The Connecticut-based Hendels have strong ties to the theatre center, which was founded in 1964. In the 1970's, Rita and Myron Hendel served as trustees of the organization. Their son Stephen Hendel is the current treasurer of the board and his wife Ruth serves as vice-chair. Ruth and Steve have produced many Broadway shows, including Fela!, In the Heights, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The House of Blue Leaves, several of which were born at the O’Neill.
This year's Honorary Committee includes close friends, family and colleagues of the Hendels and the O'Neills. Some comittee members include Rabbi Carl Astor, Richard Digby Day, Donald and Shelly Daren, Steven and Debra Daren, Elizabeth and Anthony Enders, Teresa Eyring, Gail and Jack Feinberg, Jerome E. Fischer, Edie and Richard Freeman, Robyn Goodman, Jon and Hilary Hendel, Stephen and Marianne Mills, Dan and Kathy Steward, Pat Daily, Garry and Janet Weiss, O'Neill founders George and Betsy White, chairman Thomas Viertel and executive director Preston Whiteway.
"All of us are indebted to Rita, Myron, Ruth and Steve Hendel for their incredible and steadfast support for the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and the lives they've touched throughout the this region," Whiteway said in a statement. "We are thrilled to be able to honor their contributions to our organization over these past decades."
The evening begins at 6 PM with cocktails and silent auction, followed by dinner and a special program honoring the Hendels. The annual gala benefits the O'Neill's year-round activities, which are dedicated to discovering and developing new work and voices for the American stage.