New Federal Theatre Gala to Honor Sidney Poitier, Ntozake Shange, Ruby Dee, Elizabeth McCann | Playbill

News New Federal Theatre Gala to Honor Sidney Poitier, Ntozake Shange, Ruby Dee, Elizabeth McCann
Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre (NFT) will hold its 40th anniversary Gala, to be co-hosted by CBS News' Randall Pinkston and Lynn Whitfield, May 22 at the Edison Ballroom.

Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

NFT will honor individuals that have changed the cultural life of our nation, including Sidney Poitier, Ntozake Shange, Ruby Dee, Alicia Keys, Mayor David Dinkins, Imhotep Gary Byrd, George Faison, Amiri Baraka, Rev. Malcolm Boyd, Elizabeth McCann, Carla Pinza, Terrie Williams and Sylvia Sprinkle Hamlin.

The celebration will begin at 4 PM followed by dinner and the awards ceremony.

Dr. Maya Angelou will be the honorary chair for the event, which will celebrate NFT's 40 years as a seminal force in black theatre. Chairmen for the event are Laurence Fishburne, John Morning and Susan Taylor. 

Founded by Woodie King, Jr. in 1970, New Federal Theatre, according to press notes, "has gone on to international acclaim for its bold mission to integrate minorities and women into the mainstream of American theater by training artists for the profession and by presenting plays by minorities and women to integrated, multicultural audiences – plays which evoke the truth through beautiful, artistic recreations of ourselves."

Alumni of NFT productions include Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Debbie Allen, Phylicia Rashad, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jackee Harry, Laurence Fishburne, Dick Anthony Williams, Taurean Blacque, Debbie Morgan, Robert Downey, Jr. Garrett Morris, Lynn Whitfield, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Ruby Dee, Leslie Uggams, Samuel L. Jackson among others.

The Edison Ballroom is located at 240 West 47th Street. Tickets are $400 and can be purchased by calling Lorelei Enterprises at (212) 838-2660, ext. 14.

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