HIGHLIGHT OF THE EVENING IS A CONCERT BY TV AND FILM ICON TONY DANZA
MARILU HENNER HOSTS THE GALA BEING HELD AT BUCKS COUNTY PLAYHOUSE AND STELLA BY GARCES AT THE GHOST LIGHT INN
For the first time in years, Bucks County Playhouse’s annual benefit returns onsite to the Playhouse itself on Saturday, September 28 at 6:30 p.m., with its 80th Anniversary Gala celebrating the unveiling of New Hope’s riverfront and saluting the angels responsible for revitalizing and restoring some of New Hope’s most iconic landmarks.
This year’s Gala is the official reveal of the Playhouse River Promenade, the final stage of Bridge Street Foundation’s multi-million-dollar restoration of the historic theatre. The evening is highlighted by a special concert performance by Broadway and Hollywood star, Tony Danza, who is returning to Bucks County Playhouse for the first time since making his professional debut there onstage in the musical “1776” in 1973. Danza’s “Taxi” co-star, and a current Playhouse Artists’ Board member, Marilu Henner, will serve as host for the event.
The Gala will honor the philanthropists working to restore New Hope’s riverfront: Ed & Lynn Breen and Tom & Patty Lynch for their vision unfolding at River House at Odette’s, and Kevin & Sherri Daugherty for their vision realized with the spectacular renovation of the Playhouse (through their Bridge Street Foundation) and just opened Ghost Light Inn, featuring its signature restaurant Stella by Jose Garces. Bank of America’s Philadelphia Market President, Jim Dever, and his wife, Lynn Dever, a Bucks County pediatrician, serve as co-chairs of the 2019 Gala. The Gala is presented by Playhouse Artists, the 501©3 charity that supports the work of the Playhouse.
“After years of neglect, the New Hope waterfront, the promenade along the river, and the newly rechristened Ghost Light Inn look better than ever. Combined with the opening of The River House at Odette’s next year, New Hope is regaining its national reputation as a top tourism and entertainment destination,” says Producing Director, Alexander Fraser. “Through their projects, Kevin and Sherri Daugherty, Ed and Lynn Breen, and Tom and Patty Lynch have made a tremendous commitment to New Hope and its continuing economic development. We are happy to honor their achievements as we celebrate 80 years of Bucks County Playhouse and our record-breaking 2019 season.”
“As residents of Bucks County, Lynn and I have experienced first-hand the impact the Playhouse’s reopening has had on the community. Through the efforts of these formidable entrepreneurs, the revitalization of New Hope’s waterfront continues to make our community even more desirable for visitors both near and far,” says Gala Co-Chair, Jim Dever. “Bank of America is also proud to support the Playhouse as the 2019 Season Sponsor. The Playhouse’s growth and impact in our community clearly supports our believe that the arts matter.”
“This is a special year for the Playhouse, as its riverfront has been gloriously restored after years of construction. We’re welcoming all those who celebrate the resurrection of the Playhouse to join us in making this the most successful fundraising event of our history,” says Marv Woodall, Chair of Playhouse Artists. Kim Gibbons serves as chair of Playhouse Artists’ special events committee.
The pre-concert festivities will begin at Stella with cocktails and a moveable feast presented by Chef Jose Garces, followed by a special concert performance by Broadway and Hollywood star Tony Danza, singing the Great American Songbook, hosted by frequent Playhouse Artist Board Member Marilu Henner. Following the performance, the guests will spill out onto The Deck at the Playhouse for champagne, dessert and coffee with Bob Egan at the piano.
Proceeds from the Gala support the nonprofit mission of Bucks County Playhouse, which includes its new musical development program, the Oscar Hammerstein Festival, , and innovative education programs like the Student Theatre Festival, GirlSpeak, the Playhouse Youth Company and the newly launched Playhouse Institute, providing professional training to high school drama teachers and corporate employees. And this fall, the Playhouse’s education program will be working in Bucks County’s public-school classrooms on a new arts-based education program called “Bounce.”
At the Gala, iconic Tony Danza and his four-piece band will perform their hit show, “Tony Danza: Standards & Stories.” Combining timeless music with wit, charm, storytelling, and a dash of soft shoe and ukulele performances, Danza performs a selection of his favorite standards from the Great American Songbook while interweaving stories about his life and personal connection to the music.
Most recently starring in the hit Netflix series, “The Good Cop”, Tony Danza has been one of the world’s most beloved and iconic entertainers for over 40 years. Perhaps best known for his starring roles on two of television’s most cherished and long-running series, “Taxi” and “Who’s The Boss”, Tony has also starred in hit films such as “Angels In Outfield”, “She’s Out of Control”, “Hollywood Knights”, and “Don Jon.” Well established as a song and dance man, Tony tours regularly with his band, with The New York Times raving “Tony’s a live wire who tap-dances, plays the ukulele, tells stories and radiates irresistible charm… He exudes the kind of charisma that can’t be taught”. Tony has starred on Broadway in “The Producers”, “A View from the Bridge”, and most recently received rave reviews for his performance in the Broadway musical comedy, “Honeymoon In Vegas”, with the New York Times calling his performance “sly genius,” and a “career high”.
Single tickets for the Bucks County Playhouse 80th Anniversary Gala range in price from $300 to $500. Table sponsorship packages range from $3,000 to $50,000 and offer a variety of attractive benefits. For more information, contact Scott Blacker, Director of Advancement at 267.740.2090 x107 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets also are available at the Playhouse’s website at www.BucksCountyPlayhouse.org.
About Bucks County Playhouse
Bucks County Playhouse is a year-round, nonprofit theatre that has grown to become the largest cultural organization in the county with an annual audience of more than 80,000. Founded in 1939 in a converted 1790 gristmill, Bucks County Playhouse quickly became “the most famous summer theatre in America,” featuring a roster of American theatrical royalty including Helen Hayes, George S. Kaufman, Moss Hart, Kitty Carlisle, Angela Lansbury, Alan Alda, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peters, and Liza Minnelli and remained in continuous operation until 2010. In 2012, the Playhouse re-opened after a multi-million-dollar restoration thanks to the efforts of the Bridge Street Foundation, the nonprofit family foundation of Kevin and Sherri Daugherty. The Playhouse recently unveiled The Deck Restaurant and Bar, a 4,000 square foot Delaware-river facing addition to back of the Playhouse.
In 2014, Tony Award-winning producers Alexander Fraser, Robyn Goodman and Josh Fiedler took the helm of the Playhouse, and today the Playhouse has reclaimed its reputation of attracting Broadway and Hollywood artists. Its productions of “Company” starring Justin Guarini, and William Finn’s “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” were named by Wall Street Journal to its “Best of Theatre” list for 2015. In 2018, the Wall Street Journal again hailed the Playhouse and Artistic Associate Hunter Foster in its Best of the Year listings for its production of “42nd Street.” The 2017 season included four world premieres and audiences grew by over 34%. Box office record has been repeatedly broken by signature productions of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,” “Steel Magnolias” directed by Marsha Mason, and “Million Dollar Quartet,” “42nd Street,” and “Guys & Dolls” directed by Hunter Foster. This summer, “Mamma Mia!” directed by John Tartaglia and choreographed by Shannon Lewis, broke the box office records again.
The creative teams who come to create new productions at the Playhouse are among the most talented artists working in the professional theatre today and relish the opportunity to work on the historic stage where Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, and Jessica Walter began their careers.