The Educational Theatre Foundation's Theatre Alive! gala, streamed online last month, raised more than a record-breaking $180,000 to help support school theatre programs in need, and was watched by more than 4,000 people. Hosted by Nia Vardalos and John Stamos, the streaming event featured performances from Jennifer Hudson, Audra McDonald, and Amber Riley, along with appearances by Wayne Brady, Chasten Buttigieg, Tina Fey, and Samuel L. and LaTanya Richardson Jackson.
Tony-winning director Kenny Leon was honored with the second annual Craig Zadan Theatre For Life Award in recognition of his dedication to promoting and preserving the joy of theatre, inspiring young artists, and leaving a lasting impact on generations to come; and The Shubert Organization was presented with the Standing Ovation Award, accepted by the organization's Chairman and CEO Robert E. Wankel.
The benefit event supported ETF and their efforts to increase access to theatre education in underserved schools. The 2021 gala specifically supported two programs: the Thespian Relief Grants to Save School Theatre, which provided financial relief to theatre programs struggling with the effects of COVID-19; and Pathway, a new program addressing racial disparity in theatre.
Presenting sponsors for Theatre Alive! included Playbill, Apples and Oranges Arts, Broadway on Demand, The Diller – Von Furstenberg Family Foundation, and iHeartRadio Broadway. AMDA, Kate Capshaw & Steven Spielberg, NBC Entertainment, Concord Theatricals, Nancy & Kenneth Duffy, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Broadway Licensing, Open Jar Studios, Mark Weinstein, California Thespians, Disney Theatrical Group, Dramatists Play Service, Mark Drum, Thomas & Ellen Hoberman, Irene Mecchi, Harley Neuman, and Kevin Yorn were additional sponsors.
For more information and to support the Educational Theatre Foundation, visit EducationalTheatreFoundation.org.