A Tribute to Kristin Chenoweth at the Star-Studded National Corporate Theatre Fund Chairman’s Awards Gala; Edgerton Foundation Commits Matching Gift Benefiting New Works at NCTF’s Regional Theatres

Kristin Chenoweth to be honored with the Theatre Artist Award; Edgerton Foundation to receive Leadership in Theatre Award; Gala to feature performance by Jefferson Mays and Bruce Pinkham of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder; Special appearances by Lily Tomlin, Kathy Najimy and many more

New York, NY (March 26, 2014): On March 31st at New York City’s Pierre Hotel, the National Corporate Theatre Fund (NCTF) will honor Tony and Emmy Award Winning singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth, and the Edgerton Foundation for their leadership in the theatre arts at the NCTF 2014 Chairman’s Awards Gala.

More than 300 theatre patrons, Broadway leaders and industry professionals from across the country will gather for an evening honoring individuals and institutions that have made significant contributions to the national theatre community, and an exciting program of performances and special appearances is expected (tip sheet attached).

The evening will include a special performance by Tony Award Winner Jefferson Mays and Bruce Pinkham, stars of the current hit musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder; an excerpt from the highly acclaimed musical Witness Uganda, which just finished a successful run at A.R.T. (an NCTF member theatre); and an appearance by legendary comedian Lily Tomlin, currently on tour with a solo show. An exciting opening number, created by Kevin Duda and Jason Michael Snow (of the recent viral explosion, Russian Broadway Shut down), will feature a talented team of performers from television, film and theatre: Michael Campayno, Alison Cimmet, Jessica Hershberg, Greg Hildreth, Rashidra Scott and Tommar Wilson.

Prolific actress and comedian of the stage and screen Kathy Najimy, joined by her daughter − singer Samia Najimy Finnerty, will give a special tribute to Kristin Chenoweth. Tomlin will deliver a special salute to departing NCTF Board Member and Seattle Rep Managing Director Benjamin Moore. And Mays and Pinkham will perform “Better With a Man” accompanied by composer Steven Lutvak at the piano. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder was developed and performed at two of NCTF’s theatres, Hartford Stage and Old Globe, before becoming a recent hit on Broadway.

The gala will raise funds for NCTF’s ten nonprofit member theatres in the U.S. Proceeds will be generously matched with a challenge grant of up to $250,000 from the Edgerton Foundation which will benefit new theatrical works at NCTF’s member theatres, ensuring the creation of another year of innovative and thought-provoking productions nationwide.

The Edgerton Foundation awards new plays and theatres with grants that help create stronger first productions which increase the chances for the show’s staying power. Witness Uganda, directed by Diane Paulus, is an Edgerton Foundation new play award winner (2014 Richard Rodgers Award Winner), and has received excellent reviews. Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews will be joined by other Witness Uganda cast members to perform the powerful song “Kyussa” from the production at the gala.

The gala will be chaired by Chairman James S. Turley, former CEO of Ernst & Young; Cisco Systems, Inc.; Joseph F. Kirk, Wells Fargo; and world-renowned playwright David Henry Hwang. Bank of America serves as the Reception sponsor.

“Today’s regional theatres share a common thread with the corporate world: a focus on innovation, creativity and strong community leadership. I am proud to support outstanding theatre programming and education initiatives at NCTF theatres across the U.S.,” said James S. Turley, Chairman of NCTF.

Known to most as Glinda from Wicked, Broadway legend and Tony and Emmy Award Winner Kristin Chenoweth will receive the “Theatre Artist Award”at the Gala. Writer, producer and film director Robert Harling will present Chenoweth with the Theatre Artist Award. Music Director and conductor Mary-Mitchell Campbell, who has recently conducted and performed with Chenoweth, Carole King, and Alicia Keys, will also take part in the tribute. Chenoweth’s stunning talent with singing, dancing and acting has garnered her critical acclaim in Broadway hits You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown; Steel Pier; The Apple Tree; and Promises, Promises; as well as on acclaimed television shows The West Wing and Pushing Daisies. She has also guest starred on numerous shows, including Sesame Street and Glee. Her big screen credits include The Pink Panther, Bewitched and more.

Chenoweth is currently in production on several film projects, including Universal’s The Boy Next Door, alongside Jennifer Lopez, A Bet’s A Bet with Mena Suvari and Eric Roberts and an indie teen drama entitled Hard Sell. In spring of 2014, she will be seen in Rio 2, voicing the character of Gaby, a hilarious poisonous frog. She most recently appeared in a guest arc on the TV Land series, Kirstie and reprised her nominated role in the 100th episode of Glee. In May, she will return to the famed Carnegie Hall for the first time since her sold-out solo debut in 2004.

“It is an honor to be recognized as NCTF’s Theatre Artist Award winner this year,” said Ms. Chenoweth. “It is through partnerships like those facilitated by NCTF, and the great theatres they support, that our visions as artists can be explored and developed for the public. This is truly inspiring.”

The “Leadership in Theatre Award” will be going to the Edgerton Foundation for their substantial contribution to the creation of significant new work in the American Theatre. Dr. Bradford and Louise Edgerton will be honored by Tony Award Winner and Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater ( A.R.T.) Diane Paulus. The Foundation’s challenge grant of up to 250,000 dollars for all new or increased contributions to the NCTF Gala will provide nonprofit theatres such as Los Angeles Center Theatre Group; San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater; Cleveland Play House; and Seattle Repertory Theatre, among others, with significant investments for new productions.

“Our goal with the NCTF matching grant for new works is to help playwrights, production teams and theatres create new dramatic works that will become part of the American theatre fabric and entertain audiences across the country for generations to come,” said Brad Edgerton, co-director of the foundation with this wife Louise Edgerton. “We recognize that first productions are challenging and we seek to provide the creative teams with the resources and time needed to truly craft strong and timeless shows.”

Productions supported in the past by the Edgerton Foundation include 13, All the Way, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Pulitzer Nominee), Good People (Tony Nominee), In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play (Pulitzer and Tony Nominee), Next to Normal (Pulitzer Prize Winner, Tony Nominee), and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony Winner).

“The connections NCTF makes between theatre, philanthropic and arts communities reflect a recognition of the immeasurable impact of the arts on the vitality of the communities in which they are based,” said Bruce Whitacre, Executive Director of NCTF. “It is a privilege to celebrate the incredible work and influence of regional theatre with the many artists, supporters and organizations that have made these programs a reality. It is truly a pleasure to honor Ms. Chenoweth and the Edgerton Foundation today for their role in advancing theatre in America.”

Lily Tomlin will present a special farewell to Benjamin Moore, founding NCTF Board Member and Managing Director of Seattle Repertory Theatre. Moore is retiring after a prolific career in not-for-profit regional theatre.

About National Corporate Theatre Fund

National Corporate Theatre Fun (NCTF) is a not-for-profit association dedicated to sustaining America’s finest not-for-profit theatres, on the stage and in the community, through innovative partnerships with companies, individuals and artists. From its base in New York, NCTF provides a national vehicle for the flow of theatre, collaboration and ideas to and from key markets.

Since 1978, NCTF has raised millions of dollars for its member theatres. NCTF theatres contribute to our creative and cultural life – benefiting local communities, children, employees and the economy. Launched in 2012, its Impact Creativity campaign (impactcreativity.org) is one of the largest efforts to sustain and grow arts education programs across the country. Productions originating at NCTF theatres have transferred to New York and other theatres, and have won dozens of Tony Awards and Pulitzer Prizes. They enrich lives of the local residents, provide creative opportunities for distinguished and emerging performers, serve as incubators for new works, and engage over 500,000 children most from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods through their theatre education programs.

NCTF member theatres include the Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Conservatory Theater, American Repertory Theater, Center Theatre Group, Cleveland Play House, Guthrie Theater, Long Warf Theatre, The Old Globe, Seattle Repertory Theatre and Trinity Repertory Company. Their Affiliate Network includes the Alley Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Arena Stage, Dallas Theatre Center, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Goodman Theater, Hartford Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Walnut Street Theatre.

The following artists serve on NCTF’s Artistic Advisory Council: Edward Asner, Brent Barrett, Annette Bening, Robert Brustein, Kathleen Chalfant, Glenn Close, Billy Crudup, Gordon Davidson, David Henry Hwang, Cherry Jones, Swoosie Kurtz, John Lithgow, Jerry Mitchell, Kate Mulgrew, Laura Pels, David Hyde Pierce, Daryl Roth, Marian Seldes, Patrick Stewart, and Paula Vogel.

Media Contact for National Corporate Theatre Fund (NCTF)

Karen Imas
Connelly McLaughlin & Woloz

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