Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning playwright of Angels in America, is the night’s honoree. His two-part magnum opus Angels in America is currently playing in a 25th anniversary revival at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre starring Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane. Kushner also wrote the book and lyrics to Caroline, or Change, earning Tony nominations for Best Score and Best Book of a Musical.
In addition to recognizing Kushner for his contributions to the theatre, Pulitzer- and Tony-winning writer and director James Lapine will receive the first-ever TDF Founders Award. The Award “is being created to honor individuals and organizations who have demonstrated a deep commitment to TDF and its mission, and who embody TDF’s vision of a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible and inspirational,” according to a statement from the organization.
Lapine made his Broadway debut as the book writer and director of Sunday in the Park With George, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and earned him Tony nominations for both contributions. His work also includes Into the Woods (Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical), Falsettos (Tony Award for Best Book), Passion (Tony Award for Best Book), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Tony nomination for Best Direction), Act One (Tony nomination for Best Play), and more.
“We are doubly blessed to have such giants of the American theatre with us at our 50th Anniversary Gala,” said TDF Executive Director Victoria Bailey in statement. “Tony Kushner is an extraordinary playwright whose body of work embodies everything the theatre can and should be. He has deeply touched audiences around the world, proven once again by the current Broadway production of his seminal work, Angels in America. James Lapine, has a long history with TDF as an Open Doors mentor for the past 17 years, having been recruited to the program by its founder, Wendy Wasserstein, in 2001. As an artist his work not only entertains, but it illuminates and enriches the human spirit. As a mentor he does the same for the students to whom he commits his time and passion each year.”
The proceeds from the gala benefit TDF’s programs, including the Open Doors mentorship program, accessibility initiatives, audience engagement, the TDF costume collection, and more. The arts institution is dedicated to bringing the performing arts to everyone by expanding access and creating communities around live theatre and dance.
The gala will be hosted by actor Julie Halston with performers to be announced.
For tickets and information to this year’s 50th Anniversary Gala, contact [email protected] or call (212) 912-9770, ext. 384.
Flip through photos from the 2017 gala honoring Kinky Boots: