FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 10, 2021 || CONTACTS: Corinna Schulenburg | email@example.com | 212-609-5941
Theatre Communications Group Announces 2021 Gala: Our Stories
To Feature Performances from Cambodian Rock Band and Market Theatre
Virtual Gala on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 7:30pm ET
New York, NY – Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, is pleased to announce the performances for the TCG’s 60th Anniversary Gala: Our Stories, which will be held virtually on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 7:30pm ET with an afterparty to follow. The Gala will feature songs from Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band, performed by Francis Jue, Abraham Kim, Jane Lui, Joe Ngo, Courtney Reed, and Moses Villarama; as well as a performance from The Market Theatre Laboratory in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Gala will honor Ricardo Khan and the Performing Arts Alliance (PAA), and both the Gala and virtual live afterparty will be hosted by drag superstar Shequida. Dr. Michelle Ramos, the board chair of PAA and Vision Keeper of Alternate ROOTS, will offer remarks on behalf of PAA. To learn more about the Our Stories Gala, and the programming it supports, click here or email Gala@tcg.org. Please email Corinna Schulenburg for press reservations. Reserve donation-based tickets here.
“We’re thrilled to welcome the artists of Cambodian Rock Band and The Market Theatre Laboratory to TCG’s Gala,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG. “Together, they represent the vitality and interconnectedness of our global theatre movement, which is also embodied by our honorees. Ricardo Khan and Crossroads Theatre Company have fostered a long and meaningful relationship with The Market Theatre, and the Performing Arts Alliance continues to advocate at the federal level for policies that support international exchange. We hope theatre people from around the world will join us to celebrate.”
The Our Stories Gala will be held virtually and take place between the two parts of TCG’s Virtual Conference: Our Theatre Ecology. Recent honorees at the Our Stories gala included David Henry Hwang, the National Black Theatre Festival, and Rick Miramontez
The Performing Arts Alliance is the national policy advocate, leadership forum, and learning network for America’s nonprofit performing arts organizations, artists, and allies.
Lauren Yee was the second most produced playwright in America for the 2019/20 theatrical season (as per American Theatre magazine). Her plays include Cambodian Rock Band (South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, City Theatre, Merrimack Rep) and The Great Leap (Denver Center, Seattle Repertory, Atlantic Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Arts Club, InterAct Theatre, Steppenwolf). Honors: Doris Duke Artists Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Whiting Award, Steinberg/ATCA Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters literature award, Horton Foote Prize, Kesselring Prize, Primus Prize, Hodder Fellowship, #1 and #2 plays on 2017 Kilroys List. New Dramatists, Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab, Playwrights Realm alum. TV: Pachinko (Apple), Soundtrack (Netflix). BA: Yale. MFA: UCSD. www.laurenyee.com.
The Market Theatre Laboratory trains actors and theatre makers. Founded by Barney Simon and Dr John Kani in 1988, it is the educational arm of the world famous Market Theatre, and has developed into one of the premiere training facilities of its kind in Southern Africa. It has trained exceptional performers and theatre-makers including Olive Schreiner Award winner Phillip Dikotla, three Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year winners, Monageng Motshabi (2016), Prince Lamla (2013), and Mncedisi Shabangu (2014), and SAFTA award winners Harriet Manamela, Warren Masemola and Lindiwe Ndlovu. In addition, the Lab has been recognised on multiple platforms for creating excellent theatre that engages with human rights issues. Deeply embedded in the ethos of the Laboratory is its commitment to providing opportunities to talented youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who would not otherwise be able to pursue their passion for the arts.
Dr. Michelle Ramos applies critical race theory and lived experiences to disrupt long standing white supremacist structures and systems. Her work focuses on shifting power to black, brown people through pushing boundaries, challenging the status quo and reflecting values of equity and justice in her day to day practice. Before leading Alternate ROOTS, she worked as Managing Director for the Vera Institute of Justice New Orleans and Program Officer for the Women’s Foundation of California. She serves on the boards of Dance/USA and Performing Arts Alliance. A licensed attorney with a PhD in Cultural Psychology, she has significant organizing experience and has committed her career to serving communities and individuals adversely impacted by issues of race, gender, disability, class, socioeconomics, inequitable laws and systemic oppression. She has consulted for over 20 years nationally and internationally. She is the proud mother Broadway choreographer, Ellenore Scott, and since retiring from her own dance career, Ramos has continued to teach dance, has competed as an Ironman triathlete and now enjoys her southern New Orleans lifestyle.
Ricardo Khan is a director, artistic director, writer, educator and the Tony Award recipient for the history-making African American theatre company he co-founded, the Crossroads Theatre Company. For two decades Khan nurtured and guided the creation of well over one hundred new works that have forever enriched the cannon of the American theatre, while launching countless careers for writers, directors, designers, composers, managers and actors of color. Through Crossroads he worked with and provided a creative home and premiering stage for Ntozake Shange, August Wilson, George C. Wolfe, Anna Deveare Smith, Melba Moore, Leslie Lee, Denise Nicholas, Kathleen McGhee-Anderson, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Mbongeni Ngema from South Africa, Rani Moorthy from Malaysia, Linda Nieves-Powell, former United States Poet Laureate Rita Dove and many more. As the originating producer of the groundbreaking “The Colored Museum” and “Spunk”, both by George C. Wolfe, “Black Eagles” by Leslie Lee, “The Love Space Demands” by Ntozake Shange, “Sheila’s Day” by Mbongeni Ngema, and “Two Ha Ha’s and a Homeboy” written and starring Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis and Guy Davis, Khan established Crossroads as a major creative force on the American theatre scene. Khan was the originating producer of the production of “Paul Robeson” starring Avery Brooks, which went on from Crossroads to Broadway in 1988, and in 1998, the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical, “It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues”. And shortly after the passing of esteemed playwright August Wilson in 2005, Khan returned to Broadway to write, stage, and together with co-producer Woodie King, Jr., present the New York tribute to August Wilson in the Broadway theatre that now bears Mr. Wilson’s name.
Mr. Khan’s New York directing credits include works at the Negro Ensemble Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, Lincoln Center, the Signature Theatre and the world famous Apollo Theatre. He was Associate Producer for a number of Crossroads productions at the New York Public Theatre with the late Joseph Papp, and in 2006 served as Associate Director for “Hot Feet!”, a Broadway musical developed by Maurice Hines with legendary songwriter Maurice White and featuring the music of Earth, Wind and Fire. In 2009 he co-wrote “FLY” with Trey Ellis about the esteemed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, which has been produced in numerous major cities across the country and most recently, for its Pasadena Playhouse engagement, received the prestigious NAACP award for Best Theatre Production in Los Angeles, 2016. “Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing” followed that, a play inspired by myths and stories from Negro Leagues baseball and American jazz. Khan’s latest projects, “Freedom Rider” and “Letters From Freedom Summer”, will both receive world premiere productions at the Crossroads Theatre Company in 2021 and 2022. And of his most proud achievements recently, Ricardo Khan was the Producer and Director of the highly acclaimed opening night gala ceremonies for the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC on September 24, 2016, with performers and creatives that included Yolanda Adams, Daniel Beaty, Dave Chappelle and Frederic Yonnet, Ava Duvernay, Savion Glover, Oprah Winfrey and Stevie Wonder.
Ricardo Khan holds an MFA in both acting and directing from Mason Gross School of the Arts, and an Honorary PhD from Rutgers University where he is also in the University’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni. He served as President of the Board of Theatre Communications Group, the national organization of America’s professional theatres, from 1995 to 1998, and is proud to have been named Artistic Director Emeritus at his celebrated Crossroads Theatre Company.
Shequida is a very witty, multi lingual, Jamaican born, Juilliard trained performer. She has performed in Hong Kong, Berlin, Sydney, Paris, Norway, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam to name a few. She played the first ever recurring drag character, Wendi Mercury on the ABC Soap Opera, One life to Live and performed on America's Got Talent. She also wrote and starred in two very successful, award winning Off-Broadway shows. She is currently hosting and performing her weekly shows in NYC.
TCG’s annual Our Stories Gala supports TCG’s work in leading for a just and thriving theatre ecology. The 2020 Gala honored the National Black Theatre Festival of Winston-Salem and David Henry Hwang. The 2019 Gala honored arts philanthropist and Chairman Emerita, Ingram Industries Inc. Martha R. Ingram; Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner; and Broadway press agent and President of DKC/O&M Rick Miramontez. Past honorees at the TCG annual gala—now in its ninth year— include actor Brian Dennehy, director Kenny Leon, playwright Lynn Nottage, actress and playwright Danai Gurira, theatrical producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey, set designer Ming Cho Lee, lighting designer Jules Fisher, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Vilcek Foundation, producers Ruth and Stephen Hendel, Judith O. Rubin, and the creators of War Paint (Scott Frankel, Michael Greif, Michael Korie, and Doug Wright).
Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, leads for a just and thriving theatre ecology. Since its founding in 1961, TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 Member Theatres and affiliate organizations and over 7,000 Individual Members. Through its programs and services, TCG reaches over one million students, audience members, and theatre professionals each year. TCG offers networking and knowledge-building opportunities through research, communications, and events, including the annual TCG National Conference, one of the largest nationwide gatherings of theatre people; awards grants and scholarships to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG's partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent trade publisher of dramatic literature, with 18 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. TCG believes its vision of “a better world for theatre, and a better world because of theatre” can be achieved through individual and collective action, adaptive and responsive leadership, and equitable representation in all areas of practice. TCG is led by executive director and CEO Teresa Eyring and deputy director and COO Adrian Budhu. www.tcg.org.
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