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Ford's Theatre Society Presents Annual Gala on June 5, 2011

Ford's Theatre Society Presents Annual Gala on Sunday, June 5, 2011

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julie Andrews To Receive Lincoln Medals

Event Will Honor Lincoln’s Legacy through Performance

Appearances by Michael Arden, Scott Bakula, Avery Brooks, Christopher B. Corrigan, Richard Dreyfuss, Jeremy Gumbs, Joshua Henry, Kellee Knighten Hough, Kevin McAllister, Michael McElroy, Anika Noni Rose, David Selby and Michael Urie, with cast members from the Ford’s Theatre world premiere musical Liberty Smith

Washington, D.C.— Ford’s Theatre Society will host its annual gala on Sunday, June 5, 2011, 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 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julie Andrews, whose extraordinary careers and commitment to education, understanding and equality exemplify the character and lasting legacy of President Abraham Lincoln.

The evening’s events will begin at Ford’s Theatre, where a special evening performance titled Lincoln’s Legacy and a New Era of Hope celebrates the enduring light that Abraham Lincoln’s life provides our country. Performance highlights include appearances by Michael Arden, Scott Bakula, Avery Brooks, Christopher B. Corrigan, Richard Dreyfuss, Jeremy Gumbs, Joshua Henry, Kellee Knighten Hough, Kevin McAllister, Michael McElroy, Anika Noni Rose, David Selby, Michael Urie and Liberty Smith cast members Christopher Bloch, Geoff Packard, Donna Migliaccio, Bobby Smith and others in a selection of scenes and Broadway songs from past and future Ford’s Theatre theatrical productions that capture the essence of Lincoln’s legacy by illuminating his hopes for a world defined by tolerance, understanding and acceptance. Following the performance, 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, its programming and the new Ford’s Theatre Center for Education and Leadership (opening 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.

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 RSVP@fords.org. Limited space is available for press wishing to cover this event. Press should contact Lauren Beyea at (202) 434-9543.

Ford’s Theatre Society
Since it reopened its doors in 1968, more than a hundred years after the April 14, 1865, assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Ford’s Theatre has been one of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital. Ford’s Theatre has captivated visitors because of its unique place in United States history, and its mission 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.

Ford’s Theatre Society works to present the Theatre’s nearly one million visitors each year with a high quality historical and cultural experience, enhancing the vibrancy of this historic site, an important tool for promoting the ideals of leadership, humanity and wisdom espoused by Abraham Lincoln.

Since 2004, Ford’s Theatre Society has been recognized by the critics and theatergoing public for the superior quality of its artistic programming. With works from the nationally acclaimed Big River to the world premieres of Liberty Smith, Meet John Doe and The Heavens Are Hung In Black, Ford’s Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape.

In addition, through the leadership of Chairman Wayne R. Reynolds and Director Paul Tetreault, the mission of Ford’s Theatre Society has been expanded to include education as a central pillar of the organization. As Ford’s Theatre looks to the future, the health of the organization will be defined and determined not only by the quality of the productions on the stage but also by the success of its educational programming in teaching about the life, presidency and lessons of leadership of Abraham Lincoln.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Beyea at (202) 434-9543 and lbeyea@fords.org