Follow Your Art, Fulfill Your Dreams will honor James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director of The York Theatre Company, and recipient of the TRU Spirit of Theater Award; and performer and producer Haley Swindal, recipient of the TRU Entrepreneur Award. The benefit starts with cocktails, followed by luncheon, a live auction and performances celebrating these honorees who have enriched the theater community as artists who help artists. A live auction will include Yankee Legends Suite baseball tickets, and a seven night, eight day Uniworld European River Cruise for two including transfers and shore excursions. Performances and award ceremony will be directed by Will Nunziata with music direction by Tracy Stark.
What is ‘TRU Love’? In 2001, TRU created the Spirit of Theater Award to recognize members of the theater producing community who have shown exceptional generosity of spirit, helping TRU itself and also giving opportunities to up-and-coming members of the theater community, with a special focus on aspiring producers. The TRU Entrepreneur Award was created in 2010 to acknowledge and encourage self-producing artists; the intention has broadened to recognize the initiative of a range of successful producing artist members of the community.
In the words of Bob Ost, president of TRU, “We are giving our 2019 “TRU Spirit of Theater Award” to passionate musical theater enthusiast James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director of the York Theatre Company for 22 selfless years, and a guiding force of the company for 45 years. He led The York into its unique dual mission of producing and developing new musicals as well as rediscovering significant works from our musical theater history, and has helped assure the future of musical theater by nurturing new writers through York’s Developmental Reading Series, NEO (new/ emerging/ outstanding) concerts, and other programs. We salute his positive spirit and genuine love of this singular art form, as well as his own great artistic gifts as a scenic and graphic designer and occasional director.”
Ost continues, “Our 2019 TRU Entrepreneur Award goes to artist and producer Haley Swindal, for successfully balancing her career as a theater, film and concert performer with a passion for producing. Haley has spent the last year starring as Mama Morton in Chicago on Broadway and giving concerts while simultaneously producing two shows in London. She is upbeat, generous and business savvy, with a creative flair and warmth that infuses everything she does, a multi-faceted Renaissance woman and an inspiration. And she has generously given her time and insights to members of TRU’s producer development program.”
Will Nunziata (director)is a New York City based theatre and concert director. The concert director for Platinum recording artist Jackie Evancho, Tony Award winner Lillias White, Broadway’s Haley Swindal, and Soul Train Award winner Nicole Henry, Will is also developing a slew of new plays and musicals with writers and composers in New York City, London, and Los Angeles. He recently conceived and directed the critically-acclaimed off-Broadway theatre revue Our Guy, Cy: The Songs of Cy Coleman starring four Tony Award winners who all worked with the late-great composer Cy Coleman – Lillias White, Cady Huffman, Randy Graff, and Judy Kaye. A few years ago, Will directed a revised version of the Kander & Ebb musical The Act starring Julia Murney, Randy Graff, Cady Huffman, Anna Chlumsky, Mamie Parris, Karen Mason, Stacie Bono, and more. This past year Will collaborated with Tony Award winner Cady Huffman and wrote and directed a one-woman musical about Peggy Lee. A graduate of Boston College with a B.A. in Theatre, he is also a professional singer and entertainer who recently headlined Carnegie Hall with the NY POPS alongside his twin brother, Anthony. Will is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). He is repped by Paradigm.
Pianist/Arranger/Conductor/Singer Songwriter, Tracy Stark is an 11-Time MAC Award winner (Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs), in the categories of Music Director, Piano Bar Entertainer, and Song of the Year. She is also a Bistro Award winner for Musical Direction and has won Cabaret Hotline’s Songwriter of the Year Award. Tracy has worked with Sarah Dash (Labelle), Randy Jones (Village People), Lesley Gore, Phoebe Snow, Karen Black, Barb Jungr, Brenda Braxton, Eric Millegan (Bones), Tonya Pinkins, Nathan Lee Graham, and hundreds of other rock, jazz, and broadway vocalists. She stays busy creating and music directing 75-100 different shows per year and has 3 CD’s of original music in her catalogue. She has conducted, played, and sung at all the finest and the sleaziest venues all over the world. She has played/conducted on numerous television shows, including The Today Show. Her songs are included on at least 20 different compilations and have been winning accolades in songwriting competitions for the past 2 decades. Her 3rd CD of original music, “Shades of Beautiful,” was released on the Miranda Music label, exquisitely produced by Richard Barone, with world class vocalists, including Lillias White, Nona Hendryx, Ann Hampton Callaway, Lesley Gore, Jane Monheit, Janis Siegel, Karen Black, Barb Jungr, and other great artists.
The Benefit Producing Committee includes chair Cheryl Davis, producers Merrie L. Davis and Sandford Silver, York associate producing director Amber Wallace, and TRU board members Bob Ost, producer Cody Lassen and Courtney Sweeting.
The illustrious committee assembled to support these beloved honorees includes Pat Flicker Addiss, producer (Tony winner for Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Desperate Measures, A Christmas Story, Promises Promises, Spring Awakening); Catherine Adler, producer (Tootsie, Tony winner for Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, A Gentleman’s Guide…, Skylightrevival, Angels in America revival, The Ferryman); Nancy Anderson, actress (Broadway: A Class Act, revival of Wonderful Town; York Theatre: Fanny Hill, Jolson & Co., Yank!); Mary Cossette, producer (Broadway: Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Bonnie & Clyde; off-Broadway: Desperate Measures, Nevermore); Jamie deRoy, cabaret legend, producer (Tony winner for The Norman Conquests, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, A Gentleman’s Guide…, Angels in America, Once on This Island, The Band’s Visit, The Ferryman; currently: The Inheritance, Slave Play, Tina, The Great Society, Beetlejuice, Tootsie, Ain’t Too Proud, To Kill a Mockingbird); William Franzblau, producer (Rocktopia, Tony Nominated Best Play Say Goodnight Gracie, American Buffalo and Wonderland on Broadway; off-Broadway This One’s for the Girls, Sistas, Jewtopia, Evil Dead the Musical); Evans Haile, music director-conductor, producer, Executive Director of the York Theatre Company; Pamela Hunt, director (Musical of Musicals at the York, Outer Critics Circle winner Carnival at the York); Riki Kane Larimer, lead producer (Cagney the musical in New York, LA and Salt Lake City), co-producer (On the Town, Gigi on Broadway; Bright Colors, Bold Patterns, Georgie off- Broadway; Enter Laughing at The York), York Board Member; Jim Kierstead, producer (Hadestown, The Inheritance, Ain’t Too Proud, Tony awards for Kinky Boots and Pippin revival, Yank!, Thrill Me – the Leopold and Loeb Story); Richard Maltby Jr.,Tony winning director (Ain’t Misbehavin’, Fosse), lyricist (Starting Here, Starting Now, Closer Than Ever, Baby, Big, Miss Saigon); Gerry McIntyre, actor (Once on This Island, The Audience, Anything Goes, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), director-choreographer (Hallelujah Baby at the York, Spamilton); W. David McCoy, Chairman of the Board of The York Theatre Company; Charlotte Moore, artistic director/co-founder Irish Repertory Theater; Jana Robbins, actress (Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Gypsy), producer (Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof, Company in London and Broadway, Ragtime revival, Little Women); Dominique Sharpton, producer, actor and activist; Joan Ross Sorkin, playwright, librettist, lyricist, President of the Board of the York Theatre; Elisa Loti Stein, actress, York Board Member; Jack Tantleff, Head of Theatre Literary and Content Department, Paradigm Talent Agency; Cheryl Wiesenfeld, producer (The Great Society, Ain’t Too Proud, Tony winner for Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, All the Way); Stuart Wilk, producer (Yank! at the York, Meet Me in St. Louis at Irish Rep); and Charles Wright, writer & editor, Co-President of The Drama Desk.