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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Jersey Theatre Alliance Announces 35th Anniversary Ovation Gala October 27th at The Pleasantdale Chateau

Pictured are Joseph P. Benincasa of The Actors Fund and Ashley Atkins, PhD, Manager of Corporate Contributions and Community Relations at Johnson & Johnson.

New Jersey Theatre Alliance (“The Alliance”), the service organization for the state’s professional, non-profit theatres, invites theatre fans throughout the state to its 35th Anniversary Ovation Gala to be held at The Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange on Thursday, October 27th, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

The once-every-five-years gala attracts theatre fans, benefactors, and arts leaders, and will feature dinner and open bar, Broadway entertainment, and silent and live auctions offering many vacation, theatre, golf, sports, spa, dining, and “experience” packages including tickets to Broadway’s Hamilton with a backstage tour, overnight stay, and limo. Awards will be given to Joseph P. Benincasa, Alliance board member and President and CEO of The Actors Fund, and to Johnson & Johnson, for their continued generous support of the Alliance and New Jersey theatre. Tickets and tables may be reserved, and auction bids placed in advance at

Founded in 1981 by the five professional theatres that were operating in New Jersey at the time, the Alliance has grown to a membership of 33 professional theatres stretching from Newton to Cape May. Members include large and small theatres, with repertoires covering contemporary drama, classics, musicals, new works, children’s theatre, and educational programming. These theatres, three of which have won Tony Awards for Best Regional Theatre, are fully-functioning businesses with paid administrative and artistic staff. Their annual attendance is over one million theatregoers, and in 2016 they contributed $17 million to local economies. The business community is enthusiastically giving back by supporting the Alliance’s gala. Atlantic Health System, Bank of America, IATSE local labor union, Investors Bank, KPMG, Mills + Schnoering Architects LLC, and PNC Financial Services Group are among the sponsors of the celebration.

“I chaired the 30th Ovation Gala five years ago, and am thrilled to be chairing it again,” said Carol A. Herbert, Benefit Chair. “When it comes to sustaining the health and vibrancy of New Jersey theatre, there are few other people and organizations who have such a widespread and deeply felt impact as the Alliance, Johnson & Johnson, and Joe Benincasa. It will be a privilege to honor them at the Ovation Gala.”

Joseph P. Benincasa is the President and CEO of The Actors Fund, which he joined in 1989. The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyone—performers and those behind the scenes—who works in performing arts and entertainment. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio, and dance, The Fund’s programs include social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and employment and training services. The Fund’s headquarters are in New York City with regional offices in Los Angeles and Chicago, a nursing home in Englewood, NJ, and supportive housing residences in Manhattan, NY, West Hollywood, CA, and Brooklyn, NY. Benincasa is also President of the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation which is building affordable, supportive senior care residences for artists in major urban centers.

“The Actors Fund and I are delighted to be honored by the Alliance and to play a role in its 35th Anniversary Gala celebration,” said Benincasa. “On stage, back and front of house, theatre professionals offer contemplation and joyful razzle-dazzle, most often in the same production. In turn, the theatres where these artists make the magic are supported by the essential, effective, and indispensable work of New Jersey Theatre Alliance. Together, they inspire us.”

Johnson & Johnson will be recognized for its stalwart support of the Alliance and New Jersey theatre, and for including the arts amid its strategic philanthropy work across the state. Johnson & Johnson focuses efforts on making the arts accessible to underserved audiences, including military veterans, caregivers, and people with autism and other disabilities. As a part of its commitment to the revitalization of New Brunswick, Johnson & Johnson supports key cultural institutions in New Brunswick including Alliance member theatres George Street Playhouse and Crossroads Theatre Company.

“Johnson & Johnson is honored to be recognized by New Jersey Theatre Alliance, particularly in this anniversary year, marking the Alliance’s 35 years of supporting the development and advancement of New Jersey theatre,” said Ashley Atkins, PhD, Manager of Corporate Contributions and Community Relations. “We have been long-time supporters of the Alliance and the theatrical community, especially in our hometown of New Brunswick, where we believe the arts play a crucial role in the health and vitality of the city. Congratulations to the Alliance and best wishes for your continued success.”

New Jersey Theatre Alliance supports the New Jersey professional theatre community with a wealth of resources, providing innovative and collaborative programs and services for theatres and their diverse audiences. Signature programs include The Stages Festival, an annual statewide, month-long festival in March that offers free and discounted performances, workshops, and events at theatres, libraries, senior centers, and other community venues; NJArtsTix, the discount ticketing website for the best of New Jersey’s performing arts; and The Cultural Access Network Project, co-sponsored by the Alliance and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, which enables seniors and people with disabilities to enjoy the arts.

Tickets and tables may be reserved, and auction bids placed online at For more information, contact Ruth Zamoyta at, (973) 731-6582.

New Jersey Theatre Alliance was the first statewide service organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that unite, promote, strengthen, and cultivate professional theatre in New Jersey. Funding for New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Bank of America, Prudential Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. More information can be found at

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