Papp, who has been a figure in the downtown theatre since its founding, also served as the leader of the Public's literary department from 1965-1991. Her late husband founded the Public in 1954 (then the NYSF), and Ms. Papp was also instrumental in the publication of Kenneth Turan's tome "Free for All: Joe Papp, The Public, and the Greatest Theater Story Ever Told."
The Public is honoring Ms. Papp alongside Time Warner Inc. The gala includes a dinner and party following a performance of All's Well That Ends Well. Board members Hilary Feshbach, Liev Schreiber and Sam Waterston are the event chairpersons.
“Gail Papp is one of the true unsung heroes of The Public Theater. As leader of our literary department from 1965 to 1991, she was responsible for the development, nurturing and creation of countless shows, perhaps most famously The Normal Heart and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. As a board member since 1991, she has been the conscience of the theater, unfailingly pointing us to the core values of the work as we seek to carry her late husband’s legacy forward,” said Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis in a statement.
The Public is currently staging repertory productions of All's Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure as the 2011 Shakespeare in the Park repertory offerings. Among the cast are Tony Award winners John Cullum and Tonya Pinkins, as well as Lorenzo Pisoni, Reg Rogers and Michael Hayden.