Hosted by Richard Thomas

Appearances by
Heidi Blickenstaff, Denyce Graves, Brian Stokes Mitchell,
ABC Nashville’s Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio,
Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet, and others

Washington, D.C.— Ford’s Theatre Society will host its annual gala on Sunday, June 2, 2013, at Ford’s Theatre (511 10th Street NW) followed by a seated dinner at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum (750 Ninth Street NW). The evening will include the presentation of the Lincoln Medal to former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice and Basketball Hall of Fame honoree Bill Russell, two individuals whose extraordinary character, accomplishments and work reflect Lincoln’s legacy of leadership, service, humanity, wisdom, eloquence and vision.

The evening’s events will begin with red carpet arrivals and a special evening performance at Ford’s Theatre celebrating the power of the performing arts to inspire and engage. Highlights include appearances by host Richard Thomas, Broadway actress Heidi Blickenstaff, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, Tony-winning baritone Brian Stokes Mitchell, actors Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio from ABC’s Nashville, Emmy winner Eric Stonestreet from ABC’s Modern Family, and others. Following the performance, invited guests dine at the National Portrait Gallery.

First Lady Michelle Obama serves as the honorary chair of the gala celebration. Honorary co-chairs are Mrs. Landra Reid, The Honorable Elaine L. Chao, Mrs. Cynthia Rogers, Mrs. Deborah I. Dingell, Dr. Sharon Malone and Mrs. Catherine B. Reynolds.

The Ford’s Theatre Annual Gala benefits the Ford’s Theatre Society and its programming, including exhibits at the Ford’s Theatre Center for Education and Leadership (opened February 2012). This event is made possible by the generous support of lead sponsor General Dynamics and American Airlines, the official airline of Ford’s Theatre. Ford’s Theatre gratefully acknowledges Gloria Story Dittus and Story Partners for their support of the 2013 Lincoln Medal Presentation.

For additional information about tickets to the Ford’s Theatre Society Annual Gala, contact Limited space is available for press wishing to cover this event. Press should contact Lauren Beyea at (202) 434-9543.

Lincoln Medal
The Lincoln Medal is an annual award given by the Ford’s Theatre Society to a person or persons who, through their body of work, accomplishments or personal attributes, exemplify the lasting legacy, and mettle of character embodied by the most beloved President in our nation’s history, President Abraham Lincoln. Past recipients of the Lincoln Medal include Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel; human rights activists Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Justice Albie Sachs; filmmaker George Lucas; actors Ruby Dee, Morgan Freeman and Sidney Poitier; Dr. Maya Angelou; Congressman John Lewis; singer Aretha Franklin; and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Former Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court.

Ford’s Theatre Society
One of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital, Ford’s Theatre reopened its doors in 1968, more than a hundred years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Operated through a partnership between Ford’s Theatre Society and the National Park Service, Ford’s Theatre is the premier destination in the nation’s capital to explore and celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s ideals and leadership principles: courage, integrity, tolerance, equality and creative expression.

The Ford’s Theatre Society was founded under the guidance of executive producer Frankie Hewitt, who, during her 35-year tenure, established Ford’s as a living, working theatre producing performances that highlighted the diversity of the American experience. Since the arrival of Paul R. Tetreault as Director, critics and the theatregoing public have recognized Ford’s for the superior quality of its artistic programming. With works from the nationally acclaimed Big River to the world premieres of Meet John Doe, The Heavens Are Hung In Black, Liberty Smith and Necessary Sacrifices, Ford’s Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape. Under the leadership of Wayne R. Reynolds, Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus (Chairman 2007 to 2012), the mission of Ford’s Theatre Society expanded to include education as a central pillar. This expansion led to the creation and construction of the Center for Education and Leadership, which opened in February 2012. Currently, under the leadership of Board of Trustees Chairman Eric A. Spiegel, Ford’s enters a second phase of strategic planning to ensure the organization’s place as a national destination for exploring Lincoln’s legacy and the American experience through the intersection of history, performance and education.

For more information on Ford’s Theatre and the Ford’s Theatre Society, please visit