Theatre Communication Group 2015 Gala
Honoring Brian Dennehy
November 9, 2015
Written by Wendy R Williams
Based on the Press Release from Jonathan Marder + Associates
Photo Credit: Presley Ann/©Patrick McMullan
Opposite Photo: Brian Dennehy
Brian Dennehy has the face we all know. With an imposing and unfailing presence, he has mastered the art of "being there" through long and widely acclaimed career as film and theater actor. The man is totally professional and lot of fun.
Jim O'Quinn, Kevin Moore, Teresa Eyring, Nathan Lane,
Brian Dennehy, Bob Falls and Anne Bogart
On November 11, 2015, Theatre Communications Group Gala celebrated both the career of Brian Dennehy and the 31-year history of "American Theatre" magazine. The event was held at Time Square's Edison Ballroom which was totally renovated in 2008. The ballroom has an elegant New York vibe and no trace of its more "interesting" past when the Ballroom hosted "Oh Calcutta."
The audience was filled with actors, directors, theatrical producers and people who simply love "the theatre." The guests at my table had just returned from a trip to Cuba where they attended a theater festival. They were the envy of all, me included.
Here are the statistics from "American Theatre" magazine: Published ten times a year with a paper circulation of 50,000 plus 100,000 page views a month for AmericanTheatre.org.
Actor Taylor Mac welcomed guests and introduced TCG’s Executive Director, Teresa Eyring, who welcomed the guests saying how happy she was to honor both the great Brian Dennehy and to celebrate 31 years of successful magazine publication.
Eyring was followed by actress Jessie Mueller who performed “She Used to be Mine” from the Broadway-bound musical "Waitress." Then it as time for director and playwright Emily Mann and director Anne Bogart to take to the stage and introduce founding editor, Jim O’Quinn, who received a poster with all 324 American Theatre magazine cover images, from the his first issue in April 1984 issue to his final issue in October 2015 under the new Editor-in-Chief position Rob Weinert-Kendt.
Board members Diane Rodguez (president) and Jon Moscone (secretary) then took the stage to lead what proved to be a thoroughly entertaining text-to-pledge campaign. Moscone came up with sample texts guests could use, including the crowd favorite “Brian Dennehy is HOT.” Several patrons took Moscone’s suggestion including “I am donating $10,000 because Brian Dennehy is HOT!” Dennehy’s daughter, Dierdre Dennehy, took the opportunity to donate and politely disagree, “I’m donating to TCG and I do not think my dad is HOT!”
As guests enjoyed their dessert, Executive Director of the Goodman Theatre, Roche Schulfer, and actor John Douglas Thompson, rose to speak about the career of their friend, Brian Dennehy.
Nathan Lane brought down the house saying, “I am always asked who my favorite co-star is and I have to reply ... Matthew Broderick. But he was unavailable tonight so the award goes to you, Brian Dennehy.” The Goodman Theatre Director and longtime Dennehy collaborator, Bob Falls, presented the award to Brian, and in his speech he called him a “tireless actor, who always keeps challenging himself.” Finally, Dennehy took the stage to a standing ovation, thanked TCG for his new honor, “theatre has always been my principal home and I feel greatly honored by TCG for what really amounts to a lifetime achievement award... I owe my reputation in New York, my theatre hometown, and to Chicago, a city with an artistic soul unlike any other, to my long and wonderful relationship with Robert Falls who I met at an early point in my career, and Roche Schulfer, and the Goodman Theatre—both of whom are, to me, essential parts of this award. To them and TCG I am thankful and grateful.”
TCG’s Managing Director, Kevin E. Moore, introduced the evening’s last presenter, set designer Mimi Lien, who introduced the final musical performance “Socrates” from the hit show Futurity.
More about the Theatre Communications Group Gala from the press release from Jonathan Marder + Associates:
The Gala’s Honorary Committee included Ayad Akhtar, Eileen Blumenthal, Anne Bogart, Oskar Eustis, Quiara Alegría Hudes, David Henry Hwang, Taylor Mac, Emily Mann, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Suzan-Lori Parks, Bill Rauch, Sarah Ruhl, Roche Schulfer, Christopher Shinn, and Alex Timbers.
Tribute letters were included in the event’s program from
Bonnie Bedelia, Keith Carradine, Steve Guttenberg, Helen Mirren, Michael Mann, and Lesley Ann Warren. Helen Mirren, wrote, “I send many congratulations to Brian for this award so richly deserved. His body is great, and his body of work even greater! He is an inspiration to us all, acting with power and imagination to transport audiences of all ages.” Steve Guttenberg, “Ever since we went to high school together at Chaminade in Mineola, I knew you would amount to something. Never in my wildest dreams when we played football together at Columbia did I think you would be a movie star and a Broadway legend. I truly thought that you would have a career in mail order dentures, but you proved me wrong. Brian, I love you and
respect you for how you have created a life of integrity and meaning. MOZELTOV my buddy, on this honor, you will always be my favorite alien.” Bonnie Bedelia ended her letter to Brian, “I know old habits Die Hard, Brian... but please don't steal the silverware tonight.”
The 2015 GALA EVENING was directed by Rebecca Marzalek-Kelly.
ABOUT THE HONOREE, BRIAN DENNEHY:
Brian Dennehy has maintained a strong presence in film, theatre, and television for three decades. He has twice won the Tony Award for Best Actor: honored for playing James Tyrone in Eugene O'Neill's “Long Day's Journey Into Night,” and for playing Willy Loman in “Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.” The latter production was also filmed for Showtime by director Kirk Browning, with Dennehy executive-producing. The television version subsequently earned Dennehy a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Emmy Award nomination. He revived the role of Willy Loman in London's West End in 2005 for which he received the coveted Olivier Award for Best Actor. He recently played Matthew Harrison Brady in the Broadway production of “Inherit the Wind” for which he received favorable reviews.
Dennehy is well-known to audiences worldwide for his performances in such popular films as Michael Ritchie's “Semi-Tough,” Colin Higgins' “Foul Play,” Blake Edwards’ “10,” Ted Kotcheff's “First Blood,” Ron Howard’s “Cocoon,” Robert Mandel's “F/X,” Alan J. Pakula's “Presumed Innocent,” Peter Segal’s “Tommy Boy” and Baz Luhrmann’s “William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet.” His other notable screen credits include “Gorky Park,” “Never Cry Wolf,” “Finders Keepers,” “Silverado,” “Twice in a Lifetime,” “Best Seller,” “The Belly of an Architect” (for which he received Best Actor honors at the Chicago Film Festival), Spike Lee’s “She Hate Me” and Robert Moresco's soon-to-be released “10th & Wolf.” He also voiced the role of Babe Ruth in “Everyone’s Hero” and was the voice of Remy’s father, Django, in the hit feature film “Ratatouille”.
Dennehy has starred in a wide range of television projects, receiving Emmy Award nominations for his performances in the miniseries “The Burden of Proof,” “Murder in the Heartland,” “To Catch a Killer” (in which he played John Wayne Gacy) and Stephen Gyllenhaal's telefilm “Killing in a Small Town.” His characterization of police investigator Jack Reed anchored a successful series of telefilms that he starred in for NBC throughout the 1990s, several of which he executive-produced, co-wrote, and directed. He also directed and starred in the telefilms “Shadow of a Doubt” (which he co-wrote and co-produced) and “Indefensible.”
Dennehy has been associated for two decades with Chicago's Goodman Theatre (on whose Board he serves), where he has starred in numerous leading roles. His other notable stage work includes the Broadway production of “Translations”; “Hughie,” at Trinity Repertory; Peter Brook's production of “The Cherry Orchard” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; “Trumbo,” which he starred in Off-Broadway and then went on tour; Wisdom Bridge Theatre's production of “Rat in the Skull”; “Says I, Says He” at The Mark Taper Forum in L.A. and The Phoenix Theatre in N.Y.; and Bob Balaban's production of “The Exonerated,” which he starred in Off-Broadway and toured with. He also starred in the Court TV film version of the latter production, directed by Bob Balaban.
Most recently, Dennehy has starred in films such as “The Next Three Days”, “The Big Year”, and Terrence Malick’s upcoming film “Knight of Cups” and “The Seagull”. He is also guest starring in the TNT Crime Drama “Public Morals” alongside Ed Burns.’’
ABOUT THE PERFORMANCES:
Waitress," American Repertory Theater production, book by Jessie Nelson, music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles. Based upon the Motion Picture written by Adrienne Shelly Directed by Diane Paulus. Performed by Jessie Mueller and accompanied by Adam Kaufman.
Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage. Faced with an unexpected pregnancy, Jenna fears she may have to abandon the dream of opening her own pie shop forever... until a baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s handsome new doctor offer her a tempting recipe for happiness. Supported by her quirky crew of fellow waitresses and loyal customers, Jenna summons the secret ingredient she’s been missing all along—courage.
"Futurity," Soho Repertory Theatre, music by César Alvarez with The Lisps, Lyrics and book by César Alvarez, and directed by Sarah Benson. Performed by César Alvarez, Andrew R. Butler, Fred Epstein, Eric Farber, Eamon Goodman, Kristine Haruna Lee, Jessie Shelton, Darius Smith, Mia Pixley, Storm Thomas, Sammy Tunis, Kamala Sankaram
Two people try to imagine their way out of impossible circumstances in "Futurity" —an avant-Americana musical by indie band The Lisps. Julian is a Civil War soldier dreaming of a technological utopia. Ada is a mathematical genius thousands of miles away. Together, they’re going to invent a machine to end one of the darkest periods in our history. An electrifying concert-story featuring an army of musicians.
ABOUT THEATRE COMMUNICATIONS GROUP (TCG):
For more than 50 years, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture, and promote the professional not-for-profit American theatre. TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 12,000 individuals nationwide. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research and communications; awards grants, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute, connecting its constituents to the global theatre community. TCG is North America’s largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 14 Pulitzer Prizes. It also publishes the award- winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its member theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre. For more information visit www.tcg.org.
TCG BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Christopher Acebo, Sarah Bellamy, Joseph P. Benincasa, Eric Bogosian, Ralph Bryan, Adrian Budhu, Joshua Dachs, Teresa Eyring, Larissa FastHorse, Aimée Hayes, Michelle Hensley, Ed Herendeen, Chris Jennings, Tim Jennings, Marshall Jones, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Max Leventhal, Kathryn M. Lipuma, Kevin Moriarty, Jonathan Moscone, Lynn Nottage, Meghan Pressman, Heather Randall, Francine T. Reynolds, Ellen Richard, Blake Robison, Diane Rodriguez, Eric Rosen, Michael Rosenberg, Nikkole Salter, Tim Sanford, John Douglas Thompson, Clyde Valentin, Meiyin Wang, Robert P. Warren, Karen Wickre, Paul Wolf, and Harold Wolpert.
Executive Director: Teresa Eyring, Managing Director: Kevin E. Moore.