Brian Stokes Mitchell to Perform at NJ Theatre Alliance Ovation Gala October 27th
WEST ORANGE, NJ (October 11, 2016) – New Jersey Theatre Alliance (“The Alliance”), the service organization for the state’s professional, non-profit theatres, is pleased to announce that Tony Award-winner and Theatre Hall of Fame inductee Brian Stokes Mitchell will perform at its 35th Anniversary Ovation Gala. The event, which is open to the public, will be held at The Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange on Thursday, October 27th, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased through the website 501auctions.com/njtagala/tickets or by calling (973) 731-6582 x14.
Brian Stokes Mitchell has been seen on Broadway, television, film, and in concert with top orchestras. He received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for his appearance in Kiss Me, Kate, and his performances in Man of La Mancha, August Wilson’s King Hedley II, and Ragtime were nominated for Tonys. He has also appeared in Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly’s Last Jam, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and most recently, Shuffle Along. Stokes has worked with many charitable organizations, from the March of Dimes to the USO, and is in his 12th term as Chairman of the Board of The Actors Fund, which will be honored by the Alliance at the gala.
The once-every-five-years Ovation Gala attracts theatre fans, benefactors, and arts leaders, and will feature dinner and open bar, Broadway entertainment, and silent and live auctions offering many vacation, theatre, golf, sports, spa, dining, and “experience” packages including tickets to Broadway’s Hamilton with a backstage tour, overnight stay, and limo. Awards will be given to Joseph P. Benincasa, Alliance board member and President and CEO of The Actors Fund, and to Johnson & Johnson, for their continued generous support of the Alliance and New Jersey theatre.
Founded in 1981 by the five professional theatres that were operating in New Jersey at the time, the Alliance has grown to a membership of 33 professional theatres stretching from Newton to Cape May. Members include large and small theatres, with repertoires covering contemporary drama, classics, musicals, new works, children’s theatre, and educational programming. These theatres, three of which have won Tony Awards for Best Regional Theatre, are fully-functioning businesses with paid administrative and artistic staff. Their annual attendance is over one million theatregoers, and in 2016 they contributed $17 million to local economies.
The business community is enthusiastically giving back by supporting the Alliance’s gala. The Actors Fund, Atlantic Health System, Bank of America, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, IATSE local labor union, Investors Bank, Johnson & Johnson, KPMG, Mills + Schnoering Architects LLC, New Brunswick Development Corporation, PNC Financial Services Group, Prudential, and RWJBarnabas Health are among the sponsors of the celebration.
Honoree Joseph P. Benincasa is the President and CEO of The Actors Fund, which he joined in 1989. The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyone—performers and those behind the scenes—who works in performing arts and entertainment. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio, and dance, The Fund’s programs include social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and employment and training services. The Fund’s headquarters are in New York City with regional offices in Los Angeles and Chicago, a nursing home in Englewood, NJ, and supportive housing residences in Manhattan, NY, West Hollywood, CA, and Brooklyn, NY. Benincasa is also President of the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation which is building affordable, supportive senior care residences for artists in major urban centers.
Johnson & Johnson will be recognized for its stalwart support of the Alliance and New Jersey theatre, and for including the arts amid its strategic philanthropy work across the state. Johnson & Johnson focuses efforts on making the arts accessible to underserved audiences, including military veterans, caregivers, and people with autism and other disabilities. As a part of its commitment to the revitalization of New Brunswick, Johnson & Johnson supports key cultural institutions in New Brunswick including Alliance member theatres George Street Playhouse and Crossroads Theatre Company.
New Jersey Theatre Alliance supports the New Jersey professional theatre community with a wealth of resources, providing innovative and collaborative programs and services for theatres and their diverse audiences. Signature programs include The Stages Festival, an annual statewide, month-long festival in March that offers free and discounted performances, workshops, and events at theatres, libraries, senior centers, and other community venues; NJArtsTix, the discount ticketing website for the best of New Jersey’s performing arts; and The Cultural Access Network Project, co-sponsored by the Alliance and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, which enables seniors and people with disabilities to enjoy the arts.
New Jersey Theatre Alliance was the first statewide service organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that unite, promote, strengthen, and cultivate professional theatre in New Jersey. Funding for New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Bank of America, Prudential Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. More information can be found at njtheatrealliance.org.
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