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George Street Playhouse To Hold Star-Studded Virtual Gala On April 29


originally published: 04/21/2021

George Street Playhouse To Hold Star-Studded Virtual Gala On April 29

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- George Street Playhouse will hold its annual gala online April 29th. The event features performances by an incredible star-studded roster of Friends of George Street Playhouse; will allow guests to mingle via webcam and chat; and represents the latest in George Street’s forays into unique digital programming, highlighted by an ongoing streaming season for 2021.  The Gala will honor former Governor Thomas H. Kean; James N. Heston; and Thomas F. Kelso with the Thomas H. Kean Arts Advocacy Award.

Artists scheduled to perform include Lewis Black, Chris Bohjalian, Felicia Boswell, David Bryan, Jackie Burns, Karen Burthright, Bobby Conte Thornton, Andre De Shields, Joe DiPietro, Ann Dowd, Rachel Dratch, Steve Guttenberg, Jeremy Jordan, Laiona Michelle, Nancy Opel, Maulik Pancholy, David Hyde Pierce, Renee Taylor, Mary Testa, Marlo Thomas, and a very special surprise guest.

Former Governor Thomas H. Kean; Thomas F. Kelso, Esq. Chairperson of the New Brunswick Cultural Center; and James N. Heston, Chairperson of George Street Playhouse’s Board of Trustees will receive the Thomas H. Kean Arts Advocacy Award, at the virtual gala benefit.

“As President of the Board of Trustees, I am deeply honored to Chair George Street Playhouse’s star-filled virtual gala during this extraordinary time,” remarked Penelope L. Lattimer.  “We look forward to welcoming patrons, friends, and new friends from around the globe, to participate in our celebration in support of George Street Playhouse.  

Virtual Gala Experience Tickets are $400 and are available for purchase online.

The Thomas H. Kean Arts Advocacy Award was first presented in 1990 to former Governor Kean, whom it recognizes again this year. It pays tribute to an individual, corporation, or foundation whose dedication to the arts enhances the cultural life of New Jersey. 

"We are thrilled to honor these three tremendous supporters, not only of the mission of George Street Playhouse, but of the arts across the state of New Jersey," said George Street Playhouse Artistic Director David Saint.  “We are deeply moved by all the many extraordinary artists who have agreed to participate in this event benefiting George Street Playhouse.”

Thomas H. Kean served as governor of New Jersey from 1982 to 1990, was president of Drew University from 1990 to 2005, and served as chairman of the 9/11 Commission. As governor, he served on the President’s Education Policy Advisory Committee and as chair of the Education Commission of the States and the National Governors Association Task Force on Teaching. 

He served on several committees and commissions, such as the American delegation to the UN Conference on Youth in Thailand, vice chairman of the American delegation to the World Conference on Women in Beijing, and President Clinton’s Initiative on Race.

“Former Governor Kean’s history of leadership has been marked by his longstanding advocacy for the arts in this state and his awareness that strengthening the cultural life of New Jersey strengthens the state as a whole,” Saint continued. “We could not be more thrilled to honor him once again with the award that bears his name.”

Thomas F. Kelso, Esq. is the Senior and Managing Partner of the New Brunswick law firm of Kelso & Burgess, Esqs.  Mr. Kelso is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers University and Brooklyn Law School and has practiced law in the State of New Jersey in a wide range of areas for over forty years. He possesses extensive knowledge and experience in civil litigation matters at the state and federal court levels, as well as in the areas of local and county land use, development and urban redevelopment.

Mr. Kelso also serves as Middlesex County Counsel and is the chief legal advisor to the Board of County Commissioners, and to other various County departments. He has served as Special Counsel to the New Brunswick Development Corporation since 1979, a position which involves all aspects of the City of New Brunswick’s revitalization and redevelopment initiatives.

He is a founding member and current Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the New Brunswick Cultural Center, Inc. and has previously served as the first Chairman of the Board of the State Theatre Regional Arts Center at New Brunswick, Inc.

“Thomas F. Kelso has played a vital role in Middlesex County’s unprecedented landmark commitment to the arts,” George Street Playhouse Managing Director Kelly Ryman said. “His decades of arts advocacy in Middlesex County have been instrumental in establishing the Middlesex County Arts and Cultural Trust Fund as well as the realization of the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center.”

James N. Heston, a retired executive vice-president of MetLife, is Chairman of George Street Playhouse’s Board of Trustees, of which he has been a member since 2009. During his tenure at MetLife, Heston was in charge of the Company’s Institutional Dental and Disability businesses and concluded his 39 year career as Global Head of Human Resources.

He was also a member of the board of trustees at RWJ Somerset since 1992 and served as its chairman in 2011 and 2012. He also is currently serving his 3rd term on the board of trustees at his alma mater - Gettysburg College. Prior to retirement, he was also a member of the Personnel Round Table, an invitation-based organization of 55 Chief Human Resource Officers, from primarily Fortune 100 companies.

“James N. Heston’s unwavering guidance continues to have a profound impact on George Street Playhouse during this incredible moment in its history,” Board President and Gala chair Penelope Lattimer, Ph.D., said. “He has been instrumental in the transition to our state-of-the-art new home at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, and his leadership allows us to continue our mission of producing groundbreaking new works and to make a documented impact on American theatre, Middlesex county, and the state.” 

This year’s virtual event is chaired by George Street Playhouse’s President of the Board Penelope Lattimer, Ph.D. She is joined by committee members Joan Campbell, Paula Gentempo, Janice Haggerty, James N. Heston, Sharon Karmazin, Adele T. Macula, Ed.D., C. Sharon Parker, Jocelyn Schwartzman, Nonny Stahlin, Janice Stolar, and Lora Tremayne.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Saint since 1998, and Kelly Ryman, Managing Director since 2013, the Playhouse produces groundbreaking new works, inspiring productions of the classics, and hit Broadway plays and musicals that speak to the heart and mind, with an unwavering commitment to producing new work. With its 45-year history of producing nationally renowned theatre, the Playhouse continues to fill a unique theatre and arts education role in the city, state and greater metropolitan region.

At the start of its 2019-20 Season, George Street Playhouse moved to the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center in downtown New Brunswick.  Featuring two state-of-the-art theaters -- The Arthur Laurents Theater with 253 seats and The Elizabeth Ross Johnson Theater which seats 465-- and myriad amenities, the NBPAC marks a new era in the esteemed history of George Street Playhouse.

George Street Playhouse programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of Commissioners through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund. 



 
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