Jones and Schmidt, creators of the musicals The Fantasticks, Celebration, 110 in the Shade and I Do! I Do!, will be honored with the Inge Festival's Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award at Independence Community College in Kansas this April.
Gardner, who originated the role of Luisa in The Fantasticks Off-Broadway, and Watson, who starred in Celebration on Broadway, will unite to celebrate the work of Jones and Schmidt for the festival's tribute finale on April 25. Additional performers will be announced shortly.
Previous theatre artists honored by the festival include Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick, John Kander & Fred Ebb, Wendy Wasserstein, John Guare, Horton Foote, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Neil Simon, Christopher Durang and Edward Albee.
In addition, the Inge Festival has announced that former Old Globe associate artistic director Karen Carpenter will stage a series of unpublished one-acts by William Inge as part of the festival. Also presented during the festival will be a reading of Carolos Murillo's Diagram of a Paper Airplane.
A native of Independence, KS, Pulitzer Prize and Oscar-winning writer William Inge is known for his works Picnic; Bus Stop; Come Back, Little Sheba; A Loss of Roses; and the semi-autobiographical The Dark At the Top of the Stairs. Inge won an Academy Award for his screenplay for "Splendor in the Grass." The William Inge Theatre Festival is held at the playwright's alma mater, the Independence Community College. For more information on the Inge Festival and other Inge Center activities, contact (800) 842-6063, ext. 5835 or visit www.ingecenter.org.