Annual Gala


May 5, 2014


130 Bowery, New York City

6:30pm Cocktail Reception
7:30pm Seated Dinner

Gala Co-Chairs: Caroline Niemczyk and Larry M. Loeb
Master of Ceremonies: Jessica Hecht

Tickets are no longer available online. For more information, please contact Karen Hershey: 212-343-1920 or

Presenting the tenth annual Samuel H. Scripps Award for Extraordinary Commitment to Promoting the Power of Language in Classical and Contemporary Theatre to


Actor F. Murray Abraham

Photo credit: Gerry Goodstein

Scripps Award presented by Terence McNally

An internationally renowned actor of stage, screen and television, F. Murray Abraham won the 1984 Academy Award as Best Actor for his portrayal of Antonio Salieri in the film “Amadeus.”  For Theatre for a New Audience, Mr. Abraham played Barabas in Marlowe’s “The Jew of Malta” in repertory with Shylock in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” which was acclaimed nationally and internationally when it played in New York City and at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-Upon Avon.  Charles Isherwood in the New York Times wrote, “Mr. Abraham’s Shylock is probably the finest I’ve seen.” In the Shakespeare repertory, Mr. Abraham has played Bottom, Iago, Lear, Macbeth, Malvolio and Richard III and performed leading roles by some of the World Theatre’s greatest authors including Aristophanes, Beckett, Chekhov, Feydeau, Giraudoux, Guare, Mamet, McNally, Miller, Molière, Pinter, Pirandello, Shepard and Sophocles. He is the author of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Actors on Shakespeare” (published by Farber & Farber).  He has received two OBIES, the Golden Globe Award and the Gielgud Award. On Stanislavski’s 150th birthday the Moscow Art Theater presented him, Peter Brook and Robert Woodruff with the Morozov Award for Excellence in Theater. Mr. Abraham can currently be seen in Atlantic Theatre Company’s production of “Three Penny Opera.”

Presenting the third annual Life in Art award to
Drs. Leonard S. Polonsky and Georgette Bennett



Dr. Leonard S. Polonsky, CBE, a U.K. citizen, has had a successful business career in the financial services sector and is a philanthropist with particular interests in higher education, the arts and humanities. He established Liberty Life Assurance Company Limited in London in 1970 and is President of its successor company, Hansard Global Plc. Dr. Georgette Bennett has been the president of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in New York since she founded it in 1992. She is also a widely published author, public affairs/marketing specialist, former broadcast journalist, as well as an innovative and entrepreneurial leader. In 2011, she was named one of Women of Wealth magazine’s top 80 mentoring leaders.

Through The Polonsky Foundation, Drs. Polonsky and Bennett have supported the arts and humanities as well as higher education both in the U.S. and around the world. They have provided lead funding for projects at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and digitization projects at major world libraries. The Polonsky Foundation has been engaged with the Royal Shakespeare Company in a four-year educational program, “Exploring Shakespeare,” and was also a major funder of Shakespeare Uncovered by WNET on THIRTEEN. In September 2013, Theatre for a New Audience’s first home in the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District was named Polonsky Shakespeare Center in recognition of a $10 million gift from The Polonsky Foundation.

 Lead sponsor:




Theatre for a New Audience’s elegant and entertaining annual Gala is attended by more than 300 of New York’s leading arts patrons, and has been hosted by eminent theatre artists including Bill Camp, Alfred Molina and Maggie Siff. The Gala includes a cocktail reception, seated dinner, entertainment and silent and live auctions.

For Gala Ticket Information Contact: Karen Hershey, 212-343-1920,

The Samuel H. Scripps  Award

Samuel H. Scripps (left) was a visionary philanthropist who played a pivotal role in supporting theatre and dance. For Theatre for a New Audience, Samuel Scripps made a leadership gift to enable the Theatre to expand its body of work in Shakespeare and classical drama and increase its season from two to three annual productions. Samuel Scripps championed Shakespeare’s Globe in London.  He has provided leadership support to BAM, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the American Dance Festival and the American Society for Eastern Arts where one summer in the 1970’s, Julie Taymor first studied Asian art. This directly led to her study in Indonesia – an experience which profoundly influenced her as an artist.Each year, we honor a great artist with the Samuel H. Scripps Award for Extraordinary Commitment to the Power of Language in Classical and Contemporary Theatre. In 2012, we honored Michael Boyd, current Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Alistair Macaulay, chief dance critic of The New York Times and former chief theatre critic of London’s The Financial Times, and James Shapiro, the Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University presented the award.

Past Scripps Honorees

Past Scripps Honorees: John Turturro (2013), Michael Boyd (2012), Robert Woodruff (2011), Julie Taymor (2010), Elliot Goldenthal (2010), Mark Rylance (2009), Wallace Shawn (2008), Cicely Berry CBE, Hon.D. Lit (2007), Tony Kushner (2006), and Robert Neff Williams (2005).

The Life in Art Award

Theatre for a New Audience’s Life in Art Award honors the achievements of individuals whose support for theatre has set the standard for leadership and generosity, and whose example has inspired others to ensure that theatre remains a vibrant part of our cultural life.  The award, a signed giclée print by Milton Glaser, is named for the autobiography by the great theatre artist Constantin Stanislavski, My Life in Art.

Past Honorees

BarrySalzberg_150x150 Ted-2-(2)
Past Life in Art Honorees: Barry Salzberg, CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (2013), Theodore C. Rogers, Former TFANA Board Chair (2012).

Pictured above: Polonsky Shakespeare Center, photo ©David Sundberg/Esto.