Elaine Stritch, Christine Baranski and Peter Gallagher will be among the talent providing entertainment at a Feb. 25 New York City benefit for The Drama League. The event will honor longtime gossip columnist Liz Smith and take place at the Pierre Hotel.
Dinner will be followed by performances by the likes of Kaye Ballard, Roger Bart, Gary Beach, Valerie Harper, Michele Lee and Tony Roberts. Stritch will be emcee. The actress recently began performances of her one-woman show, At Liberty, on Broadway.
Julia Hansen, the longtime president of The Drama League, will step down from the post she has held for more than 20 years. She is succeeded by Patricia S. Follert. Mrs. Hansen will remain as the organization's first chairman of the board.
"I have loved leading The Drama League, and I am proud to be able to turn over the reins when there is a strong board, a good staff, excellent programs, and money in the bank," said Hansen in a statement. "I am pleased that Pat Follert has accepted the Presidency, and I look forward to my new role as Chairman." Hansen, a familiar figure in theatre circles, has yearly overseen the Drama League's annual awards, which are handed out each spring during a lavish banquet at a Manhattan hotel. During her tenure, the league — which for many years simply bestowed honors upon the best play and musical — instigated the practice of naming nominees for the awards before announcing the winners weeks later.
Probably Hansen's primary achievement as president was the creation in 1984 of The Directors Project, a training ground for young, talented theatre directors. Selected candidates get to meet and assist top theatre directors at prominent Off Broadway and regional theatres. Later, they head to NYC to mount an Equity one act play at a leading venue.
Follert, a journalist and fiction writer, has been a member of The Drama League's Board of Directors since 1994, and has served as the Chair of The Drama League's annual award luncheon for more than a decade.