WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES SPECIAL APPEARANCES AT THE 2019 GALA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
ANNOUNCES 2019 GALA “AN EVENING WITH AUDRA MCDONALD,”
TO INCLUDE APPEARANCES BY EDEN ESPINOSA, JESSICA HECHT, AND MARTYNA MAJOK
New York, NY (January 15, 2019) — Williamstown Theatre Festival (Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director) has announced that the annual WTF Gala will include special appearances by Eden Espinosa (WTF’s Lempicka, Wicked), Tony Award nominee Jessica Hecht (WTF’s The Closet, “Friends”), and 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Martyna Majok (WTF’s Cost of Living).
The 2019 WTF Gala: “An Evening with Audra McDonald,” honoring WTF Board Chairman Matt Harris, will be held at 583 Park Avenue in New York City on Monday, February 11, 2019 at 6:30 PM. The event will include cocktails and dinner and feature an evening of performance by Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner and two-time Festival star, Audra McDonald.
Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actor. The winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and an Emmy Award, she received a 2015 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama and was also named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people that year. Tony-winning performances include Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill – which served as the vehicle for her Olivier-nominated 2017 West End debut. On television, McDonald is known for her roles in ABC’s “Private Practice” and NBC’s “The Sound of Music Live!”, and she won an Emmy as the official host of PBS’s “Live From Lincoln Center.” She can currently be seen as Liz Lawrence on CBS All Access’ “The Good Fight,” which launches its third season in spring 2019. Recent film credits include Ricki and the Flash, Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, and movie-musical Hello Again. The Juilliard-trained soprano also maintains a major career as a concert and recording artist. Her latest solo album, Sing Happy, was recorded live with the New York Philharmonic for Decca Gold. Of all her many roles, her favorites are the ones performed offstage: passionate advocate for equal rights and homeless youth, wife to actor Will Swenson, and mother.
McDonald has appeared twice on the Williamstown Theatre Festival stage. In 2004, under Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, she performed in the world premiere of Michael John LaChuisa’s musical R Shomon and was praised for “her spectacular soprano that lifts R Shomon into eerie and sublime places where perhaps no one else could take it” (The Boston Globe). McDonald also appeared in Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon for the Misbegotten in 2015 under Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield. McDonald’s “masterful portrayal” (The Boston Globe) was celebrated as “eminently watchable in its clarity and confidence” (The New York Times).
Matt Harris has served as a Festival Trustee for a total of 20 years and has been Board Chairman for 13 of them. He started his investing career at Bain Capital private equity in 1995, having worked previously at Bain & Company, and attended Williams College, where he majored in political economy. In 2000, Harris founded Village Ventures, which he ran for 12 years and where he focused on early-stage fintech investing. In 2012, he rejoined Bain Capital Ventures. He is also a board member at Endeavor, an organization leading the global movement to catalyze long-term economic growth by selecting, mentoring and accelerating the best high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. Outside of work, Harris enjoys spending any free moments with his wife, Jessica, and their five children.
The 2019 Williamstown Theatre Festival Gala Committee includes the following friends of Matt Harris and passionate advocates of the Festival: Saheem Ali, Becky Ann Baker & Dylan Baker, Lewis Black, Joshua Boone, Julia Bowen & Brad Svrluga, David Cromer, Dennis Dunne & Charlotte Byers, Eden Espinosa, Halley Feiffer, Joe & Tracy Finnegan, Shana Fisher & Jonathan Glick, Alfie Fuller, Tavi Gevinson, Matt Gould, Yvonne Hao & Mark Wu, Jessica Hecht, Kristen Johanson & Tom Green, Jeff Johnson & Hy Conrad, Jill Kargman, Raja Feather Kelly, Sylvia Khoury, Basil Kreimendahl, Hoon Lee, Matthew Lopez, Martyna Majok, Rhon & James Manigault-Bryant, Lindsay Mendez, Omar Metwally, Carol Miller & Rich Levy, Alfred Molina, Dominique Morisseau, Anne & Josh Morris, Gregg Mozgala, Lila Neugebauer, Diana Oh, Jiehae Park, Mary-Louise Parker, Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick, Katherine & Bo Peabody, Annie & Nick Pell, David Hyde Pierce, Zhenya Pomerantsev & James Waldinger, Portia, Adam Rapp, Condola Rashad, Susan Rose & Alan Lafer, Roslyn Ruff, Caren Pasquale Seckler & Mike Seckler, Amanda Seyfried & Thomas Sadoski, Jen Silverman, Courtney Smith & Graham Duncan, Lucy Thurber & Jenna Worsham, Marisa Tomei, James Anthony Tyler, Alex Volckhausen, and Samira Wiley.
To purchase tickets or learn more about the 2019 WTF Gala, please call (212) 395-9090 x110 or visit gala.wtfestival.org.
ABOUT WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
For over six decades, Williamstown Theatre Festival, recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre and the Commonwealth Award for Achievement, has brought emerging and professional theatre artists together to create a thrilling summer festival of premiere work alongside fresh, new productions of the western canon, and offers a rich array of accompanying cultural events including COMMUNITY WORKS, Late-Night Cabarets, along with readings and workshops of new plays. Under Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield, the Festival launched a New Play and Musical Commissioning Program through which theatre artists including Jocelyn Bioh, Nathan Alan Davis, Halley Feiffer, Justin Levine, Matthew Lopez, Marsha Norman, Jiehae Park, Zoe Sarnak and Benjamin Scheuer, and many others, create new work through a year-round new play development program. The Festival runs unmatched training programs for new generations of theatre talent, and artists and productions shaped at the Festival fill theatres in New York, London, and around the country each season. Williamstown Theatre Festival’s productions of The Bridges of Madison County, The Elephant Man, Fool for Love, Living on Love, and The Visit enjoyed critically acclaimed runs on Broadway, with The Elephant Man and The Visit receiving Tony Award nominations for Best Revival of a Play and Best Revival of a Musical, respectively. In addition, the Festival’s world premiere productions of Cost of Living (winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) and Actually played acclaimed Off-Broadway runs at Manhattan Theatre Club, and Paradise Blue had an extended run at Signature Theatre in New York.
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