The Scene | An Evening of Pure Joy: Barrington Stage Co.'s NYC gala raises funds for New Works Initiative

NEW YORK CITY — Patrons of the Barrington Stage Co. were treated to "An Evening of Pure Joy" at its annual New York City Benefit on Monday, Nov. 13.

Held in The Friars Club's Frank Sinatra Dining Room, the gala — billed as a "one-night-only cabaret" filled with stars who call both Broadway and the Barrington Stage Co. home — honored composer Joe Iconis and raised $125,000 for the theater company's New Works Initiative.

"From the company of good friends, to the heartfelt and often hilarious performances of our artists, to the opportunity to honor a brilliant artist and friend, Joe Iconis, our BSC/NYC Benefit was a resounding success. Investment in this program will help BSC produce new works like 'The Royal Family of Broadway' and support the voices of new playwrights, bringing fresh, groundbreaking work to the stage," said Julianne Boyd, Barrington Stage's artistic director and founder.

Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist William Finn was on hand to present Iconis with the William Finn Award for Innovation and Excellence in Musical Theatre. Iconis, a musical theater writer, debuted his musical, "Broadway Bounty Hunter," starring Annie Golden, at Barrington Stage Co. in 2016. "Broadway Bounty Hunter" was part of the theater company's New Works Initiative, which fosters the development of new plays and musicals.

"New Works are the heart and soul of Barrington Stage. There's nothing more important we do than work with writers to develop, and then to produce their plays and musicals in a totally supportive environment," Boyd said.

The initiative has produced 28 new works, 16 of which have moved on to New York and major regional theaters around the country. Works that have been developed and produced at the New Works Initiative include: "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," "Freud's Last Session," "Dr. Ruth-All the Way," "Dancing Lessons," and "American Son."

The evening featured cabaret performances by Jeannette Bayardelle of Broadway's "The Color Purple" and BSC's "Company"; Allison Blackwell, who appeared in The Gershwin's "Porgy & Bess" National Tour and BSC's "Ragtime"; Ellen Harvey, of Broadway's "Present Laughter" and BSC's "Company"; Lauren Marcus of BSC's "Company"; and Kyle Dean Massey of Broadway's "Pippin" and BSC's "The Pirates of Penzance." Also performing were Jeff McCarthy of Broadway's "Urinetown," and BSC's "Kunstler"; Anastacia McCleskey, who appeared in Broadway's "Waitress" and BSC's "Broadway Bounty Hunter"; Anne L. Nathan of Broadway's "Once" and BSC's "Ragtime"; Will Roland of Broadway's "Dear Evan Hansen" and BSC's "The Black Suits"; Scarlett Strallen of Broadway's "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" and BSC's The Pirates of Penzance; Will Swenson, of Broadway's "Waitress" and BSC's "The Pirates of Penzance"; and Stephanie Umoh of Broadway's "Falsettos" and BSC's "Songs by Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists You Probably Don't Know But Should ...".

Ted Chapin, president of Rodgers & Hammerstein musical theatre organization, Tony Award-nominee Marin Mazzie, Jason Danieley and Kurt Deutsch, president of Sh-K-Boom Records served as honorary chairpersons of the event. Eda Sorokoff served as Barrington's Benefit Committee chairwoman and Rosita Sarnoff and Clara Londoner, were co-chairwomen of the BSC/NYC committee.


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