Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer), will celebrate its 43rd Year with a Gala evening on Monday, April 2th, featuring a special concert by Tony-Winner, Lillias White. The event takes place at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, East 25th Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenues, at 7pm.
The Amas Benefit Event honors the iconic restaurateur, author and transcultural lifestyle pioneer B. Smith with the “Rosie Award”, named for Amas founder Rosetta LeNoire. Established in 2002, the Rosie Award is bestowed on individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary accomplishment and dedication in bringing our world more closely together, and on businesses that have distinguished themselves through their leadership and commitment to diversity as a core business strategy. Ms. Smith is being recognized on both counts.
Donna Trinkoff, Amas’ Artistic Producer said, “Barbara Smith is one of America’s most influential taste-makers. Her unique, “transcultural” approach to fashion, food and décor merges cultures through style, elevating and transforming individual cultural contributions even as we absorb them into increasingly diverse lifestyles. Rosetta’s goal, as well, was to create a workplace that celebrates diversity and champions all cultures. B. Smith’s vision and work are both exciting and inclusive and we applaud them. And who better to elevate our evening’s celebration than our dear friend, the fabulous Lillias White, who is one of the most electrifying performers in today’s American theatre.”
Honorary Benefit Chair for the event is Broadway and TV star Leslie Uggams, who is also a past Rosie Award winner. Additional past honorees include Ossie Davis and Rubie Dee, Geoffrey Holder and Carmen deLavallade, Maurice Hines, Phylicia Rashad, Woodie King, Jr., Dionne Warwick, and George C. Wolfe, Jr. Previous corporate honorees include Ernst & Young, JPMorganChase, Verizon, and PWC.
The evening will also include a special performance by teen students of the Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy and will conclude with the presentation of the eighth annual Rosetta LeNoire Scholarship, which is given to a deserving college-bound student attending the Amas Academy.
B. (Barbara) Smith began her career as a fashion model, gracing the covers of 15 magazines and becoming the first African-American woman on Mademoiselle’s cover in July 1976. Her pioneering lifestyle expertise spans a wide range of specialties. For nearly a decade, Smith hosted the nationally syndicated/cable television show “B. Smith with Style”, and appears frequently on national programs such as “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show” and “The View.” A former columnist for Soap Opera Digest, Smith is the author of three tabletop books on entertaining and numerous cookbooks that showcase her personal recipes and tips on entertaining. The B. Smith with Style Home Collection is the first line of decor from an African-American woman to be sold at a nationwide retailer. Perhaps best known to New York theatre-goers as a restaurateur since the opening of B. Smith’s on Restaurant Row 25 years ago, this title has only gained momentum for Smith as she established two other esteemed locations in Sag Harbor and Washington, D.C. Spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation as well as the African American Experience Fund, her many awards include the Earl Graves Entrepreneurial Award, a BET Honors Award for Entrepreneurship, and a Black Enterprise Legacy Award. In the spring of 2011, Smith made her Off-Broadway debut in Love, Loss, and What I Wore.
Lillias White is one of few performers to be honored with Broadway’s “Quadruple Crown”: Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, People’s Choice Award, and The Outer Critics Award for Best Actress in a Musical, for her 1997 role as Sonja in the The Life. Additional awards include The Obie Award for Best Actress in a Musical (Romance in Hard Times), The Drama Logue Award for Best Actress in a Musical (Dreamgirls), and an Emmy Award (Sesame Street). She is a prolific performer in all media and in 2010 received an additional Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for Fela, which she recently performed in Nigeria.
Amas Musical Theatre is an award-winning pioneer in diversity and multi-ethnic casting in the performing arts since it was founded in 1968 by the late actress and producer Rosetta LeNoire. Amas (“you love” in Latin) is devoted to the creation, development and professional production of new American musicals through the celebration of diversity and minority perspectives, the emergence of new artistic talent, and the training and encouragement of under-served young people in the New York area.
In recent years, under the leadership of Artistic Producer Donna Trinkoff, Amas has emerged as an important laboratory for the development of new musicals, many of which have moved to expanded touring, regional, commercial, and licensed productions after their Amas appearances. Shows include Aesop & Company, Signs of Life, Wanda’s World, Stormy Weather … Imagining Lena Horne, SHOUT! The Mod Musical, Lone Star Love, Zanna Don’t, From My Hometown, 4 Guys Named Jose … and Una Mujer Named Maria, and Langston Hughes’s Little Ham.
Celebrated Amas education programs span all grade levels and include in-school, after school, and weekend programming. The Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy is a pre-professional training program for teenagers. Each graduating class presents a full Off-Off-Broadway showcase production. The Immigration Experience is Amas’ artists-in-school program for public middle and high school students to research their personal and communities’ immigration histories and create performance pieces for their school and community. Lens on Live Theatre brings Amas Teaching Artists into the schools to explore theatre skills and themes related to Amas Mainstage shows.
The Amas Benefit is an annual event held to raise funds in support of Amas Musical Theatre’s ongoing theatre and arts education programs.