Morgan Freeman and Elie Wiesel
To Receive Lincoln Medals

Event Will Honor Courageous Achievement through Performance

Hosted by Scott Bakula

Appearances by
Anna Christy, The Civil Wars,
Bettye LaVette, Matthew Morrison and
cast members from the Ford’s Theatre revival of 1776

Washington, D.C.— Ford’s Theatre Society will host its annual gala on Sunday, June 3, 2012, 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 Morgan Freeman and Elie Wiesel, two individuals whose extraordinary character, accomplishments and life work reflect Lincoln’s legacy of leadership, service, humanity, wisdom, eloquence and vision.

The evening’s events will begin with red carpet arrivals at Ford’s Theatre, followed by a special evening performance that celebrates courageous American stories from the Revolutionary War to the present day through performance and song. Highlights include appearances by host Scott Bakula, soprano Anna Christy, musical duo The Civil Wars, R&B icon Bettye LaVette, actor and vocalist Matthew Morrison, and 1776 cast members Robert Cuccioli, Bobby Smith 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 new 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.

This year’s Ford’s Theatre Gala marks the end of Wayne R. Reynolds’ six years as chairman of the Ford’s Theatre Society Board. During his tenure, Reynolds has been the driving force behind the Ford's Theatre expansion from a beloved theatre of the D.C. community to a national destination for exploring Abraham Lincoln’s life, leadership and legacy. Reynolds is responsible for attracting a new level of scholarship to the Ford's Advisory Council, encouraging new initiatives in education programming and focusing the vision for the new Center for Education and Leadership.

The Ford’s Theatre Society Board of Trustees has elected Eric Spiegel, President and CEO of Siemens Corp, as Chairman for the 2012-2015 seasons. Spiegel will begin as Ford’s Theatre Society Board Chairman on June 4, 2012; he has served as a trustee on the Ford’s Theatre Board since 2006.  Spiegel is responsible for growing Siemens' U.S. business in the company’s largest market. With $22 billion in sales, $5 billion in exports and over 60,000 employees in the U.S., Siemens provides solutions for more affordable and efficient healthcare, the growing demands of cities and the nation's infrastructure needs, cleaner sources of energy production, and industrial productivity. Siemens has more than 130 manufacturing sites across the United States and is represented in all 50 states. Prior to joining Siemens, Spiegel worked for more than 20 years at Booz Allen Hamilton and Booz and Co. where he most recently served as the Managing Partner of Booz & Company's Global Energy, Chemicals and Power consulting practice. In 2006, Spiegel helped Ford’s develop its current strategic plan, which led to the creation of the Center for Education and Leadership as well as a modernization of the Theatre and the museum. As the new Chairman of the board, he will lead the society through its next planning process, ensuring the Society’s continued growth and innovation.

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 human rights activists Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Justice Albie Sachs; filmmaker George Lucas; actor Sidney Poitier; Dr. Maya Angelou; actress Ruby Dee; Congressman John Lewis; singer Aretha Franklin; Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., Director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, The Johns Hopkins Hospital; and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Former Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court.

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.

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 mission of Ford’s Theatre Society is to celebrate the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and explore the American experience through theatre and education. For its accomplishments, the organization was honored in 2008 with the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given by the U.S. government to artists, arts institutions and arts patrons.

Since the arrival of Paul R. Tetreault as Director, critics and the theatregoing public have recognized Ford’s Theatre Society 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 and Liberty Smith, Ford’s Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape.

Through the leadership of Wayne R. Reynolds, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, 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. The new Center brings the values and ideals of Lincoln from the past into the present, examining Lincoln’s multi-faceted legacy through exhibits, workshops, seminars and speakers, as well as community outreach programs.

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


MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Beyea at