The 6:30 PM event, hosted by NBC talk-show host Willie Geist, features a performance from five-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald. Governor Mario Cuomo and Matilda Cuomo are among the evening's guests.
At the black-tie event, the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation will honor LRI leaders Fern and Lenard Tessler for their "dedicated commitment to advancing lupus research for over a decade," and Henry Hess will be presented with the Foundation's Scientific Leadership Award.
McDonald, who starred as Bess in The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, won her first Tony Award in 1994 for Carousel, in which she played the role of Carrie Pipperidge. In 1996 she took home the Featured Actress Tony Award for her performance as Sharon in Master Class. She also received Featured Actress Tonys for Ragtime, in which she played Sarah, and A Raisin in the Sun, for the role of Ruth Younger. The 2012 Tony for her role of Bess was her first Best Actress Tony Award.
Founded 40 years ago in New York City by lupus patients and their families as the first nonprofit to serve the lupus community, The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation delivers direct patient services, public education and novel research at a national level.