Pioneers of theatre, from across America, gathered in New York City on Monday for the Theatre Communications Group 2017 Gala. TCG is a national organization that connects non-profit theaters, both large and small, around the country. They provide grants to artists to create new works, assist in professional development, encourage diversity in the field, publish hundreds of literary works, and are the publishers of American Theatre magazine. Shows such as Next to Normal, Dear Evan Hansen, and Oslo were birthed at TCG Books before being brought to the Broadway stage.
This year’s Gala honored the creative team of Broadway’s War Paint, which had its start in Chicago at the Goodman Theatre, a TCG Member. The honorees included Doug Wright (Book Writer), Scott Frankel (Composer), Michael Korie (Lyricist), and Michael Greif (Director). The creative team generously accepted the honor and two of the show’s stars, John Dausset and Chris Hoch, gave an entertaining performance from the show. The National Council of American Theatre was also honored and celebrated for twenty years of excellence.
The true highlight of the evening was the genuine performance by Samuel E. Wright. Mr. Wright was the original Mufasa in Broadway’s The Lion King, a show that’s also celebrating twenty years of excellence. He began with a riveting performance of “They Live in You”. He captivated the audience with ease. He then told the tale of his journey to becoming the voice of Sebastian in The Little Mermaid, which was followed by a performance of “Under the Sea”. With an iconic voice that’s captured the hearts of millions over the years, the entire room was smiling from ear to ear and dancing in their seats.
For more than 50 years, TCG has given a platform, voice, and home to thousands of artists and theaters across the country. Monday’s Gala was an exquisite celebration of the work that’s been created in the ever-turbulent 2017. It was a moment for the leaders of American theatre to gather, cheers, and prepare for another year of creation, activism, publishing, and education.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Madison Embrey is a Michigan native that moved to NYC in 2010. After completing her BFA in Commercial Dance from Pace University in downtown Manhattan, she toured the United States and Europe with a live-action stunt show called Marvel Universe Live! Madison is the 2017 recipient of the Lorna Strassler Award for Student Excellence awarded by The School at Jacob’s Pillow. Pursuing her dance career in NYC, she can most often be seen with a smile on her face and a coffee in hand. You can follow Madison on Instagram at @madisonembrey.