TheaterWorksUSA Secures 1.6 million, Richard Kind calls the Company a “Vital Entity” to the Field
Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jelani Alladin join call to support TheaterWorksUSA’s “necessary work.”
In a stunning display of solidarity, joy, and support, stars, artists, families, and organizations rallied online Friday evening to share performances and their own personal experiences with the work of TheaterWorksUSA at the organization’s first virtual benefit, Connecting the Dots. The evening secured nearly $1.6 million in support for the company and honored twin brothers, creativity champions and award-winning author/illustrators Paul and Peter H. Reynolds of FableVision and International Dot Day for their outstanding contributions to the educational and cultural development of young people around the world. TheaterWorksUSA recently shared highlights of its continued theatrical programming, including an upcoming first-time broadcast and digital recording of We The People, shot live and reimagined for a digital landscape.
The fundraising success was the result of a leadership gift from TWUSA Board Chair Lisa Chanel and the Chanel Family Foundation combined with support from over 200 audience members to the virtual event shared on Broadway On Demand.Lisa shared, “Theater companies are facing an unprecedented crisis. The impact that TheaterWorksUSA has on young people nationwide is unequaled and deserving of support, as is the role this organization plays in creating jobs for artists. It is a great privilege for the Chanel Family Foundation to support TheaterWorksUSA as it embraces the opportunity to evolve and recommit to telling inclusive stories that educate, entertain, and inspire young and family audiences. We hope that others who are able to contribute will join us in doing so at this critical moment.”
In the call for community support, composer Ben Wexler highlighted TheaterWorksUSA’s educational programming response to the shutdown, sharing that “TheaterWorksUSAcademy continues to provide theater education and creative opportunity to young people.” Wexler currently teaches the songwriting course provided in the education programming at TheaterWorksUSA. Laura Benanti refers to the storytelling that TheaterWorksUSA shares as “the best way to crack open someone’s mind and heart,” while the evening’s features Jelani Aladdin and Daphne Rubin-Vega contributed heart-felt connections to the organization, with Rubin-Vega calling the work the “pulse of the universe” necessary to grow. Richard Kind passionately names TheaterWorksUSA a “vital entity” to the field as one of the many reasons to continue support during this time.
In a letter to supporters, Artistic Director Barbara Pasternack and Executive Director Michael Harrington shared that they “remain dedicated to pursuing our mission and have adapted to this unprecedented time in a way that is intended to benefit young audiences around the country now and well into the future.”
The Connecting the Dots virtual fall benefit at TheaterWorksUSA streamed on the Broadway On Demand platform and was produced by Jim Kierstead, Executive Producer, Heather Arnson, Creative Director, and Asad Javed as Technical Director/Editor of Broadway Virtual. The benefit was made possible thanks to the support of Scholastic, BroadwayHD, American Whiskey, and Proscenium.
TheaterWorksUSA has led the Theater for Young and Family Audiences movement in New York City and across North America for over half a century. Since 1961, the 501(c)3 not-for-profit has captured the imaginations of 100 million new and veteran theatergoers with an award-winning repertoire of over 140 original plays and musicals - including a musical adaptation of Peter H. Reynolds’ best-selling storybook about creativity The Dot. Acclaimed alumni include Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (Disney’s Frozen), Jerry Zaks (The Music Man), Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen), Joe Iconis (Be More Chill), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent), and Kathleen Chalfant (Angels in America). Prior to suspending live production due to the pandemic, TWUSA’s 19-20 season included touring eleven shows around the country, the Broadway premiere of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, and three world premieres: Warriors Don’t Cry based on the autobiography of Melba Patillo Beals; Dog Man: The Musical off-Broadway; and The Pout-Pout Fish which opened the New Victory Theater’s season in October 2019.
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