Tony Award nominees, loyal theater-goers, and community advocates gathered for the annual Theater Communications Group Gala held this past Monday. The event, now in its sixth year, was held at Espace, a venue that made attendees forget about their frigid night in midtown, and instead took them to a space reminiscent of a Miami nightclub.
The Theater Communications Group (TCG) offers services including networking, grantmaking, and professional development to the theater community. The organization has made huge strides in the field, and received the Tony Award for Excellence in Theater for recognition of their efforts.
The Gala is a night for TCG to celebrate their achievements of the past year and raise support in continuation of their programs. This year, the benefit honored the National Council for American Theatre and the creative team of War Paint, the Broadway musical. Guests dressed up in a festive array of gowns and suit-and-tie attire to enjoy drinks followed by dinner and performances.
Besides the selection of red and white wine available, classic liquors including 12-year Glenlivet, Patron, and Bombay Dry Gin were used used to create a collection of cocktails that would appease anyone. Between the flowing drinks and passed hors d'oeuvres of bruschetta and endives stuffed with diced beets, guests had ample time to get acquainted before taking their seats.
Marshal Jones III, TCG board member, opened the night by describing the appeal of performances: “We attend to be put in seats that take us outside the theater.” Anyone skeptical of Jones’ bold statement would soon be taken aback. Samuel E. Wright, known for his roles as Sebastian in The Little Mermaid and Mufasa in the original Broadway production of The Lion King, encapsulated the audience with performances of a few of his signature songs, including “Under the Sea.”
Witnessing moving performances and hearing about the impact TCG created in the past year made guests keen to back the organization. Members from all over the country told stories of how TCG brought nearly 1,000 theater practitioners together during their National Conference in Portland, OR, and awarded $1.184 million in grants to support audience engagement projects. When prompted to text a pledge to the non-profit, promises of donations ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars splayed across the screens. The room raised over 36 thousand dollars.
With victorious energy still in the air, the night wound down with dessert and a performance of “Dinosaurs” by John Dossettt and Chris Hoch of War Paint. After official award acceptances and closing remarks, no guest left empty handed. Piled on each table were copies of TCG books to take home, which included Water by the Spoonful, among 14 other Pulitzer Prize winning plays. Considering the lush price for a ticket, who would have expected any less?
Special thanks to the Theater Communications Group Board of Directors
Photos courtesy of Natalie Bero and Annie Watt
For over 55 years, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for U.S. theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture, and promote the professional not-for-profit theatre. TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 12,000 individuals nationwide. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research, and communications; awards grants, approximately $2 million per year, 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 publisher of dramatic literature, with 15 Pulitzer Prizes for Best Play on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its Member Theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field, and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre. www.tcg.org