Transport Group's Gimme a Break! Gala, Featuring Carolee Carmello, Santino Fontana and Jayne Houdyshell, Held Dec. 9

By Carey Purcell
December 9, 2013

Transport Group's 2013 Gimme a Break! gala is held Dec. 9 at 6 PM at the Asia Society and Museum. 



The evening features Carolee Carmello (Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson, Parade), Santino Fontana (Cinderella), Jayne Houdyshell (Romeo and Juliet, Follies), Jessie Mueller (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Winslow Boy, Man of La Mancha) and Rachel Bay Jones (Pippin). 

Hosted by Julie Halston, the gala honors producer Beth Williams with the Transporting American Theatre Award for her contribution to American theatre. The award is presented by Pulitzer Prize winner and Tony nominee Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife). 

The benefit kicks off with a cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by the performers sharing their "big break" experiences through stories and songs.

Williams helped launch Key Brand Entertainment and served as its COO and head of production and subsequently CEO of the theatre division. During her time, Key Brand produced more than 40 new Broadway productions, including Big Fish; Pippin; Million Dollar Quartet; Hands on a Hardbody; How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; Memphis; One Man, Two Guvnors; On A Clear Day You Can See Forever; Promises, Promises; and White Christmas.

Williams also served as president of production for Clear Channel Theatrical, where she was a producer of The Producers, Hairspray, Sweet Smell of Success, Fosse, All Shook Up and Cabaret; she started a family division that produced and toured Nickelodeon's Rugrats – A Live Adventure, Blue's Clues Live, The All That Music and More Festival and Dora the Explorer – Live!

Prior to producing, Williams worked on Broadway as a conductor (Les Miserables, Dreamgirls), pianist (Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera, Dreamgirls) and company manager (Dreamgirls, Dangerous Games, West Side Story in Japan).

She is a member of The Broadway League, where she serves on the labor and membership committees and sits on the board of governors.

Halston's stage credits include The Divine Sister; Love, Loss and What I Wore; Hairspray; Gypsy; and The Women. She has appeared on screen in "The Class," "Sex and the City" and "The Electric Company" as well as "The Juror," "Joe Gould's Secret," "Addams Family Values," "Dottie Gets Spanked," "Celebrity" and "David Searching."

Tickets and more information are available by calling (212) 564-0333 or visiting transportgroup.org.