On Monday, November 18th, 2019 legendary Broadway actress and Tony Award winner, Bernadette Peters, was honored with the Craig Zadan Theatre for Life Award by the Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF) at theThespians Go Hollywood benefit. More than $180,000 to help fund the ETF’s national theatre education programs for schools in need
The event was hosted by Nia Vardalos and included performers and presenters such as Rachel Bloom, Merle Dandridge, Megan Hilty, Cheyenne Jackson, Jennifer Kumiyama, Matthew Morrison, Juan Pablo Di Pace, and Marissa Jaret Winokur. Attendees included Lauren Ash, Sean Hayes, Christina Hendricks, Lucy Lawless, Max Mutchnick, Val Kilmer, Diane Warren, and Nico Santos.
The nights highlights included Rachel Bloom singing “A Diagnosis” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriendd, Juan Pablo Di Pace’s performed “Being Alive” from Company. Merle Dandridge sang “Part of the Human Heart,” from Once On This Island. Jennifer Kumiyama earned a standing ovation from Peters and the rest of the audience for her performance of “Unexpected Song” from Song & Dance.
Neil Meron presented Peters with her award, which recognizes an individual who has dedicated their life to promoting and preserving the joy of theatre, inspiring young artists, and leaving a lasting impact on generations to come. He added that it was fitting it was that she should be the first to receive the award because Craig Zadan had introduced him to her.
In her acceptance speech Peters mentioned that Zadan was not usually interested in awards but, when he found out ETF's mission had said, “absolutely!” and “he knew, we know, that these opportunities develop valuable and creative people.” She goes on to tell the students, “The only job that young people have is to stay open, open to your teachers and your inspiration.” After her acceptance she performed “Children Will Listen” from Into the Woods.
Matthew Morrison and Marissa Jaret Winokur presented the ETF Entertainment Industry Award to Mark Kaufman, Executive Vice President for Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures. This award recognized their commitment to ETF’s mission and vision of shaping lives by financially supporting school theatre, making theatre more accessible, as well as building the national audience through high standards in theatrical production.
Click the video above for a full recap of the event.