The celebration will take place on Feb. 3, 2020 at the Edison Ballroom in New York City. The evening will feature performances, speeches, and a cocktail reception followed by a seated dinner. Additional programming will be announced soon.
“Every other year, I join tens of thousands of theatre lovers in Winston-Salem, N.C., for the joyous community and expansive artistry provided by the National Black Theatre Festival,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG, in a statement. “We are so excited to bring that joy to New York City, and to honor the impact of the Festival on Black theatre and our broader culture. The gala is always a great night for theatre, and we look forward to welcoming so many of our friends from the professional not-for-profit and commercial theatre sectors to celebrate our many accomplishments.”
The National Black Theatre Festival is a program of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NC Black Rep). Founded in 1979 by Larry Leon Hamlin, NC Black Rep was the first professional Black theatre company in North Carolina. The festival hosts upwards of 120 performances, attracts more than 65,000 visitors to Winston-Salem, and has contributed to more than $230 million dollars to the city’s economy since its inception in 1989. NC Black Rep’s mission is to engage, enrich, and entertain with innovative programming that resonates across the community and challenges social perceptions.
Hwang’s stage works includes the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Kung Fu, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, in addition to Broadway musicals Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival), and Disney’s Tarzan. Hwang is a Tony winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner, and a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also the most-produced living American opera librettist, whose works have been honored with two Grammy Awards. He co-wrote the Gold Record Solo with the late pop icon Prince and worked for four seasons as a writer/consulting producer for the Golden Globe-winning television series “The Affair.” Hwang serves on the board of the Lark Play Development Center, as head of playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts, and as chair of the American Theatre Wing. M. Butterfly recently returned to Broadway in a revival directed by Julie Taymor, which marked his eighth Broadway production. East West Players has named its mainstage the David Henry Hwang Theatre, and recent honors include his 2018 induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Hwang was a Residency One playwright from 2012-14 at New York’s Signature Theatre. His newest work, Soft Power, a collaboration with composer Jeanine Tesori, premiered in May 2018 at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles where it won six Ovation Awards, including Best New Production, and enjoyed a successful run in Fall 2019 at the Public Theater.
“TCG Books published David Henry Hwang’s first play FOB in 1980, and we’re still publishing his groundbreaking plays 40 years later,” said Terry Nemeth, TCG publisher, in a statement. “So while there are many reasons to honor his work, it’s also a chance to celebrate one of the longest relationships TCG Books has had with a playwright. That relationship speaks to the long-term commitment we make to our authors to publish their body of work and keep their plays in print.”