Theatre Communications Group Announces 2020 Gala: Our Stories To Honor National Black Theatre Festival, David Henry Hwang

PHOTO BY BRUCE CHAPMAN: The production of “Mahalia, Queen of Gospel” during the 2007 National Black Theatre Festival at the Stevens Center of the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, August 03, 2007.

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, is pleased to announce the 2020 TCG Gala: Our Stories will be held on Monday, February 3, 2020 at The Edison Ballroom, 240 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036. The Gala will honor the National Black Theatre Festival of Winston-Salem, a program of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NC Black Rep), as well as playwright David Henry Hwang and TCG’s arts advocacy at the federal level. 

The Gala will include festive performances, inspiring speakers, and a celebratory dinner with theatre leaders, celebrities, and enthusiasts. A 6:00pm cocktail reception will be followed by a 7:00pm seated dinner and entertainment that includes performances from A Strange Loop and Soft Power featuring Billy Bustamante, James Jackson, Jr., andAlyse Alan Louis. To learn more about the 2020 TCG Gala, and the programming it supports, visit or email Please email Corinna Schulenburg at for press reservations. 

“Every other year, I join tens of thousands of theatre lovers in Winston-Salem, NC for the joyous community and expansive artistry provided by the National Black Theatre Festival,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG. “We are so excited to bring that joy to New York City, and to honor the impact of the Festival on Black theatre and our broader culture. The Gala is always a great night for theatre, and we look forward to welcoming so many of our friends from the professional not-for-profit and commercial theatre sectors to celebrate our many accomplishments.”

“NC Black Rep founder Larry Leon Hamlin created something unique and magical with the National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF),” said Jackie Alexander, artistic director, North Carolina Black Repertory Company. “Our biennial celebration and reunion of spirit has cemented Winston-Salem as Black Theatre Holy Ground on a global scale. To be recognized by TCG is both an honor and a testament to the importance and vibrancy of Black Theatre, and for that, NC Black Rep is truly grateful.”

“The mission of the National Black Theatre Festival has been the recognition of the indelible contribution to world culture by personalities and events whose common roots descend from the far-flung African Diaspora,” said André De Shields, Tony Award-winner and inductee into The American Theater Hall of Fame. “This shared history, both ancient and modern, is commemorated at the biennial gathering of the National Black Theatre Festival as an international celebration and reunion of spirit on Black Theatre holy ground. From the particular individuals who have been martyred in the battle of resistance against the disease of hate, to the universal struggle for the ethical and equitable treatment of all humankind, there is no single institution that better illustrates the profound importance of Black Lives Matter than the National Black Theatre Festival.”

“My experience attending the NBTF for the very first time was beyond anything I could have anticipated and imagined,” said Stephen Byrd, Olivier Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated producer. “The networking, attendees, and the awesome number of quality plays and musicals was impressive and extraordinary.”

The National Black Theatre Festival ® (NBTF) is a program of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NC Black Rep).Presented every odd numbered year, the festival hosts upwards of 120 performances, attracts upwards of 65,000 visitors to Winston-Salem, and has contributed over $230 million dollars to the Winston-Salem economy since its inception in 1989. Founded in 1979 by Larry Leon Hamlin, NC Black Rep was the first professional Black theatre company in North Carolina.  NC Black Rep’s mission is to engage, enrich, and entertain with innovative programming that resonates across the community and challenges social perceptions. The Company is universally recognized for its artistic and administrative achievements and its international outreach program, the NBTF.

“TCG Books published David Henry Hwang’s first play FOB in 1980 and we’re still publishing his groundbreaking plays 40 years later,” said Terry Nemeth, publisher, TCG. “So while there are many reasons to honor his work, it’s also a chance to celebrate one of the longest relationships TCG Books has had with a playwright. That relationship speaks to the long-term commitment we make to our authors to publish their body of work and keep their plays in print.”

“For almost 40 years, TCG has supported my work, giving me the tools, resources, and encouragement to take greater risks and redefine the American Theatre,” said David Henry Hwang. “I’m touched to be honored by an organization which challenges and inspires us to tell new stories.”

David Henry Hwang’s stage work includes the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Disney’s Tarzan. Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner, and a two-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also the most-produced living American opera librettist, whose works have been honored with two Grammy Awards. He co-wrote the Gold Record Solo with the late pop icon Prince, and worked for four seasons as a Writer/Consulting Producer for the Golden Globe-winning television series The Affair. Hwang serves on the Board of the Lark Play Development Center, as Head of Playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts, and as Chair of the American Theatre Wing. M. Butterfly recently returned to Broadway in a revival directed by Julie Taymor, which marked his eighth Broadway production. East West Players has named its mainstage the David Henry Hwang Theatre and recent honors include his 2018 induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Hwang was a Residency One playwright from 2012-14 at New York’s Signature Theatre. His newest work, Soft Power, a collaboration with composer Jeanine Tesori, premiered in May 2018 at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles where it won 6 Ovation Awards, including Best New Production, and enjoyed a successful run in Fall 2019 at the Public Theater.  

TCG is the primary advocate for the not-for-profit professional theatre in the United States. TCG represents the theatre field both in Washington, DC, and nationally, to provide timely information for theatres and theatre artists on federal legislation, regulations, and other significant government opportunities and issues. TCG focuses its advocacy in five major areas: 1) increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts; 2) increased funding for arts education within the U.S. Department of Education; 3) favorable tax treatment of not-for-profit arts organizations and charitable contributions; 4) working toward improved cultural exchange by improving visa processing for artists from abroad and increasing funding and 5) White Space – protecting wireless microphones from interference.

The list of co-chairs and host committee members, most of whom will be in attendance, includes: Stephen C. Byrd, Chair; Oskar Eustis, Chair; Alia Jones-Harvey, Chair; Rick Miramontez, Chair; May Adrales; Jackie Alexander; Asian American Arts Alliance; André De Shields; Snehal Desai; Michael Dinwiddie and Vincent Parham; Kamilah Forbes; GFP Real Estate; Nambi E. Kelley; James Lapine; Sade Lythcott, Jonathan McCrory, Brian Stokes Mitchell; Dominique Morisseau; Lynn Nottage; Disney Theatrical Productions; Leigh Silverman; Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin; Julie Taymor; and Jeanine Tesori.

TCG’s annual Our Stories Gala supports vital programs and services for the theatre community. The 2019 Gala honored arts philanthropist and Chairman Emerita, Ingram Industries Inc. Martha R. Ingram; Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner; and Broadway press agent and President of DKC/O&M Rick Miramontez. The evening’s programming, directed by Tony Award-winner Michael Mayer, included special performances from Eva Maria Noblezada and Patrick Page (Hadestown), Ali Stroker (Oklahoma!), Beth Malone and Nico Muhly. Past honorees at the TCG annual gala—now in its eighth year— include actor Brian Dennehy, director Kenny Leon, playwright Lynn Nottage, actress and playwright Danai Gurira, theatrical producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey, set designer Ming Cho Lee, lighting designer Jules Fisher, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Vilcek Foundation, producers Ruth and Stephen Hendel, Judith O. Rubin, and the creators of War Paint (Scott Frankel, Michael Greif, Michael Korie, and Doug Wright).

Theatre Communications Group (TCG) exists to strengthen, nurture, and promote professional theatre in the U.S. and globally. Since its founding in 1961, TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 Member Theatres and affiliate organizations and nearly 10,000 Individual Members. Through its Core Values of Activism, Artistry, Diversity, and Global Citizenship, TCG advances a better world for theatre and a better world because of theatre. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through research, communications, and events, including the annual TCG National Conference, one of the largest nationwide gatherings of theatre people; awards grants and scholarships, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG’s partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent trade publisher of dramatic literature, with 17 Pulitzer Prizes for Drama on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatremagazine 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

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