Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Tony Award-winning Playwright Terrence McNally to be feted at Westport Country Playhouse Annual Gala, September 24, 2012

Terrence McNally (Photo by Lia Chang)

Terrence McNally (Photo by Lia Chang)

Tony Award winner Terrence McNally will be honored at The Full McNally: A Celebration of the Writing and Works of Terrence McNally, presented by Westport Country Playhouse at the theater’s annual fundraising gala on Monday, September 24, 2012. Actors Tyne Daly and Richard Thomas, who have appeared in McNally plays; Daly in Master Class and Thomas in Unusual Acts of Devotion and The Stendhal Syndrome, will co-host the evening’s festivities which kick off at 5:45 pm with cocktails, followed at 7 p.m. by performances by Broadway friends of The Playhouse. Dinner with the evening’s stars will be at 8:30 p.m. A silent auction will be on-going throughout the evening. Attire is festive; black tie optional. Proceeds will benefit Westport Country Playhouse – its work on stage, with schools, and throughout the community.

“Terrence is the only truly great American playwright who has written successfully for the dramatic as well as the musical stage,” said Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director. “It’s such an honor for us to be able to do this for him, especially since the co-hosts of the gala are two stars who have been influential in bringing Terrence’s work to the stage in mesmerizing performances.”

Lamos added, “Terrence has worked with some of the finest musical theater talents as well as some of our greatest actors. What other writer can you say that about? Our revival last season of his Lips Together, Teeth Apart made us all the more eager to honor him with a line-up of fantastic Broadway talent.”

Directing the 2012 gala production is Josh Rhodes (the film version of Company, Broadway Bares, Sondheim: The Birthday Concert); and music director is Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations for Company; The Addams Family; Sweeney Todd; Next to Normal).

Terrence McNally was awarded the Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. He is the winner of Tony Awards for his plays Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, and his books for the musicals Ragtime and Kiss of the Spiderwoman. His other plays include Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune; Lips Together, Teeth Apart (produced at Westport Country Playhouse in 2011); Corpus Christi; A Perfect Ganesh; The Ritz; It’s Only a Play; Some Men; Golden Age; Deuce; The Lisbon Traviata; Bad Habits; The Stendhal Syndrome; Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams; Next; Unusual Acts of Devotion; Sweet Eros; Witness; Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone?; and his first play, And Things that Go Bump in the Night. McNally has written the books for the musicals The Full Monty, A Man of No Importance, The Visit, and The Rink. He won an Emmy Award for Best Drama with his teleplay “Andre’s Mother,” and he wrote the screenplays for Frankie and Johnny, Love! Valour! Compassion!, and The Ritz. Among his many awards are a Citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Play, four Drama Desk Awards, three Hull-Warriner Best Play Awards from the Dramatists Guild, two Obies, two Lortel Awards, and two Guggenheim Fellowships.

Tyne Daly © Tyne Daly

Tyne Daly © Tyne Daly

Tyne Daly recently starred in Master Class on Broadway and in London, reprising the role of Maria Callas which she played at The Kennedy Center. A renowned stage, screen, and television actress, Ms. Daly’s stage work has won her numerous awards, including a Tony Award for her performance as Rose in the highly successful 1989 revival of Gypsy and a Tony nomination for Rabbit Hole. Her television appearances are too numerous to list, but she is best known for her work on “Cagney & Lacey” (four Emmy Awards), “Judging Amy” (Emmy Award) and “Christy” (Emmy Award), in addition to appearances on “Burn Notice” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” and in several TV films. She has received 16 Emmy nominations. Film work includes Georgia, with Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons. Ms. Daly was trained at the American Shakespeare Festival, Brandeis University, and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

Richard Thomas. Photo by Lia Chang

Richard Thomas. Photo by Lia Chang

Richard Thomas appeared in the Westport Country Playhouse productions of Critic’s Choice and Whose Life Is It Anyway? Last season, he was in a Script in Hand reading of The Golden Age and a presentation of A Distant Country Called Youth. Thomas starred in the Emmy Award-winning series, “The Waltons.” He has continued to star in series, films, plays, and over 50 movies for television. On stage, he has been called “one of the leading classical actors of his generation” – Newsday. His career began on Broadway at age seven with 1958’s Sunrise at Campobello, and has continued with such shows as Fifth of July, The Seagull, The Front Page, Tiny Alice, Peer Gynt, Richard II, Richard III, Hamlet, and The Stendhal Syndrome. Recent appearances include Broadway’s Democracy and Race, The Public Theater’s Timon of Athens, and the national tour of the acclaimed Broadway revival of 12 Angry Men. Thomas can be seen in “The Music Teacher,” A Hallmark Channel Original Movie World Premiere, which airs on August 11, and on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in Manhattan Theatre Club’s An Enemy of the People this Fall.

The Gala Committee includes Katia and John Friend and Carlyn and Robert Stonehill, co-chairs; Karen Parrella, auction chair; Marjorie Barnes; Emily Boothroyd; Ania Czekaj-Farber; Michele Flaster; Angela Graham; Kim Harizman; Joanna Heimbold; Irma Hilton; Beth Hayes; Carole Hochman; Jennifer Huisking; Darlene Krenz; Mary Ellen Marpe; Mark Osgood; Judy Phares; Marjorie Treisman; and Judy Wetzel.

Gala tickets range from $2,500 to $250. Benefactor level, at $2,500 per person, includes a cocktail party, highest priority seating at performance, post-performance dinner with the evening’s stars, and an invitation to a Benefactor Preview Party at a private home in early September; Patron level, at $1,000 per person, includes a cocktail party, priority seating at performance, and post-performance dinner with the evening’s stars; and Supporter level, at $250 per person, includes a 6:30 p.m. champagne toast followed by the performance. A limited number of Supporter tickets are available. Purchase gala tickets online at www.westportplayhouse.org/gala.

Other Articles by Lia Chang
Multimedia: NAATCO’s Love! Valour! Compassion! with Terrence McNally
Annie Potts and Richard Thomas star in ‘The Music Teacher’ A Hallmark Channel Original Movie World Premiere on August 11 http://wp.me/pla1d-5U4
Richard Thomas and Boyd Gaines to star in An Enemy of the People at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre during Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2012-2013 Season
Photos: All-Access Pass to Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page
Emmy Award Winner Richard Thomas Hosts Give Kids a Shot! National Meningitis Association Gala 2012 at the New York Athletic Club
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (3pm) with Andre Bishop, Mary Beth Hurt, Jennifer Lim, Angela Lin, Philip Kan Gotanda, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Richard Thomas, Jay O. Sanders, and more
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (8pm) with Oskar Eustis, Patti LuPone, Lisa Emery, Ann Harada, Paolo Montalban, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Henry Stram, Richard Thomas, John Weidman and more
Photos: In Rehearsal with Director Bartlett Sher and the cast of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography


Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2012 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

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