Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Backstage at The Geffen Honors Legends and Raises Funds for the Future

Keith David and Carl Weathers at the 2022 Backstage at the Geffen and Geffen Playhouse’s 25th Anniversary
Keith David and Carl Weathers at the 2022 Backstage at the Geffen and Geffen Playhouse’s 25th Anniversary

*LOS ANGELES – The Geffen Playhouse celebrated its 25th Anniversary and raised $1 million for the theater’s education, community engagement and artistic initiatives at its signature Backstage at the Geffen annual fundraiser held June 4, it was announced today. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block presented the Distinction in Service Award to pioneering studio executive and philanthropist Sherry Lansing, and Lily Tomlin presented the Artistic Impact Award to EGOT award-winning actress Rita Moreno.

Lily Tomlin, Presenter at the 2022 Backstage at the Geffen and Geffen Playhouse’s 25th Anniversary
Lily Tomlin, Presenter at the 2022 Backstage at the Geffen and Geffen Playhouse’s 25th Anniversary

Geffen Playhouse Executive Director Gil Cates Jr. and Artistic Director Matt Shakman also announced the establishment of the newly created Fund for the Future, the Geffen’s $25 million endowment initiative. To date, $12.5 million has been raised in private funding and the campaign is now entering its public phase.

The Fund for the Future unveiling included a special video presentation commemorating the Geffen Playhouse 25th Anniversary, produced by Barbara Schroeder and narrated by Geffen alum Bryan Cranston, who recently headlined the theater’s production of Power of Sail.

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Rita Moreno accepts Artistic Impact Award at the 2022 Backstage at the Geffen and Geffen Playhouse’s 25th Anniversary. June 4, 2022
Rita Moreno accepts Artistic Impact Award at the 2022 Backstage at the Geffen and Geffen Playhouse’s 25th Anniversary. June 4, 2022

Fund for the Future will make certain Geffen Playhouse can continue to produce provocative classic and world premiere productions, share vital education and community engagement programs, and invest in the next generation of audiences, playwrights, actors and theatrical professionals.

The evening of unscripted, unannounced storytellers and performers was hosted for a second consecutive year by comedian, actor, writer and producer Tone Bell and featured personal behind-the-scenes anecdotes from a lineup of surprise celebrity guests including George Chakiris, Ginnifer Goodwin, Helder Guimaráes, who also performed a once-in-a-lifetime, exclusive illusion for the Backstage at the Geffen audience, and Kumail Nanjiani.

The evening opened with a bespoke tap dance created and performed exclusively for Backstage at the Geffen by three-time Emmy nominated choreographer Christopher A. Scott. The lineup of surprise performances also included a rousing musical theater medley performed with piano accompaniment by John Glaudini.

2022 Backstage at the Geffen and Geffen Playhouse’s 25th Anniversary
2022 Backstage at the Geffen and Geffen Playhouse’s 25th Anniversary

Backstage at the Geffen recognizes the accomplishments of leaders in the artistic community, supports the theater’s mission to produce original, quality work and raises funds for its education and community engagement programs, which bring live theater to more than 15,000 youth, seniors and veterans in communities across Los Angeles.

UCLA Health served as Title Sponsor for Backstage at the Geffen, marking its second sponsorship for the theater’s annual fundraiser. Presenting sponsors included City National Bank and The Adi and Jerry Greenberg Foundation. Loretta Everett Kaufman and Victor Kaufman, and Linda Bernstein Rubin and Tony Rubin served as Gold Sponsors. Event Co-Chairs included Victoria Alonso, Merle Dandridge, Adi Greenberg, Loretta Everett Kaufman and Linda Bernstein Rubin.

Serving as Honorary Co-Chairs were Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg*, Mellody Hobson and George Lucas, Cindy and Alan Horn, Gloria Calderón Kellet and David Kellet, Lyn and Norman Lear, Fay and Frank Mancuso*, Bruce* and Madeline Ramer, Jazmyn Simon and Dulé Hill, and Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks. *Founding Trustees.

Backstage at the Geffen was produced by Gil Cates, Jr. and Jeni Pearsons.  For more on this event or other info visit www.geffenplayhouse.org.

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