At the risk of sounding too much like an echo of the recent Oscar ceremony -- held by an upstart art form that dates only to the 1890s -- we note that those TTP honorees who play their roles offstage outnumber the onstage performers by a ratio of 3 to 1. Or, to put it another way, actors are necessary but not sufficient for a theater company to succeed.
To prove that point even further, the keynote speaker will be a producer, Ken Davenport, producer of Kinky Boots, which won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Musical. Davenport was also named one of Crain’s “Forty Under 40″, and is one of the Co-Organizers of TEDxBroadway. He has written articles for Forbes, Mashable, Imedia and others; his blog, TheProducersPerspective.com, has been featured in Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, The Gothamist and more.
The Theater Project, a professional theater company, is based at the Burgdorff Cultural for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, New Jersey. The Star-Ledger has recognized the Project's outstanding work with awards for best production, best performer and best director. Begun in 1994 with the goal of presenting the best contemporary plays, it now presents more than 50 performances a year on five stages in two counties. In addition to stage productions, it offers extensive programs serving local playwrights, people with disabilities, children and seniors.
The gala honorees have contributed to that mission in a variety of ways. In addition to their onstage roles, honorees Glor and Talley helped create The Theater Project, as did honoree Deborah Pires. Bohdan Lukaschewsky served as president of TTP's board. J.Edward Cecala and Stephanie Fein supported the project in their roles as philanthropists and community activists. Diane Fairfax and the late Dick Mattfield, who will be represented at the event by Catherine Mattfield, were the creators and coordinators of The Theater Project’s programs for people with vision limitations.
The evening will include live music and a lineup of many favorite actors who’ve appeared in Theater Project productions over the past 20 years. The event, which will be at the Wilshire Grand in West Orange, New Jersey will begin with a cocktail hour, followed by a sit down dinner; an open bar will be available throughout the evening. Guests also can take part in a silent auction that includes a getaway weekend and other offerings. Tickets are $100 per person.
The funds raised will sustain the Theater Project’s mission of serving New Jersey audiences with professionally staged contemporary plays. In the last 20 years, this mission has grown into bringing the live theater experience to children – in their schools and through afterschool classes, and making theater accessible for people with physical disabilities, or with visual or hearing limitations.
“This gala is a milestone for us. We want to mark our 20th anniversary by celebrating and honoring the impressive people who have helped us bring live theater to more and more diverse audiences,” said Mark Spina, Founder and Artistic Director. “Our theater company is fortunate to have our friends who have helped us create exciting theater programs. On May 15th we are thanking them for their generosity as we continue to raise money for our important mission: nurturing and challenging the creative artist in each one of us.”
In addition to attending the Gala, anyone can support The Theater Project by becoming a Gala Sponsor, placing an ad in the evening’s program, or donating items for the Silent Auction. Information on Sponsorships, advertising and auction donations can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To purchase tickets for the Gala, or to learn more about The Theater Project, please visit thetheaterproject.org.