAL GALA TO BE HELD ON NOVEMBER 2
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
THE ACTORS FUND
TONY AWARD®-WINNING ACTOR
EMMY AWARD®-WINNING ACTOR, PRODUCER AND BUSINESS OWNER
SARAH JESSICA PARKER
FOUNDING MEMBER AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM
TONY AWARD-WINNING ACTOR AND CHAIRMAN OF THE ACTORS FUND
BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL
ACADEMY AWARD®-WINNING PRODUCER, CO-OWNER OF THE NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS AND PHILANTHROPIST
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR AND CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATIONS (AFL-CIO) PRESIDENT
RICHARD L. TRUMKA
AT THEIR VIRTUAL GALA
ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2020 at 7:00 PM ET
New York, NY (October 5, 2020) – The Actors Fund, the national human services organization for everyone in performing arts and entertainment, will hold its first-ever Virtual Gala on Monday, November 2, 2020 at 7:00pm ET. The evening will celebrate The Actors Fund and the 35th anniversary of Career Transition For Dancers, a program of The Fund, while also honoring Tony Award-winning actor Matthew Broderick and Emmy Award-winning actor, producer, and business owner Sarah Jessica Parker; founding member and Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem Virginia Johnson; Tony Award-winning actor and Chairman of The Actors Fund Brian Stokes Mitchell; Academy Award-winning producer, co-owner of the New York Football Giants, and philanthropist Steve Tisch; and American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) President Richard L. Trumka as they receive The Actors Fund’s Medal of Honor.
For photos of the honorees, click here.
The virtual event begins at 7 pm ET and will include special tribute performances by artists to be announced. Guests will join together online to support The Actors Fund’s services that foster stability and resiliency and provide a safety net over the lifespan of members of the performing arts and entertainment industry. Since March, The Actors Fund has distributed more than $16 million in emergency financial assistance to more than 13,500 people in need.
“It’s fitting that we recognize Matthew, Sarah Jessica, Virginia, Steve and Richard—each accomplished leaders in their fields who reflect the excellence we strive for in all of our services,” said Joseph P. Benincasa, President and CEO of The Actors Fund. “In addition, we’re proud to celebrate 35 years of Career Transition For Dancers and all of our services to the dance community, and to recognize the incredible Brian Stokes Mitchell for his 16-year-run as our Chairman. Stokes’s spirit of generosity and collaboration, and his inspired leadership continue to ensure that our services respond to the entertainment community’s needs, and remain true to our mission of supporting a life in the arts.”
Virtual tickets to the benefit begin at $1,500 and include access to a private link for the evening’s gala tributes and entertainment. To host a virtual table and for sponsorships, call 212.627.1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information and updates, visit actorsfund.org/Gala2020.
THE ACTORS FUND
The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that fosters stability and resiliency, and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan. Through offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Fund serves everyone in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance with programs including social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and secondary employment and training services.
Matthew Broderick will return to Broadway next spring in Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite opposite Sarah Jessica Parker directed by John Benjamin Hickey. He most recently starred in The Starry Messenger at Wyndham’s Theater in London’s West End. In 2018, he appeared in The Seafarer at the Irish Repertory Theater and The Closet at the Williamstown Theater Festival. Previously, he was seen in The New Group’s Evening at the Talk House at the Pershing Square Signature Center and in Shining City at the Irish Repertory Theatre (Obie Award). Prior to that, he starred in A. R. Gurney’s comedy Sylvia alongside Annaleigh Ashford. He made his stage debut at 17 in Horton Foote’s On Valentine’s Day opposite his father, James Broderick. Off-Broadway: Torch Song Trilogy (Outer Critics Circle, Villager Award), The Widow Claire. Broadway: Brighton Beach Memoirs (Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Theatre World awards), Biloxi Blues, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle awards), Night Must Fall, Taller Than a Dwarf, The Producers (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations), Roundabout Theatre Company’s The Foreigner, The Philanthropist, The Odd Couple, Nice Work If You Can Get It and It’s Only a Play. TV: “The Music Man” on ABC and “Master Harold and the Boys” on Showtime. Films include: Max Dugan Returns, WarGames, 1918, On Valentine’s Day, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Project X, Ladyhawke, Biloxi Blues, Glory, Family Business, The Freshman, The Lion King, Infinity (directed by Mr. Broderick and written by his mother Patricia Broderick), The Cable Guy, Addicted to Love, Inspector Gadget, Election, You Can Count on Me, The Last Shot, Marie and Bruce, Strangers with Candy, Wonderful World, the film adaptation of The Producers, Bee Movie, Then She Found Me, Finding Amanda, Tower Heist, Rules Don’t Apply and Manchester By The Sea.
Sarah Jessica Parker has worked in theater, on and off Broadway, since 1976 when she debuted on Broadway in The Innocents directed by Harold Pinter. Other Broadway credits include: the title role in Annie, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Once Upon A Mattress. Next spring, she will return to Broadway in Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite opposite Matthew Broderick, directed by John Benjamin Hickey. Off-Broadway credits include Sylvia (originated titled role Manhattan Theatre Club, Spring 1995: Drama Desk nomination 1995), The Substance of Fire by Jon Robin Baitz (Playwrights Horizons, Lincoln Center Theater), The Heidi Chronicles by Wendy Wasserstein (Playwrights Horizons), To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday (the original production, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Circle in the Square), April Snow by Romulus Linney (Ensemble Studio Theatre), and By Strouse (Manhattan Theatre Club). Parker starred in HBO’s highly acclaimed television series “Sex and The City” from 1998-2004 for which she received an Emmy and four Golden Globe Awards. She reprised her role for the screen adaptation of the hit series with the theatrical releases of Sex and The City and Sex and The City 2. Past film credits include Here and Now, I Don’t Know How She Does It, Smart People, Failure To Launch, The Family Stone, State and Main, Mars Attacks!, Ed Wood, The First Wives Club, Miami Rhapsody, Honeymoon in Vegas, Footloose and L.A. Story. Parker recently starred in HBO’s “Divorce” for three seasons and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance. Other television credits include “Equal Justice” and “Square Pegs”. Parker currently serves as a Vice-Chairman of The Board of Directors for the New York City Ballet.
A founding member of Dance Theatre of Harlem, Virginia Johnson was one of its principal ballerinas over a career that spanned nearly 30 years. After retiring in 1997, Ms. Johnson went on to found Pointe Magazine and was editor-in chief for 10 years. A native of Washington, D.C., Ms. Johnson began her training with Therrell Smith. She studied with Mary Day at the Washington School of Ballet and graduated from the Academy of the Washington School of Ballet. She went on to be a University Scholar in the School of the Arts at New York University before joining Dance Theatre of Harlem. Virginia Johnson is universally recognized as one of the great ballerinas of her generation and is perhaps best known for her performances in the ballets Giselle, A Streetcar Named Desire and Fall River Legend. She has received such honors as a Young Achiever Award from the National Council of Women, Outstanding Young Woman of America Award, the Dance Magazine Award, a Pen and Brush Achievement Award, the Washington Performing Arts Society’s 2008-2009 Pola Nirenska Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2009 Martha Hill Fund Mid-Career Award.
Brian Stokes Mitchell Dubbed “the last leading man” by the New York Times, Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a career that spans Broadway, television, film and concert appearances with the country’s finest conductors and orchestras. He received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for his star turn in Kiss Me, Kate. He also gave Tony-nominated performances in Man of La Mancha, August Wilson’s King Hedley II and Ragtime. Other notable Broadway shows include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly’s Last Jam, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Shuffle Along. In 2016 he was awarded his second Tony Award, the prestigious Isabelle Stevenson Award for his Charitable work with The Actors Fund. That same year Stokes was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. An extremely versatile and in-demand singer, Stokes has performed at venues spanning jazz, opera, pops, country and musical theater worlds. He has worked with John Williams, Marvin Hamlisch, Gustavo Dudamel, Keith Lockhart, Michael Tilson Thomas, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Big Band, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Muppets. Stokes has made multiple appearances at Carnegie Hall beginning with his debut with the San Francisco Symphony through his televised performance in South Pacific opposite Reba McEntire to his sold-out solo concert, which he continues to perform throughout the U.S. He has been invited twice to perform at the White House (both times aired on PBS’s “Great Performances”) and has performed multiple times for Presidents Clinton and Obama. Stokes has delved deeply into various music disciplines. In addition to singing he began piano studies at the age of 6. A self-professed autodidact, his musical curiosity led him to teach himself composing, arranging and orchestration, starting in his teens. He later studied film scoring, orchestration and conducting both privately and through UCLA, and subsequently scored and conducted a number of “Trapper John, MD” episodes, a series on which he was also a regular cast member. His musical talent has extended to the present day as producer, arranger and orchestrator on his three solo albums including “Simply Broadway” and his latest recording “Plays With Music”. Stokes has appeared on more than 20 albums. His extensive screen credits began with a guest starring role on Roots: The next Generations, followed by a 7-year stint on “Trapper John, MD” and have continued with memorable appearances on everything from PBS’s “Great Performances” to “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, “Frasier”, “Glee”, “Jumping the Broom” and his most recent recurring roles on “Madam Secretary”, “Mr. Robot”, “The Path”, “Billions” and “The Good Fight”. Other recent TV appearances include “The Blacklist”, “Elementary” and “Bull”. As a voice-over artist he has played dozens of characters on animated TV episodes including performing “Through Heaven’s Eyes” in Dreamwork’s The Prince of Egypt. As a writer Stokes has contributed to the book Hirschfeld’s Harlem, wrote the preface to At This Theatre, and co-authored the children’s book Lights on Broadway. For fun he has been known to fly planes and jump out of them (usually not at the same time), and he can ride a bicycle on a high wire. Stokes has enjoyed working with numerous charitable organizations from the March of Dimes to the USO. He is on the board of Americans For the Arts and is serving his 17th term as Chairman of the Board of The Actors Fund.
Steve Tisch is an Academy-award winning producer, partner at Escape Artists Productions, Chairman and Co-Owner of the New York Football Giants, and a committed philanthropist. He is the only person with both an Oscar and a Super Bowl ring, winning Best Picture for Forrest Gump in 1994, and receiving two Super Bowl rings as Chairman of the Giants for Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. For more than four decades, Steve has successfully produced compelling stories in film and television, from the critically acclaimed television movie, “The Burning Bed” starring Farrah Fawcett, to Risky Business, the sleeper hit that helped launch Tom Cruise’s career. Other film credits include Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, American History X, Snatch, The Weather Man, The Pursuit of Happiness, Seven Pounds, The Taking of Pelham 123, The Back-Up Plan, Hope Springs, The Equalizer, Southpaw, The Equalizer 2 and The Upside. Escape Artists’ next release is Troop Zero with Amazon Studios, starring Viola Davis, Alison Janney, McKenna Grace and Jim Gaffigan, which will be released via Amazon Prime on January 17, 2020. On the television side, Escape Artists’ first straight to series show, “Perpetual Grace, LTD.”, starring Ben Kingsley, was released via EPIX/MGM on June 2nd. Currently on the TV roster is “Servant”, in collaboration with M. Night Shyamalan, which is one of Apple TV+’s wide-releases airing on the streaming service with a second season order. Tisch also served as an Executive Producer alongside Steven Spielberg and Alex Gibney on “Why We Hate”, a six-part docu-series which aired recently on The Discovery Channel, examining the origins and dangers of hate. Steve has been involved with the New York Giants since his father, Preston Robert Tisch, purchased 50 percent of the franchise in 1991. In 2005, Steve was named Executive Vice President, and with the passing of his father, he assumed the additional title of Chairman. Steve worked closely with John Mara, President and CEO of the Giants, on the planning and construction of MetLife Stadium, which was completed in the spring of 2010 and ranked as the number one grossing stadium in the world in 2012. Steve also helped win the successful bid to bring Super Bowl XLVIII to MetLife Stadium in February 2014. Tisch and Mara were named Best NFL Owners by Forbes in 2011. Tisch is also active in philanthropy, generously contributing his time and resources to a variety of organizations in arts, health and education. Recognizing the value of storytelling and its ability to increase dialogue and understanding, Steve made a transformative gift to Tel Aviv University, elevating its Department of Film and Television into a full school, now named The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television. The school has won top prizes at film festivals around the world and is Israel’s leading institution of film and television studies. It is ranked by The Hollywood Reporter among the top 15 international film schools for three years in a row. Tisch was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Tel Aviv University in 2016. Tisch made a leadership gift to the David Geffen School of Medicine for the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program, the single largest donation from an individual to a medical center for a concussion-related initiative. The gift creates the first U.S. fellowship to train pediatric neurologists who specialize in sports concussions, and establishes the world’s most sophisticated research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment program for concussions and brain injuries with a particular emphasis on young athletes. Steve is currently on the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is a founding Trustee of The Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles, is on the Board of Advisors of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University and previously served on the board of the Sundance Institute. Tisch resides in both Los Angeles and New York City.
Richard L. Trumka is president of the 12.5-million-member American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the largest organization of labor unions in the country. An outspoken advocate for social and economic justice, Trumka is the nation’s clearest voice on the critical need to raise workers’ wages in this slow and painful recovery from the Great Recession. He heads the labor movement’s efforts to build broadly shared prosperity and to hold government and employers accountable to working families. Trumka is a tireless advocate for good jobs and for strengthening the middle class by restoring workers’ freedom to join and form unions. He works passionately to end unfair trade practices and support U.S. manufacturing. His innovative leadership has established investment programs for union pension and benefit funds in order to create long-term value for workers. He challenges excessive corporate power and abuses of workers’ rights here and abroad. He has confronted racism and classism head on—from apartheid in South Africa to mass incarceration and immigration reform in the United States. Trumka began his career as a coal miner, and continued to work in the mines as he attended Penn State University and Villanova University Law School. In 1982, at age 33, he ran on a reform ticket and was elected the youngest president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). There he led one of the most successful strikes in recent American history against the Pittston Coal Company, which tried to avoid paying into an industry-wide health and pension fund. Trumka joined an insurgent campaign and was elected secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO in 1995. He became the federation’s president in 2009.
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