Oct. 18: The Drama League will Honor Wayne Brady at LIGHT THE LIGHTS! Benefit with Performances by André De Shields, Telly Leung, Tituss Burgess, Bonnie Milligan and More

On Monday, October 18, 2021, The Drama League will honor Emmy Award-winner and Grammy Award-nominee Wayne Brady at The Players (16 Gramercy Park South) in New York. The evening will be hosted by Grammy Award-winner Kandi Burruss and will feature performances by Broadway stars André De Shields, Telly Leung, Tituss Burgess, Bonnie Milligan and more. Other artists speaking at the event include Josh Bergasse, Brenda Braxton, and Jerry Mitchell, with a special video message from Chita Rivera.

WAYNE BRADY, a five-time Emmy Award winner and Grammy Award nominee, has made his mark on stage and screen as an actor, singer, dancer, songwriter, and television personality. A true multi-hyphenate, Brady’s career path, and personal life journey have helped him see the world in a very unique way. His aspirations have always gone beyond solely starring in various entertainment projects, and under his Makin’ It Up Productions banner, he’s set out to create new content across different platforms that showcase innovation and inclusivity in fun and powerful ways. Brady made his Broadway debut starring as legal showman ‘Billy Flynn’ in the long-running hit musical, Chicago. Soon after, Brady starred as the ground-breaking character ‘Lola’ in Kinky Boots, the Tony Award winning musical with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein. His interpretation of the lead role was so popular, he returned for an additional limited run the following year. Brady would later assume his biggest theatrical role to date headlining as ‘Aaron Burr’ in the Chicago production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award winning juggernaut Hamilton. A five-time Emmy Award winner (the first to win Daytime and Primetime awards in two consecutive years), Brady was also the only entertainer across the 2019-2020 season to have a presence across five different television series (“Let’s Make A Deal,” “The Masked Singer,” “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” “Black Lightning” and “Comedy IQ”) – each spotlighting different aspects of his immense talent.  All of this followed on the heels of his award winning daytime talk show “The Wayne Brady Show.” In addition to being a force in front of the camera, Brady is heavily active behind the scenes wearing the hats of executive producer for “Whose Line Is It Anyway?,” “Let’s Make A Deal” and “Comedy IQ,” which he also co-created. He recently took on another dual role with “Game of Talents,” a new series in which he starred and executive produced. A writer across all of his various projects, one of Brady’s proudest accomplishments is his team-up with Dave Chappelle on Comedy Central’s “Chappelle’s Show”, spoofing the film Training Day.  Co-written by Brady and Chappelle, the segment has been enshrined in the Museum of TV and Film as one of the top sketches of all time. An accomplished singer and performer, Brady’s musical acumen has always been a personal passion, and he used that as fuel to help win the second season of “The Masked Singer”. Off his victory, Brady dropped a brand-new original single, entitled “Flirtin’ w/ Forever,” which quickly climbed the streaming charts, as well as an accompanying music video. This followed the success of his debut album, headlined by a version of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” which earned him a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance category. Last year represented the latest step in Brady’s career evolution as he took his talents to TikTok, amassing a stellar following in a short period of time. Whether utilizing the platform to raise awareness to important social issues or collaborating with his extended family, TikTok has helped him continue to reach and interact with new fans in surprising and innovative ways. Wayne Brady currently resides in Los Angeles.

The Drama League is also delighted to announce the winners of the TikTok songwriting challenge. The contest, launched earlier this month, challenged composers to post an original Broadway-style “Anthem for the Future of Theatre” on TikTok – a platform that has been instrumental in uplifting emerging theatre professionals during the pandemic. The winning composers/lyricists are Deborah Abramson & Amanda Yesnowitz, Nico Juber & Selena Seballo, Jordan Li-Smith, Paulie Pecorella & Sean McCabe, and Alec Powell. Each songwriting team won $250, and the five winning Anthems will be performed at the benefit by one of the evening’s performers.

The creative team behind the evening’s program at Light the Lights! A Drama League Celebration includes The Drama League’s Artistic Line Producer Ali Skye Bennet, Director Ben Villegas Randle, Music Director David Evans, Production Manager Alberto Ruiz, Lighting Designer Jenn Burkhardt, Stage Manager Rachel Gross, Assistant Stage Manager Veronica Lee, Producing Assistant Latrice Smith, and Social Media Strategist Molly Barson. The onstage musicians include David Evans (piano), Michael Blanco (bass), Greg Skaff (guitar), and Joe Nero (percussion); prior to the main program, guests will be treated to the musical stylings of pianist Eliza Randall.

For tickets to the Benefit or ad space in the digital journal, call 212.244.9494 ext 111 or email events@dramaleague.org. Tickets can be purchased, and contributions made, through dramaleague.org/benefit as well.

Light the Lights! A Drama League Celebration is supported by Sceneworks Studios, the 2021 Benefit Sponsor, and BroadwayHD, the Venue Sponsor. The event is co-chaired by Drama League Board Members Mary C. Jain and Joe Pizza. Leadership support is also provided by the benefit’s Vice Chairs Bonnie Comley & Stewart F. Lane, John Gore Organization, and Stan Ponte & John Metzner. The Benefit Committee includes CBS, City National Bank, EY, Lakeview Productions, Nederlander Organization, and Talu Productions.

A major portion of every ticket purchased is tax-deductible. All proceeds from The Drama League’s Light the Lights benefit support The Directors Project and The Drama League’s mission to provide a life-long artistic home for directors.

For more information visit: www.dramaleague.org

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