DeWanda Wise, star of the Netflix series “She’d Gotta Have It,” and her husband, Alano Miller, best known for the WGN America drama series “Underground,” will join Ted Lange, the actor, director and screenwriter known for the TV series “The Love Boat,” as co-hosts of New Federal Theatre’s “50th Anniversary Virtual Gala” January 17, 2021 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. The event will celebrate the esteemed organization, founded by Woodie King, Jr. in 1970, for its 50 years of theatrical excellence.
This virtual gala will be accessible from the theater’s website, www.newfederaltheatre.com, and will honor Cliff Frazier, Ron Himes, S. Epatha Merkerson, Ed Pitt, Phylicia Rashad, Oz Scott, Beth Turner, Glynn Turman and Douglas Turner Ward.
Attendees are encouraged to reserve early.
The celebration is written by Bill Harris and directed by Dean Irby. Honorary Committee for the event includes Debbie Allen, Harry Belafonte, Vin Diesel, Toni Fay, Danny Glover, Samuel L. Jackson, La Tanya Richardson Jackson, Sidney Poitier, Issa Rae, Phylicia Rashad, Lamman Rucker, Glynn Turman, Mfundi Vundla and Lynn Whitfield.
Special Guests: Debbie Allen, Trazana Beverly, Mya Carter, Patrice Johnson Chevannes, Debbi Blackwell Cook, Michael Dinwiddie, D.K. Dyson, Joseph L. Edwards, Elain Graham, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Ted Lange, Kevin Maynor, Ademola Olugebefola, Joyce Sylvester and Richard Wesley.
Editor: Natalie Morrow, Production: Stage Manager: John Scutchins.
DeWanda Wise was last directed by Woodie King, Jr., the founder and Producing Director of New Federal Theatre, in Leslie Lee’s play “Sundown Names and Night-Gone Things” at Castillo Theatre in 2009.
Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre has produced over 450 mainstage plays, an astonishing and influential record of achievement, sending multiple plays to Broadway and launching numerous minority and women playwrights and actors into prominent careers. Its alumni are an honor roll of artists of color from the 1970s through today.
Several early successes brought NFT to national prominence: “Black Girl” by J.E. Franklin, won a Drama Desk Award, “The Taking of Miss Janie” by Ed Bullins moved from NFT to Lincoln Center and won the Drama Critics Circle Award; “For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange performed on Broadway for ten months (co-produced with the late Joseph Papp) and was nominated for the Tony Award before embarking on a three-year national tour. It has subsequently been performed regionally and around the world and was revived Off-Broadway in 2019.
Among the performers who benefited from early successes on NFT’s stage are the late Chadwick Boseman, Debbie Allen, Morgan Freeman, Phylicia Rashad, Denzel Washington, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Issa Rae, and many more.
For more info, including an expanded list of the company’s distinguished alumni, click here.
Admission to this virtual gala is free and donations will be gratefully accepted. To reserve, click here or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Suggested donations are $50 to $25,000 and can be made through Paypal at www.newfederaltheatre.org or by mailing a check to New Federal Theatre, 543 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036.
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 films Wolf, 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. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.
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