Chasten Buttigieg to Join Educational Theatre Foundation’s Virtual Gala


Teacher, writer, and LGBTQ rights advocate Chasten Buttigieg will participate in the virtual Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF) gala Theatre Alive! in support of theatre education. 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 will be streamed on January 28 at 8:30 p.m. (EST) and is open to anyone to attend for free with preregistration.

An exciting lineup of presenters and performers that includes Wayne Brady, Tina Fey, Jennifer Hudson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Audra McDonald, and Amber Riley, along with emcees Nia Vardalos and John Stamos are on board, with more to come. The audience will be treated to showcase performances from film, theatre, and television professionals alongside current high school students.

Chasten Buttigieg released his memoir, I Have Something to Tell You, in September 2020 while taking a leave of absence from teaching to serve as a campaign spokesperson, advisor, and social media campaigner for his husband Pete Buttigieg's run for the Democratic nominee for President. On the campaign trail, Chasten was a vocal champion of theatre education. “Growing up, theater helped me find my voice. As an educator, I had the chance to help my students use the arts to find theirs,” said Buttigieg in a February 9, 2020 tweet. “We need leaders who believe arts education is a necessity, not a luxury, so every young person can realize the best in themselves.”

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 live streamed iHeartRadioBroadway.xom. 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.

“We are incredibly honored and excited to have Chasten Buttigieg join us in this celebration,” said Julie Cohen Theobald, President of the Educational Theatre Foundation. “The gala will honor the 2020 inductees into the EdTA Hall of Fame, which recognizes outstanding teachers who have dedicated more than 20 years to the cause of theatre education: Tim Buchheit of Washington, Missouri, Michael Daehn of Muncie, Indiana, Marti Fowler of Chesterfield, Missouri, and Billy Houck of Carmichael, California. To have Chasten, who — along with the many hats he wears — is a theatre educator, makes this celebration all the more meaningful.”

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, ICM Partners, 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.

Photo: Getty Image