Tina Fey and Wayne Brady Join Educational Theatre Foundation’s Virtual Gala

Actress, comedian, writer, producer, and playwright Tina Fey, and actor, singer, and improv comedian Wayne Brady, will show their support for school theatre by participating in the live streamed Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF) gala. The gala will honor award-winning director, producer, and actor Kenny Leon with its second annual Craig Zadan Theatre for Life Award and The Shubert Organization with the foundation’s annual Standing Ovation Award. The event is being live streamed free on January 28 at 8:30 p.m. (EST).They join an exciting lineup of performers that include Jennifer Hudson, Audra McDonald, and Amber Riley, along with emcees Nia Vardalos and John Stamos. The audience will be treated to showcase performances from film, theatre, and television professionals alongside current high school students.

Theatre Alive!: A Celebration of School Theatre, co-chaired by Broadway and television producer Robert Greenblatt and film and television producer Neil Meron, will be livestreamed on iHeartRadio Broadway. This virtual event, normally held in person, is being opened for all theatre lovers to attend and enjoy. Attendees can register online to secure their free ticket and to receive notifications as new stars are added to the lineup. The inspiring program will support two critical ETF programs: Thespian Relief Grants to Save School Theatre, which assist theatre programs financially struggling from effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new Pathway program to address racial disparity in theatre.

"The belief that arts education should be available to all students, and the recognition of the importance of theatre education in preparing students for whatever path they pursue in life, is shared by our celebrity guests and our sponsors,” said Julie Cohen Theobald, President of the Educational Theatre Foundation. “Research shows theatre education teaches life skills including creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.”

Tina Fey, in speaking with high school students at the International Thespian Festival, shared that her experiences in high school and community theatre gave her an opportunity to learn everything about what goes into a production, from painting sets, to being on stage, to selling tickets in the box office. When she arrived at Saturday Night Live 10 years later, she was a better collaborator because she had dabbled in all the various elements of putting a show together and had respect for what each contributes to success. “I’m proud to support Theatre Alive! to help sustain theatre in school for students who need it most. We can’t let a pandemic take away these opportunities that will impact the rest of their lives.”

Presenting sponsors for Theatre Alive! include Playbill, Apples and Oranges Arts, Broadway on Demand, The Diller – Von Furstenberg Family Foundation, iHeartRadio Broadway. Additional sponsors include AMDA, Kate Capshaw & Steven Spielberg, NBC Entertainment, Concord Theatricals, Nancy & Kenneth Duffy, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Broadway Licensing, Open Jar Studios, Mark Weinstein, California Thespians, Disney Theatrical Group, Dramatists Play Service, Mark Drum, Thomas & Ellen Hoberman, Irene Mecchi, Harley Neuman, and Kevin Yorn.

Photos: Getty Image