New Dramatists to Honor Brian Stokes Mitchell at 66th Anniversary Spring Luncheon

March 24, 2015

Brian Stokes Mitchell
Brian Stokes Mitchell

New Dramatists, Tony® Honor recipient and the nation's premier playwright development laboratory, will honor Tony Award winning actor and Chairman of the Board of The Actors Fund, Brian Stokes Mitchell with our 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award at the 66th Annual Spring Luncheon. The event will be held Thursday, May 14 at the New York Marriott Marquis. The event chairs are Roger Berlind, Bob Boyett, and Philip J. Smith.

"Working in a community of playwrights, one becomes aware that the life of artists and the making of art is anything but effortless,” says Emily Morse, Artistic Director, New Dramatists, “and yet, any performance given by Brian Stokes Mitchell appears effortless. With his deep, resonant voice, and commanding stage presence, he not only sings a song, he makes it soar. Additionally, through his work at The Actors Fund, Mr. Mitchell is dedicated to serving fellow artists. Voice, artistry and community are greatly valued at New Dramatists. That Mr. Mitchell gracefully embodies these values makes him an ideal Luncheon honoree. We look forward to celebrating him this spring.”

Each year, New Dramatists salutes an individual who has made an outstanding artistic contribution to the theatre community. Past luncheon honorees have included Susan Stroman, Seth Gelblum, Bernadette Peters, Roger Berlind, Julie Taymor, Horton Foote, Edward Albee, Harvey Fierstein, Chita Rivera, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Julie Andrews, Glenn Close, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, Jerry Herman, Terrence McNally, Barbara Cook, John Kander & Fred Ebb, August Wilson, and Gwen Verdon.

The luncheon will be held at the New York Marriott Marquis (1535 Broadway, between 45th and 46th Streets) on Thursday, May 14 beginning with a champagne reception at 11:15 AM and ending promptly at 2:30 PM. Tickets are $300 (a portion of which is tax-deductible). For tickets, visit or call New Dramatists’ director of development, Christie Brown, (212) 757-6960 ext. 5468.

Dubbed “The Last Leading Man” by the New York Times, Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a rich and varied career on Broadway, television and film, along with appearances in the great American concert halls. His musical versatility has kept him in demand by some of the country’s finest conductors and orchestras. He has performed selections from Porgy and Bess with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall; works by Aaron Copland and various contemporary composers at the Hollywood Bowl with the L.A. Philharmonic under the batons of Leonard and John Mauceri; Broadway tunes at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC under the baton of the late Marvin Hamlisch (most recently at the National Symphony Orchestra’s 75th season Pops concert debut), and jazz and standards with Maestro John Williams at Disney Hall and with the Boston Pops. He debuted Pulitzer prize-winning composer David Del Tredici’s Rip Van Winkle with the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. He has been invited to the White House and has performed for Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama. His Broadway career includes performances in Man of La Mancha (Tony nomination and Helen Hayes Award); Kiss Me, Kate (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards); Ragtime (Tony nomination); August Wilson’s King Hedley II (Tony nomination); Kiss of the Spider Woman; Jelly’s Last Jam; David Merrick’s Oh, Kay! and Mail, which earned him a Theatre World Award for outstanding Broadway debut; and Lincoln Center Theatre’s production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. He is in his 10th term as Chairman of the Board of The Actors Fund.

Founded in 1949 by Michaela O’Harra in association with Howard Lindsay, Richard Rodgers, Russel Crouse, Oscar Hammerstein II, John Golden, Moss Hart, Maxwell Anderson, John Wharton, Robert E. Sherwood and Elmer Rice, New Dramatists is one of the country’s leading playwright centers and a nationally recognized new play laboratory, unrivaled in the depth and duration of its commitment to writers. In the 66 years since its founding, over 600 new dramatists have passed through our doors, creating work that has laid the foundation for contemporary American dramatic literature. Our alumni include some of the most influential writers of our time: Robert Anderson, Kia Corthron, Nilo Cruz, Horton Foote, Richard Foreman, Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, David Lindsay-Abaire, Eduardo Machado, Donald Margulies, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sarah Ruhl, John Patrick Shanley, Paula Vogel, Mac Wellman, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, Doug Wright, and many more. Current playwrights and alumni have won 18 Pulitzers (including 8 of the last 12, and the 2014 Prize), 25 Tonys®, 76 OBIEs, 17 Drama Desk Awards, 6 MacArthur Fellowships (including fellowships in 2013 and 2014), and 13 Susan Smith Blackburn Awards. New Dramatists itself received a Ross Wetzsteon Award for excellence at the 2005 OBIEs and a 2001 Tony Honor for “blessing the theatre with new and exceptional works that have assured both a rich theatrical heritage and future for the American Theatre.”


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