André De Shields, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Sheila E., John Legend, Cassandra Wilson to Receive Honorary Doctorates on May 9

Mikhail Baryshnikov and André De Shields will receive honorary Doctor of Arts degrees from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and Sheila E., John Legend, and Cassandra Wilson will receive honorary Doctor of Music degrees from Berklee College of Music. Images by Peter Baryshnikov and Lia Chang.
Mikhail Baryshnikov and André De Shields will receive honorary Doctor of Arts degrees from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and Sheila E., John Legend, and Cassandra Wilson will receive honorary Doctor of Music degrees from Berklee College of Music. Images by Peter Baryshnikov and Lia Chang.

Five of the most influential artists in the performing arts will receive honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee in virtual commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 9. Mikhail Baryshnikov and André De Shields will receive honorary Doctor of Arts degrees from the Conservatory, and Sheila E., John Legend, and Cassandra Wilson will receive honorary Doctor of Music degrees from the College.

This year’s honorary doctorate recipients will be recognized for their numerous achievements in the arts as well as their enduring contributions to the cultural fabric of America and the world. Past recipients from the College include Duke Ellington (the first, in 1971), Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones ’51, Wang Leehom ’99, Juan Luis Guerra ’82, Missy Elliott, Esperanza Spalding B.M. ’05, Rita Moreno, Justin Timberlake, and A. R. Rahman. Past recipients from the Conservatory include Sutton Foster, Leontyne Price, Betty Buckley, Debbie Allen, Nicholas Paleologos, Barbara Cook, Billy Porter, Victoria Livengood (M.M. ’85, voice), and Mary Rogers.

From their remote locations around the world, a group of student performers representing the College and Conservatory class of 2020 will unite as a collaborative virtual ensemble to record a multigenre tribute to the honorees, with accompanying split-screen-style videos. The prerecorded tribute will air on Friday, May 8, on the Berklee YouTube channel, and the ceremonies will be streamed on Berklee social media channels the following day.

In addition, when circumstances allow, the institution will host in-person ceremonies and receptions on campus in the fall semester: one for each of the three college divisions, one for the conservatory, and one for Berklee Online graduates.

Tony Award Winner André De Shields, Boston Conservatory at Berklee honoree. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony awards for best featured actor in a musical for his critically acclaimed performance as Hermes in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Prior to his Tony Award win, De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’, Play On!, and The Full Monty. In a career spanning 50 years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the eighth annual Off-Broadway Alliance Legend Award and the 33rd annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and a 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for sustained excellence of performance. In 2019, De Shields received the key to the city of his hometown, Baltimore, Maryland, from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young; the inaugural Harlem Week Pride 50 Award; the Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award; the Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award from SAGE; the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre; and an induction into the American Theater Hall of Fame. De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC.

Mikhail Baryshnikov, Boston Conservatory at Berklee honoree
Image by Peter Baryshnikov

Mikhail Baryshnikov is considered one of the greatest dancers of our time. After commencing a spectacular career with the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad, he settled in New York City in 1974 as principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT). In 1978, he joined New York City Ballet, where he worked with George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. A year later he was appointed artistic director of ABT where, for the next decade, he introduced a new generation of dancers and choreographers. From 1990 to 2002, Baryshnikov was director and dancer of the White Oak Dance Project, which he and choreographer Mark Morris cofounded to expand the repertoire and visibility of American modern dance. As an actor he has performed widely on- and off-Broadway, as well as in television and film, receiving a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award nomination for Metamorphosis, and an Academy Award nomination for The Turning Point. He recently toured Brodsky/Baryshnikov, a theatrical solo work directed by Latvian director Alvis Hermanis. In 2005, he launched Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) in New York City, a creative space designed to support multidisciplinary artists from around the globe. Among Baryshnikov’s many awards are the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, the Commonwealth Award, the Chubb Fellowship, the Jerome Robbins Award, and the Vilcek Award. In 2010, he was given the rank of Officer of the French Legion of Honor, and in 2017 he received Japan’s prestigious Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award in Theatre/Film. Current projects include NOT ONCE., a cinematic installation developed in collaboration with Jan Fabre and Phil Griffin, and a second theatrical production directed by Hermanis, The White Helicopter, which premiered November 2019 at the New Riga Theatre.

Sheila E., Berklee College of Music honoree Image courtesy of the artist

Guided by family, faith, and music, Sheila Escovedo has made a name for herself as one of the most talented artists over the past five decades. An acclaimed percussionist, singer, author, and actress, Escovedo has released eight studio albums, two of which reached RIAA gold status. She has received four Grammy Award nominations, an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Music Direction for the program In Performance at the White House: Fiesta Latina, and has reached no. 1 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart twice. Her producing, arranging, and performance talents can be seen from appearances on the Grammys, Academy Awards, Latin Grammys, BET Awards, Kennedy Center Honors, Summer Olympics, and NAACP Image Awards. Her collaborations with the likes of Prince, Hans Zimmer, John Rich, Gary Clark Jr., and the iconic E Family Band showcase her versatility, performing across a variety of musical genres. Escovedo’s eagerness to share her music, her openness as an author, and her fire for her ministry make her a relatable, inspirational figure for people of all ages.

John Legend, Berklee College of Music honoree Image courtesy of the artist

Multiplatinum artist and producer John Legend has garnered 11 Grammys, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a Tony Award, and an Emmy, making Legend the first African American man to earn the elusive EGOT status. Since 2004, Legend has released six acclaimed albums. Legend executive produced and starred in NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar: Live in Concert in 2018, winning an Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special, and a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series, Movie, or Variety Special. He joined NBC’s The Voice for season 16 in 2019, where he won with his mentee Maelyn Jarmon, and is currently a coach for season 18. Legend is a partner in Get Lifted Film Co., serving as an executive producer for Southern RitesUnited Skates, WGN America’s Underground, and films Southside with You and La La Land. As a philanthropist, Legend initiated the #FreeAmerica campaign in 2015 to change the national conversation surrounding the United States’s misguided criminal justice policies and to end mass incarceration.

Cassandra Wilson, Berklee College of Music honoree Image courtesy of the artist

Cassandra Wilson is an iconic jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer. She is heralded for incorporating blues, country, and folk music into her work, expanding the genre of jazz. In the 1980s, she met saxophonist Steve Coleman in New York and became one of the founding members of the M-Base Collective. She signed with Blue Note Records in 1992 and released the landmark album Blue Light ‘Til Dawn, paving the way for a new generation of jazz singers seeking an approach and repertoire that challenged the supremacy of the American standard songbook. Her accolades include two Grammy Awards, a Django d’Or, an Edison Jazz Award, and a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail. She performed on Wynton Marsalis’s Blood on the Fields, the first jazz work to receive the Pulitzer Prize. In 2015, Wilson joined forces with the prestigious Legacy Recordings, a subsidiary of Sony Music. Her latest project, Coming Forth by Day, was released on the 100th anniversary of Billie Holiday’s birth, April 7, 2015. Wilson has launched the website Really Cassandra Radio to develop a more direct relationship with her audience; a section of the site, Secret Garden, is designed for listeners to access music from her published and unpublished catalogue, including selections from her upcoming work, Jupiter Rising.

Yale In Hollywood to Present Free Webinar With Tony Winner David Henry Hwang on April 11

In celebration of the Easter spirit, Yale in Hollywood will present a free webinar with Tony and Obie Winning Playwright David Henry Hwang, live streaming worldwide at 2 pm PST & 5 pm EST on Saturday, April 11, 2020 via the Zoom link: http://tinyurl.com/yihhwang.

David Henry Hwang. Photo by Lia Chang

The on-line event also marks Yale in Hollywood’s launch of its public Facebook page where Yale alumni and students will share their talent, performances, shows, experiences etc. with the broad entertainment community and general audiences.

This conversation with David Henry Hwang will be hosted by Yale alum, actor and playwright Jeff Locker.

David Henry Hwang’s stage works includes the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Disney’s Tarzan. Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner, and a two-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also the most-produced living American opera librettist, whose works have been honored with two Grammy Awards, co-wrote the Gold Record Solo with the late pop icon Prince, and has worked since 2015 as a Writer/Consulting Producer for the Golden Globe-winning television series The Affair. He is currently writing the live-action musical feature The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Disney Studios. Hwang serves on the Board of the Lark Play Development Center, as Head of Playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts, and as Chair of the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. M. Butterfly recently returned to Broadway in a revival directed by Julie Taymor, which marked Mr. Hwang’s eighth Broadway production. His newest work, Soft Power, a collaboration with composer Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home), premiered in May 2018 at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre (six Ovation Awards, including Best Production) and San Francisco’s Curran Theatre; it will open in New York in fall 2019. In 2016, The David Henry Hwang Society was founded by William C. Boles (Rollins College), Martha Johnson (University of Minnesota), and Esther Kim Lee (University of Maryland). The DHH Society is devoted to the scholarly examination of plays by David Henry Hwang.

Jeff Locker is an actor, writer, and host based in Los Angeles, best known for appearances on Marvel’s Agent Carter, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and feature film Stasis. His host work includes the STX Tencent 75th Golden Globe Awards Red Carpet Show, the red carpet of the Huading Awards (akin to the Chinese Golden Globes), Alibaba’s Tianmao Discovery, Mandarin-language game show Who’s Smart on ETTV America, and celebrity interviews for Cast It. He also starred as Mandarin-speaking China consultant Peter Timms in David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish at East West Players and Portland Center Stage. Jeff’s award-winning play The Forgotten Place was recently published by Samuel French and Concord Theatricals, and he’s currently working as a writer on an upcoming major studio film.

Register and watch the live stream of Yale in Hollywood’s webinar with David Henry Hwang via: http://tinyurl.com/yihhwang.

East West Players and Pasadena Playhouse Co-production of Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP nominated for Two Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards Including Lead Performance for Grant Chang and Best Production; Full List of Nominees

Congratulations to the Pasadena Playhouse and East West Players’ co-production of Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap, helmed by Tony Award winner BD Wong, which has received two Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award nominations in the categories of Best Lead Performance for Grant Chang and Best Production.

James Eckhouse and Grant Chang in Pasadena Playhouse & East West Players’s production of The Great Leap. (Photo Credit: Jenny Graham)

The Great Leap is the story of an American basketball team in Beijing where the coaches find themselves in a conflict that runs deeper than the strain between the countries, and where a young player’s actions become the accidental focus of attention.

Tabitha Lee, Grant Chang (THE GREAT LEAP), Lauren Yee, BD Wong (THE GREAT LEAP) and Richert Schnorr. Photo by Lia Chang

Below is the full list of nominees for theatrical excellence for the year 2019. This year they are forgoing their annual event ceremony and will instead post the award recipients online in the upcoming weeks.

Production:
Gem of the Ocean, A Noise Within
How We’re Different From Animals, ÉLAN Ensemble
Indecent, Center Theatre Group and Huntington Theatre Company
The Great Leap, East West Players and Pasadena Playhouse
The Mother of Henry, Latino Theater Company
Witch, Geffen Playhouse

McCulloh Award for Revival
The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
The Glass Menagerie, A Noise Within
The Skin of Our Teeth, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
Two Trains Running, Sophina Brown

Lead Performance
Grant Chang, The Great Leap, Pasadena Playhouse
Willow Geer, The Skin of Our Teeth, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
Rafael Goldstein, The Glass Menagerie, A Noise Within
Steve Hofvendahl, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
Kate Huffman, Friends With Guns, The Road Theatre Company
Evan Jonigkeit, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
Michael Manuel, Frankenstein, A Noise Within
Rob Nagle, The Judas Kiss, Boston Court Pasadena
George Salazar, Little Shop of Horrors, Pasadena Playhouse
Liza Seneca, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
Maura Tierney, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
Dianne Wiest, Happy Days, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum

Featured Performance
Eden Espinosa, Falsettos, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
Tyrin Niles, Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company
Nija Okoro, Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
Arianna Ortiz, Friends With Guns, The Road Theatre Company
Adolphus Ward, Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
Denise Yolén, Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company

Ensemble Performance
Indecent, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company
The Wolves, Echo Theater Company
Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
Uncle Vanya, The New American Theatre
Witch, Geffen Playhouse

Solo Performance
Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H., Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre

Writing
Sarah DeLappe, The Wolves, Echo Theater Company
Jen Silverman, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
Paula Vogel, Indecent, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

Writing, Adaptation
Lucas Hnath, Dana H., Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre
Mary Zimmerman, Argonautika, A Noise Within

Musical Score
Mark Heard, Pat Terry, Randy VanWarmer, Tim Alderson, Salvage, Lounge Theatre
Bill Sims Jr, August Wilson’s Jitney, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum

Music Direction
Anthony Lucca, Bronco Billy – The Musical, Skylight Theatre
David O, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, South Coast Repertory
Stephan Terry, Salvage, Lounge Theatre

Choreography
Edgar Godineaux & Jared Grimes, Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, Geffen Playhouse
Janet Roston, Bronco Billy – The Musical, Skylight Theatre
Stephanie Shroyer, Argonautika, A Noise Within

Direction
Marti Lyons, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
Stephanie Shroyer, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
Jack Stehlin, Uncle Vanya, The New American Theatre
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
Stevie Walker-Webb, Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company

Set Design
John Lee Beatty, Key Largo, Geffen Playhouse
John Iacovelli, Two Trains Running, Matrix Theatre
Izmir Ickbal, Happy Days, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum
Frederica Nascimento, Argonautika, A Noise Within

Lighting Design
Ken Booth, Argonautika, A Noise Within
Elizabeth Harper, Mysterious Circumstances, Geffen Playhouse
Peter Kaczorowski, Key Largo, Geffen Playhouse
Jared A. Sayeg, Ragtime, Pasadena Playhouse

Costume Design
Linda Cho, Anastasia, Pantages Theatre
Jenny Foldenauer, Argonautika, A Noise Within
Danae Iris McQueen, Witch, Geffen Playhouse
Katherine O’Neill, Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, Geffen Playhouse

Sound Design
Mikhail Fiksel, Dana H., Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre
Jeff Gardner, Scraps, The Matrix Theatre Company
Jeff Gardner, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Antaeus Theatre Company
Robert Oriol, Argonautika, A Noise Within

CGI/Video
Jared Mezzocchi, Poor Yella Rednecks, South Coast Repertory
Yee Eun Nam, The Mother of Henry, Latino Theater Company
Aaron Rhyne, Anastasia, Pantages Theatre

Specialty
Steve Cuiffo , Illusions & Lip Sync, Dana H., Center Theatre Group, Kirk Douglas Theatre
Dillon Nelson, Puppet Design, Argonautika, A Noise Within

SPECIAL AWARDS
The Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theatre will be awarded to The Fountain Theatre.

The Polly Warfield Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theatre will be awarded to A Noise Within.

The Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play goes to The Mother of Henry, written by Evelina Fernández, produced by the Latino Theater Company.

The Kinetic Lighting Award for distinguished achievement in theatrical design goes to projection and set designer Hana S. Kim.

The Joel Hirschhorn Award for distinguished achievement in musical theatre goes to Celebration Theatre.

The Milton Katselas Award for distinguished achievement in direction goes to Michael Michetti.

The Gordon Davidson Award for distinguished contribution to the Los Angeles theatrical community will be presented to the Ojai Playwrights Conference.

Every effort has been made to ascertain proper credits for our nominees. We regret any errors or omissions. Any that come to our attention will be corrected on our LADCC website and (when applicable) on a recipient’s award certificate.

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle was founded in 1969. It is dedicated to excellence in theatrical criticism, and to the encouragement and improvement of theatre in Greater Los Angeles.

Remembering Maria Mercader, CBS News journalist for three decades

UPDATED ON: MARCH 29, 2020 / 5:42 PM / CBS NEWS

CBS News is mourning the loss of Maria Mercader, a network veteran who covered breaking news for nearly three decades and, most recently, helped shape strategy for the network’s correspondents and reporters.

Maria Mercader
CBS News

Maria was 54 and died from the Covid-19 coronavirus in a New York hospital. She had been on medical leave for an unrelated matter since the last week in February.

Maria fought cancer and related illnesses for more than 20 years, and was an inspiration each time she returned to work after a setback threatened to end her life.

“Even more than her talents as a journalist, we will miss her indomitable spirit,” said Susan Zirinsky, CBS News president and senior executive producer. “Maria was part of all of our lives. Even when she was hospitalized — and she knew something was going on at CBS, she would call with counsel, encouragement, and would say ‘you can do this.’ I called Maria a ‘warrior,’ she was. Maria was a gift we cherished.”

Maria was active in coordinating CBS News participation in the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and the National Association of Black Journalists.

“The Maria we are privileged to call family and friend knew better than most the power of relationships, loyalty, faith, kindness, perseverance and a smile, even when a smile defied the darkness of the moment,” said Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, EVP of Strategic Professional Development, CBS News. “Her notable professional contributions are part of the CBS Archives, but it is her magnificent human spirit that touched so many of us, that will stay with us forever.”

“Maria was a friend to all,” said Laurie Orlando, CBS News SVP of Talent. “It’s nearly impossible to be someone EVERYONE loves, but Maria was. She always had a warm hug, a word of advice or support and a big smile for everyone in her life. She was a bright light and will be sorely missed.”

Maria got her start at CBS News in 1987, in the CBS Page Program. In her years working on the CBS News foreign and national desks, Maria helped produce many of the biggest stories, including the death of Princess Diana and the 9/11 attacks. She won a Business Emmy in 2004 for her work on a “CBS Sunday Morning” report on computer spam.

Al Ortiz, CBS News VP of Standards and Practices, said,  “Maria was one of the bravest, funniest, and most supportive colleagues most of us have ever known. She was a woman of strong faith with a clear sense of right and wrong.”

Maria Carla Mercader was born November 28, 1965 in New York City.  She attended the all-girls Dominican Academy in Manhattan and went on to graduate from the College of New Rochelle in 1987.

Inspired by her mother, Gladys, who predeceased her and was the pianist for the American Ballet Theatre, Maria loved music and was a big supporter of ballet.

Maria is survived by her father, Manuel and brother, Manuel.

André de Shields, Taylor Mac, Rachel Chavkin, Mia Katigbak, Clint Ramos, Lynn Nottage, Dominique Morisseau and More Launch THE TRICKLE UP to Aid Artists Loss of Income Due to Covid-19

Tony-nominee Taylor Mac, Hadestown Tony-winners Rachel Chavkin and André De Shields, Tony-winner Lisa Kron, playwrights Lynn Nottage and Lucas Hnath, costume designer Clint Ramos and a group of over 50 other New York City artists-including Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Fellowship and OBIE Award winners spanning numerous disciplines-have launched The Trickle Up, a subscription video service to help artists hurt from the COVID-19 shutdown.

The new grassroots subscription video platform enlists New York artists in helping other New York artists living below the poverty line, who are suffering from lost income, by sharing work on the platform.

Broadway playwright, Taylor Mac has recorded several segments including a reading of Mac’s recent Tony-nominated play Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus.

Mac explains, “The Trickle Up is a network where you would see stuff you would never otherwise get to see. When else are you going to see the playwright read their entire play?” The artists aim to begin the project as a grassroots effort among New York artists-who themselves represent various corners of the country and world-and see if and how it might expand to artists elsewhere from there.

Mac says, “I was at a theater and overheard somebody in the lobby say that yesterday she had three jobs and today she had zero jobs. This was a person living week-to-week already, and on my way home, I thought, ‘how is she going to survive, and what can we do to help someone in this position?’ As so many of us are people who currently or historically have lived below the poverty line, we know how hard it is to do basic things like buy groceries, and also we know how much a big lump sum like $10,000 can change your life. My first grant was $7,000 from the Peter S. Reed Foundation and was thanks to another artist, Elizabeth Swados, putting my name on the list of recipients. At the time I had no money and was racing to pay basic necessities. Getting that grant changed everything. Our hope is that we can do the same for an unprecedented number of artists. Both in this time of heightened need and moving forward. Every year.”

An openness and flair for casual invention characterizes the videos the organizers have called for, with the option for artists to use a smartphone to film anything including readings of portions cut from a play; displays of new designs; performances of new songs or dances; or of any of the presumably many things that recently got canceled amidst this crisis.

The site launches today, Monday, March 23, with videos streaming here and aims to engage 10,000 subscribers paying $10 a month in order to raise $10,000 each for 120 different artists in need. Further funds raised through the service will help additional artists.

Participating artists include Penny Arcade (performance artist), Annie Baker (playwright), Sharon Bridgforth (playwright/poet), Rachel Chavkin (theatre-maker), Lisa D’Amour (playwright), Helga Davis (performer), Machine Dazzle (designer), Lear DeBessonett (theatre-maker), Ty Dafoe (actor), Andre De Shields (performer), Viva DeConcini (musician), Kristoffer Diaz (playwright), Faye Driscoll (choreographer), Anastasia Durasova (makeup designer), Bridget Everett (comedienne/singer), Greg Glassman (musician), Lucas Hnath (playwright), Marika Hughes (musician), Mia Katigbak (theatre-maker), Lisa Kron (playwright), Jeyn Levison and Joshua Waletzky (Yiddish culturalists), Bianca Leigh (actress), Dana Lyn (musician), Taylor Mac (theatre-maker), Ellen Maddow (theatre-maker) , Kristin Marting (theatre-maker), Dirty Martini (burlesque performer), Dominique Morisseau (performer/playwright), Miguel Gutierrez (choreographer), Lynn Nottage (playwright), Diana Oh (playwright/ performer), Suzan-Lori Parks (playwright/musician), Annie-B Parson (choreographer/theatre-maker), Clint Ramos (designer), Sarah Ruhl (playwright/poet), Peggy Shaw (theatre maker), Sxip Shirey (composer/musician), Niegel Smith (theatre maker), Lloyd Suh (playwright), Darrel Thorne (designer/club performer), Tigger! (actor/burlesque performer), Liesl Tommy (director), Adrienne Truscott (performance artist), Basil Twist (puppeteer), Paula Vogel (playwright), Ann Washburn (playwright), Lois Weaver (theatre-maker), Weirdos.TV (performance artist), and Paul Zimet (theatre-maker). These donating artists, and any others who join in the cause in the future, will select recipients of the $10,000 commissions.

In addition to these artists, 20 promotional partners have joined the cause: Brooklyn Arts Council, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Beth Morrison Projects, Clubbed Thumb, The Flea Theater, HERE Arts Center, HowlRound, The Lark, Ma-Yi Theater Company, MAP Fund, NAATCO, New Dramatists, New Georges, New Ohio Theatre, On the Boards, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, Peoplmovr, The Play Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, and Times Square Arts.

Mellon Foundation Joins Consortium Supporting Small and Mid-size Arts Organizations through $75-million NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund

New York, March 20, 2020–Bloomberg Philanthropies, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund, Joan Ganz Cooney & Holly Peterson Fund, The JPB Foundation, The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The New York Community Trust, Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros, Jon Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović, Charles H. Revson Foundation, Robin Hood, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Laurie M Tisch Illumination Fund, UJA-Federation of New York, and Wells Fargo Foundation has announced the launch of the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund to support New York City-based social services and arts and cultural organizations that have been affected by the current coronavirus public health crisis. The new $75 million fund will provide grants and interest-free loans to small and mid-size nonprofits to help them respond to emerging needs, cover losses associated with the disruption of their operations, and help them continue their critical work. The founding member foundations, companies, and individuals are building on their prior experience in local disaster recovery and funding, including 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy.

New York City residents rely on a network of local nonprofit organizations to provide a wide range of important services. Social service organizations provide food, home healthcare, housing, childcare, afterschool services, and more. Arts and cultural organizations provide programs throughout our neighborhoods that contribute significantly to the City’s economy and quality of life. Now, thousands of these vital community organizations across New York’s five boroughs are being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, risking the continuity of their daily operations and challenging the stability of the critical services they provide. While many organizations are continuing to respond to the immediate needs of impacted, vulnerable community members, too many are struggling due to lost revenue that will diminish their ability to pay rent, make payroll, and continue to fulfill their public service missions. Most of the organizations facing business interruption are unlikely to collect insurance that would be available for other types of disasters.

“The coronavirus pandemic threatens to cripple New York City’s nonprofit organizations and the vitally important services they provide. This joint initiative with so many incredible philanthropic partners will help ensure that many of our city’s nonprofits can withstand this crisis and continue to serve all New Yorkers,” said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “In this crucial moment, thanks to Mike Bloomberg’s leadership, Bloomberg Philanthropies has also launched an effort to virtually convene U.S. local leaders to share knowledge and response strategies from experts at Johns Hopkins and Harvard. Additionally, we’ve begun an international effort with the WHO and Vital Strategies to stem the spread of coronavirus in low- and middle-income countries. In partnership with so many dedicated leaders and organizations on the front line, we can make a real difference and save lives.”

“We are grateful that once again the New York philanthropic community has come together to do its best in response to a catastrophe,” said Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “The coronavirus pandemic is disruptive to our entire society, especially to our children, with the potential for lasting setbacks in their development. The Corporation is pleased to join peer institutions in assisting the City of New York with its many urgent needs, including services for the public school system, such as student meals and arts and cultural programs for 1.1 million children. In addition, our education grantees will have the flexibility needed to expand crucial services like online learning and teacher and parent resources to help communities nationwide.”

The NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund will be administered by the New York Community Trust and will provide grants and interest-free loans. Among social services groups, priority will be given to direct service providers, such as those supporting essential healthcare and food insecurity. In the arts and cultural sector, the Fund will provide support to small and mid-size organizations that work from and are attentive to their communities.

“We at the Mellon Foundation recognize the arts and humanities’ unique power to cultivate hope in the midst of challenges and uncertainty,” noted Elizabeth Alexander, President of the Mellon Foundation, whose commitment will go to arts support. “As artists and cultural institutions adjust to new fiscal realities, we call on funders, businesses, and individuals to join us in supporting the arts and the strength, inspiration, and perspective they bring—in New York City and around the world.”

“The Ford Foundation believes we must respond immediately to the human services needs of  vulnerable New Yorkers and also support the arts and culture infrastructure across the five boroughs,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation.

“This is an unprecedented situation, but the philanthropic community has had experience joining together to respond,” said Lorie Slutsky, President of The New York Community Trust. “The NYC Covid-19 Response & Impact Fund will provide critical funding to shore up the safety net provided by nonprofits across the city as they struggle to keep up with the increased demand for their services. We hope everyone who is passionate about our city and its people will join us.”

Recognizing best practice from past experience working through crises, this initiative will provide grants and no-interest loans for needs including:

●  Unrestricted, flexible funding to support new and emergency needs and meet community demands, particularly for service offerings outside normal operations required to respond to social distancing, isolation and quarantine.

● Technology to support remote work and services – laptops and remote calling capacity (ie. Zoom) for staff, securing staffing and training to fulfill their mission.

● Temporary staff support to cover for shortages caused by employees who are ill, may have to quarantine, or stay home to care for family members or children during school closures.

●   Equipment and supplies such as masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, and cleaning supplies.

● Additional cleaning services to augment in-house operations.

●  Support to aid the loss of operational revenue from facility closings, cancelled programs, events, etc.

To be eligible, an organization must meet the following criteria:

●        501(c)3 nonprofit organization

●        Based in New York City

●        Recipient of New York City and/or New York State government funding

●        Annual operating budget of up to $20M (excluding government contracts)

●        Track record of robust programming and services for New York residents

An advisory committee of leaders in public health, community development, and the arts will help guide the efforts of the new Fund. The New York Community Trust will continue to solicit donations from foundations, corporate partners, and individuals committed to the health and wellbeing of New York City.  The donors to the Fund are committed to an expedited process for decisions and payment of funds to recipient organizations.

The New York Community Trust is New York’s community foundation. It brings together individuals, families, foundations, and businesses to support nonprofits that make a difference. Since 1924, The Trust has been and continues to be a critical part of New York’s philanthropic response. The Trust co-created the September 11th Fund after the attack on the World Trade Center and has worked on issues affecting New Yorkers for decades.

Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), a nonprofit lender and consultant with 40 years of local and national experience, will administer NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund loans. NFF will offer implementation support and additional resources to organizations receiving loans through this initiative.

Interested organizations can get more information and apply here.

Amid Lack of Federal Direction, Governor Cuomo, Governor Murphy and Governor Lamont Announce Regional Approach to Combatting COVID-19

Press Release 3/16/20

Amid a lack of federal direction and nationwide standards, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont today announced a regional approach to combating the novel coronavirus – or COVID-19 – throughout the tri-state area.
These uniform standards will limit crowd capacity for social and recreational gatherings to 50 people, effective 8 PM tonight. This follows updated guidance that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued yesterday recommending the cancellation or postponement of in-person events consisting of 50 people or more.

The three governors also announced restaurants and bars will close for on premise service and move to take-out and delivery services only. These establishments will be provided a waiver for carry-out alcohol. These measures will take effect at 8 PM tonight.

Finally, the three governors said they will temporarily close movie theaters, gyms and casinos, effective at 8 PM tonight.

This uniform approach to social distancing is meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

“Our primary goal right now is to slow the spread of this virus so that the wave of new infections doesn’t crash our healthcare system, and everyone agrees social distancing is the best way to do that,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is not a war that can be won alone, which is why New York is partnering with our neighboring states to implement a uniform standard that not only keeps our people safe but also prevents ‘state shopping’ where residents of one state travel to another and vice versa. I have called on the federal government to implement nationwide protocols but in their absence we are taking this on ourselves.”

Governor Murphy said, “With all we are seeing in our state – and across our nation and around the world – the time for us to take our strongest, and most direct, actions to date to slow the spread of coronavirus is now. I’ve said many times over the past several days that, in our state, we are going to get through this as one New Jersey family. But if we’re all in this together, we must work with our neighboring states to act together. The work against coronavirus isn’t just up to some of us, it’s up to all of us.”

Governor Lamont said, “The only way to effectively fight the spread of COVID-19 is by working together as states. We have shared interests, and a patchwork of closures and restrictions is not the best way forward. I know that because of this collaboration, we will save lives.”

Statement From Mayor de Blasio on Bars, Restaurants, and Entertainment Venues in New York

Press Release 3/15/20

From the Office of Mayor de Blasio

“Our lives are all changing in ways that were unimaginable just a week ago. We are taking a series of actions that we never would have taken otherwise in an effort to save the lives of loved ones and our neighbors. Now it is time to take yet another drastic step.  The virus can spread rapidly through the close interactions New Yorkers have in restaurants, bars and places where we sit close together. We have to break that cycle.

“Tomorrow, I will sign an Executive Order limiting restaurants, bars and cafes to food take-out and delivery. Nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses, and concert venues must all close. The order will go into effect Tuesday, March 17 at 9:00 AM.

“This is not a decision I make lightly. These places are part of the heart and soul of our city. They are part of what it means to be a New Yorker. But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality.

“We will come through this, but until we do, we must make whatever sacrifices necessary to help our fellow New Yorkers.”

pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov
(212) 788-2958

Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award Winner André De Shields Set for The Broadway Concert Series Presented by Vi at Aventura on March 11

André De Shields, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang

Triple crown winner of the 2019 Broadway Awards Season André De Shields joins The Broadway Concert Series Presented by Vi at Aventura at Aventura Arts & Cultural Center on Wednesday, March 11 at 8 p.m.

André De Shields, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang

Tickets are $50-$55, $75 VIP tickets include a post-show meet and greet. Buy tickets online at aventuracenter.org, by phone at 877.311.7469 or 954.462.0222, or in person at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center box office Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and 90 minutes prior to each performance. For Group Sales, please call 954.660.6307. The Aventura Arts & Cultural Center is located at 3385 N.E. 188 Street in Aventura.

André De Shields, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang

The Hadestown star will perform his theatrical concert, OLD DAWG: NEW TRICKS, which premiered in the Lincoln Center American Songbook Concert Series, and will be joined on stage by TheRhinestoneRockStarBoogieWoogieDollBabies: Freida Williams and Marlène Danielle on vocals, and the New Tricks: Music Director Liam Robinson (Piano, Conductor, Vocal Arrangements), Dan Rieser (Drums) Brad Jones (Bass). The show features two original compositions written by Mr. De Shields, Smile and L-O-V-E.

André De Shields, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang

Mr. De Shields was the triple crown winner of the 2019 award season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk Award and Tony Awards as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his unanimously critically acclaimed performance as Hermes, Messenger to the Gods, in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, which honors veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields recently received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album, 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. De Shields can currently be seen on Netflix as the Algebra Tutor in John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” and on The CW as Chubby in “Katy Keene.”

André De Shields, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang

The Broward Center for the Performing Arts manages the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center, a 14,864-square-foot, 330-seat waterfront complex that hosts performing arts, cultural and educational programming for all ages.

Freida Williams, André De Shields, Marlène Danielle. Photo by Lia Chang
Brad Jones, André De Shields, Freida Williams, Marlène Danielle, Dan Rieser. Photo by Lia Chang
Brad Jones, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Freida Williams, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Freida Williams, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Freida Williams, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang
Liam Robinson, André De Shields, Brad Jones, Freida Williams, Marlène Danielle, Dan Rieser. Photo by Lia Chang
Liam Robinson, Dan Rieser, Freida Williams, André De Shields, Marlène Danielle, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang
Liam Robinson, Freida Williams, André De Shields, Brad Jones, Marlène Danielle, Dan Rieser. Photo by Lia Chang

Join the conversation, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram @aventuracenter or #aventuracenter

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the filmsWolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young which will be screened at the inaugural San Francisco Chinatown Community Film Festival at Clarion Performing Arts Center on March 22. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

Tony, Grammy and Emmy Winner André De Shields Brings OLD DAWG; NEW TRICKS to the Broadway Cabaret Series at Old School Square’s Crest Theatre

Old School Square’s Crest Theatre in Delray, Beach, Fl. Photo by Lia Chang

In its 24th season and presented in association with Mark Keller/Keller Monash Productions, the Broadway Cabaret series is presenting Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award Winner André De Shields on March 9th and 10th at Old School Square’s Crest Theatre in Delray Beach, Fl. Scroll down for photos from the first of two performances of Old Dawg; New Tricks, the Hadestown star’s autobiographical theatrical concert.

The Book of Jelly. Photo by Lia Chang

He was joined on stage by TheRhinestoneRockStarBoogieWoogieDollBabies: Freida Williams and Marlène Danielle on vocals, and the New Tricks: Music Director Liam Robinson (Piano, Conductor, Vocal Arrangements), Dan Rieser (Drums) Brad Jones (Bass). Larry Spivack and Todd Sickafoose served as Orchestrators. The show features two original compositions written by Mr. De Shields, Smile and L-O-V-E.

André De Shields, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang

Mr. De Shields was the triple crown winner of the 2019 award season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk Award and Tony Awards as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his unanimously critically acclaimed performance as Hermes, Messenger to the Gods, in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, which honors veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields recently received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album, 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. De Shields can currently be seen on Netflix as the Algebra Tutor in John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” and on The CW as Chubby in “Katy Keene.”

André De Shields, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang

Tickets can be purchased through the Crest Theatre Box Office by calling 561.243.7922, ext. 1, emailing mail to: BoxOffice@oldschool.org or stopping by in person at 51 N. Swinton Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33444. VIP & Premium tickets include post-show reception with performers; VIP Table siting also includes 1 complimentary drink and table service. The Box Office is open Monday – Friday from 10AM – 5PM. Click here for tickets.

André De Shields, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang
Liam Robinson, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Brad Jones, Freida Williams, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Freida Williams, Brad Jones, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Freida Williams, Brad Jones, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Brad Jones, André De Shields, Freida Williams, Marlène Danielle. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Freida Williams, Marlène Danielle, Dan Rieser. Photo by Lia Chang
Liam Robinson, André De Shields, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Freida Williams, Marlène Danielle, Dan Rieser. Photo by Lia Chang
Freida Williams, André De Shields, Marlène Danielle. Photo by Lia Chang
Liam Robinson, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Liam Robinson, André De Shields, Brad Jones, Freida Williams, Marlène Danielle, Dan Rieser. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang
Liam Robinson, Freida Williams, André De Shields, Brad Jones, Marlène Danielle, Dan Rieser. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Mark Keller and André De Shields Photo by Lia Chang
Marlène Danielle, André De Shields, Freida Williams. Photo by Lia Chang
Mark Keller, Freida Williams, André De Shields, Avery Sommers, Marlène Danielle, Dan Rieser, Brad Jones. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Lia Chang. Photo by Marlene Bernouy-Knight

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the filmsWolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young which will be screened at the inaugural San Francisco Chinatown Community Film Festival at Clarion Performing Arts Center on March 22. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com