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Friday, May 9, 2014

The Theater Project’s 20th Anniversary Gala Celebrating Twenty Years of Bringing the Arts to Audiences of All Ages


On Thursday, May 15th devoted theater lovers will celebrate two decades of the best in contemporary theater in New Jersey. The 20thAnniversary Gala for The Theater Project, a professional theater company, will be held at the Wilshire Grand in West Orange. The evening will include a cocktail hour, sit down dinner, silent auction and conclude with an entertainment program.

The keynote speaker will be Ken Davenport, producer of Kinky Boots, the winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Musical. Davenport was named one of Crain’s “Forty Under 40″, and is one of the Co-Organizers of TEDxBroadway. His blog,, has been featured in Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, The Gothamist and more. He has written articles for Forbes, Mashable, Imedia and others.

The funds raised will sustain the Theater Project’s mission of serving New Jersey audiences with professionally staged contemporary plays. In the last 20 years, this mission has grown to include bringing the live theater experience to children – in their schools and through afterschool classes, and making theater accessible for the physically handicapped, and the visually and hearing impaired. The Star-Ledger has recognized The Theater Project for its outstanding work with awards for best production, best performer and best director.

“This gala is a milestone for us. We want to mark our 20th anniversary by celebrating the impressive people who have helped us bring live theater to more and more diverse audiences,” said Mark Spina, Founder and Artistic Director. “Our theater company is fortunate to have friends who have helped us create exciting theater programs. On May 15th we are thanking them for their generosity as we continue to raise money for our important mission: nurturing and challenging the creative artist in each one of us.”

At the Gala, The Theater Project will celebrate the special contributions of eight honorees: founding members Gary Glor, Daaimah Talley and Deborah Pires; former board president Bohdan Lukachewsky; philanthropists and community activists J.Edward Cecala and Stephanie Fein; and the creators and coordinators of Theater Project’s programs for the visually impaired, Diane Fairfax and Catherine Mattfield, representing the late Dick Mattfield.

The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour, followed by a sit down dinner. Guests also can take part in a silent auction that includes a getaway weekend and other offerings. Entertainment includes live music and a lineup of many favorite actors who have appeared in Theater Project productions over the past 20 years. Tickets are $100 per person.

Besides attending the 20th Anniversary Gala, anyone can pledge support for The Theater Project by being a Gala Sponsor or placing an ad in the evening’s program. Silent Auction donors will be listed in the evening’s program and on The Theater Project’s website. For more information on sponsorships, advertising and auction donations email

To purchase tickets for the 20th Anniversary Gala, go to\gala. A limited number of seats will be available at the door.

The Theater Project, a professional theater company, is based at the Burgdorff Cultural for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, New Jersey. The Theater Project began in 1994 with the goal of bringing the best contemporary plays to their community, and now presents more than 50 performances a year on five stages in two counties. In addition to stage productions, it offers extensive programs serving local playwrights, the disabled, children and seniors.

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