LaChanze, Shuler Hensley and Kerry Butler Set for 2013 Playwrights Gala Heroines, Honoring Women Writers

By Michael Gioia
March 25, 2013

Off-Broadway theatre company Playwrights Horizons will hold its annual spring gala May 6 at the event space 583 Park Avenue. Tony Award winners LaChanze and Shuler Hensley as well as Tony nominee Kerry Butler will perform.



LaChanze (The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Inked Baby and Once on This Island at PH, The Color Purple), Hensley (The Whale at PH, Oklahoma!) and Butler (The Call at PH, Xanadu) will be joined by original cast members from the Tony-nominated Best Musical Once on This Island and the Obie Award-winning musical The Bubbly Black Girl.

The evening will also feature the participation of PH alumni, including actress Amy Brenneman (Rapture, Blister, Burn at PH); lyricist and book writer Lynn Ahrens (Lucky Stiff and Once on This Island at PH, Ragtime); composer, lyricist and book writer Kirsten Childs (The Bubbly Black Girl…); playwright Gina Gionfriddo (Rapture, Blister Burn at PH); playwright Amy Herzog (After the Revolution and The Great God Pan at PH); playwright Lynn Nottage (Mud, River, Stone and Fabulation at PH; Ruined); and composer Jeanine Tesori (Violet at PH).

Cocktails and a silent auction will begin at 6 PM, followed by dinner and performance at 7:30 PM. In addition to the silent auction, which is exclusive to those attending the gala, an advance online auction will run March 29-April 15 and is administered through Bidding For Good.

Titled Heroines, the evening, according to press notes, "will celebrate the many distinguished Women Writers that have been produced in the company's 42 years. The theatre company's distinguished track record of producing the work of female writers, composers and librettists grows out of a commitment to present the best new American writing. In the past decade, the theatre company has been a national leader in supporting women's plays. In recent seasons, 50-65 percent of the plays produced annually have been written by women. (In the current 2012-13 Season, four of the six productions are written by women.) This accomplishment is substantially higher than the average, as less than 20 percent of the work seen on New York nonprofit stages is written by women."

The gala will also celebrate Leslie Marcus on her 20th anniversary as the company's managing director. During her tenure, the annual budget has grown from $4.4 to $10 million. Among Marcus' many achievements is overseeing a $35 million capital campaign and the construction of the building the organization calls home.

In its 42 years, the Playwrights has presented the works of 65 women writers in 90 productions. They are Lynn Ahrens, Christina Anderson, Annie Baker, Tanya Barfield, E.M. Broner, Anne Burr, Jane Chambers, Kirsten Childs, Julia Cho, Bess Coding, Anne Commire, Kia Corthron, Migdalia Cruz, Lisa D’Amour, Bathsheba Doran, Susan Dworkin, Marlane Elder, Sally Fay, Ellen Fitzhugh, Kate Fodor, Amy Freed, Eve Friedman, Melissa James Gibson, Gina Gionfriddo, Jessica Goldberg, Leslie Gore, Kirsten Greenidge, Joy Gregory, Roma Greth, Rinne Groff, Carol Hall, Laura Harrington, Leslye Headland, Amy Herzog, Susan Jack, Sarah Kernochan, Tina Landau, Dorothy Louise, Wendy MacLeod, Teresa Marffie, Lynn Martin, Marlane Meyer, Lynn Nottage, Kira Obolensky, Sally Ordway, Regina Porter, Margaret Power, Theresa Rebeck, Iris Rosofsky, Sarah Ruhl, Kirsten Sanderson, Sarah Schulman, Jo Ellen Sheffield, Marsha Sheiness, Lynn Siefier, Beverly Smith-Dawson, Kelly Stuart, Jeanine Tesori, Kathleen Tolan, Sarah Treem, Karen Trott, Wendy Wasserstein and Erin Cressida Wilson.

Ticket prices for the gala start at $1,000 and can be reserved by calling Michelle Kiefel at (212) 564-1235, ext. 3143. For more information, visit PlaywrightsHorizons.org.