Broadway stars turn out to honor director Michael Greif at the New Dramatists annual spring benefit luncheon at the New York Marriott Marquis

Represented on Broadway this season with Days of Wine and Roses, The Notebook, and Hell’s Kitchen, Brooklyn-born multiple Tony-nominated director Michael Greif, whose other Broadway credits over his 40-year career include RentDear Evan Hansen, War Paint, Grey Gardens, Next to Normal, Never Gonna Dance, and If/Then, was honored this afternoon (Tuesday, May 14) at the New Dramatists Annual Spring Luncheon Tribute, held at the Broadway Ballroom on the 6th floor of the New York Marriott Marquis.

Michael Greif. Photo by Deb Miller.

“From Downtown to Broadway, and in theaters across the country, Michael Greif has built his outstanding career championing and directing new plays and musicals by legendary writers, including New Dramatists’ alumni Doug Wright, John Guare, Suzan-Lori Parks, Diana Son, Nilo Cruz, Jeffrey Hatcher, Jeffrey M. Jones, Kate Moira Ryan, and Kristoffer Diaz,” noted Emily Morse, Artistic Director of New Dramatists – the nation’s premiere playwright development laboratory, a Tony Honor recipient, and the longest-running continuous community of playwrights in the US, founded in 1949 by Michaela O’Harra in association with Howard Lindsay, Richard Rodgers, Russel Crouse, Oscar Hammerstein II, John Golden, Moss Hart, Maxwell Anderson, John Wharton, Robert E. Sherwood, and Elmer Rice.

The afternoon celebration, hosted by board member Jim Dale, featured a spoken tribute by Brian D’Arcy James of Days of Wine and Roses followed by a video trailer from the show, and live musical performances by Kecia Lewis, Desmond Ellington, Badia Farha, Susan Oliveras, and Aaron Patterson from Hell’s Kitchen, John Cardoza, Jordan Tyson, Ryan Vasquez, Joy Woods, Dorian Harewood, and Maryann Plunkett from The Notebook, and original Broadway cast members Adam Pascal and Daphne Rubin-Vega from Rent.

Brian D’Arcy James. Photo by Deb Miller.
The company of Hell’s Kitchen.
The company of The Notebook. Photo by Deb Miller.

Along with the performers, the star-studded roster of attendees included Betsy Aidem (Prayer for the French Republic), Shoshana Bean (Hell’s Kitchen), Francis Benhamou (Prayer for the French Republic), Ali Louis Bourzgui (The Who’s Tommy), Will Brill (Stereophonic), Camille A. Brown (Hell’s Kitchen), Andrew R. Butler (Stereophonic), Chuck Cooper (Trouble in Mind), Brandon Victor Dixon (Hell’s Kitchen), Christine Ebersole (War Paint), Rick Elice (Water for Elephants), Eden Espinosa (Lempicka), Eli Gelb (Stereophonic), Brody Grant (The Outsiders), Grant Gustin (Water for Elephants), Amber Iman (Lempicka), Nikki M. James (Suffs), Celia Keenan-Bolger (Mother Play), Carson Kreitzer (Lempicka), Kecia Lewis (Hell’s Kitchen), Casey Likes (Back to the Future), Alison Luff (The Who’s Tommy), Isabelle McCalla (Water for Elephants), Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog), Justin Peck (Illinoise), Sarah Pidgeon (Stereophonic), Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer (Spamalot), Amy Ryan (Doubt), Lea Salonga (Here Lies Love), Corey Stoll (Appropriate), Shaina Taub (Suffs), Quincy Tyler Bernstine (Doubt), Paula Vogel (Mother Play), Schele Williams (The Notebook; The Wiz), and Doug Wright (Good Night, Oscar).

Betsy Aidem. Photo by Deb Miller.
Francis Benhamou. Photo by Deb Miller.
Ali Louis Bourzgui. Photo by Deb Miller.
Will Brill. Photo by Deb Miller.
Andrew R. Butler. Photo by Deb Miller.
Michael Greif and Christine Ebersole. Photo by Deb Miller.
Eden Espinosa. Photo by Deb Miller.
Grant Gustin. Photo by Deb Miller.
Paula Vogel and Celia Keenan-Bolger. Photo by Deb Miller.
Kecia Lewis. Photo by Deb Miller.
Casey Likes. Photo by Deb Miller.
Sarah Pidgeon. Photo by Deb Miller.
Doug Wright. Photo by Deb Miller.

Before and after the three-course lunch, presentations, and performances, the stars had a chance to meet and mingle, to make new friends, and to congratulate each other on their outstanding work and multiple awards nominations for the 2023-24 season. It all contributed to the sense of celebration and community throughout the afternoon.

Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer. Photo by Deb Miller.
Casey Likes, Brody Grant, and Ali Louis Bourzgui. Photo by Deb Miller.

In addition to honoring Michael Greif, New Dramatists presented the licensing house Concord Theatricals with its inaugural Konecky Award, named for Isobel Konecky, a Tony-nominated producer and former board president whose service to New Dramatists spanned four decades, and her husband Ron, a renowned entertainment attorney. Introduced by Jessica Hecht, The Konecky Award acknowledges those in the theater and entertainment industry “who serve the field with passion, dedication, excellence, and leadership.”

Sean Patrick Flahavan, Concord Theatricals. Photo by Deb Miller.

The New Dramatists Annual Spring Luncheon was held on Tuesday, May 14, in the Broadway Ballroom at the New York Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway, NYC. Proceeds from the event support New Dramatists’ resident playwrights and their work.


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