PHOTO CALL: Diane Lane, Bill Irwin, Wallace Shawn and More Honor Sam Shepard at La MaMa Gala

News   PHOTO CALL: Diane Lane, Bill Irwin, Wallace Shawn and More Honor Sam Shepard at La MaMa Gala The downtown experimental theatre company La Mama etc honored Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard with the first-ever Ellen Stewart Award, named in honor of the late La MaMa founder, Oct. 17 in the Ellen Stewart Theatre.

Shepard, whose early works were nurtured by Stewart at La MaMa, is being celebrated during the company's 6:30 PM gala. As part of the recognition, Shepard also selected a young theatre artist to create a new work to be presented and produced at La MaMa.

Here is a look at the event:

The gala presented entertainment from actors and writers with ties to La MaMa, including Wallace Shawn, Estelle Parsons, John Kelly, Justin Bond, Scott Wittman, Taylor Mac and Elizabeth Swados.

Split Britches' Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver hosted the evening that included an excerpt of Shawn's The Hotel Play; as well as Estelle Parsons and John Kelly in a scene from Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy. Justin Bond and Scott Wittman paid tribute to late playwright/performer Jackie Curtis of the Cockettes, with a scene from his play Vain Victory; and Taylor Mac performed highlights from The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac.

Also in attendance were New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Julia Stiles, Marc Shaiman, Warren Leight and James Houghton. Swados shared excerpts from her La MaMa Cantata, which is composed of Stewart's own spoken words. It will have its world premiere Nov. 7.

Shepard is a Pulitzer winner for his play Buried Child. His plays also include Kicking a Dead Horse, True West (Tony and Pulitzer nomination), Curse of the Starving Class, Tongues, Simpatico and Fool for Love (Pulitzer nomination). He earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance in "The Right Stuff," and has appeared in the films "Brothers," "The Assassination of Jesse James…," "The Return," "The Notebook," "Hamlet," "Snow Falling on Cedars," "Steel Magnolias," "The Pelican Brief" and "Crimes of the Heart."

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