New York's historic Town Hall will be the setting for an extraordinary salute to the endurance and influence of Woodie King, Jr.'s New Federal Theatre (NFT), for 35 years a seminal force in the Black Arts Movement (BAM) co-hosted by Ossie Davis and Lynn Whitfield. In addition to celebrating the NFT's vital contribution to the arts internationally, the gala will feature a special "roast and toast" to Negro Ensemble Company co-founder award winning actor/director/writer, Douglas Turner Ward and an awards presentation honoring significant contributors to the development of the theatre.
The event will honor lyricist/composer/writer/performer Micki Grant, creator of the groundbreaking original musical revue, Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope; prolific playwright, Ed Bullins; and producer, director, lyricist George C. Wolfe. Two special awards for contributions to Black theater will also be presented: one, to the critically acclaimed Ensemble Cast, including Sean Combs and Phylicia Rashad, of the recent revival A Raisin in the Sun; and the second, to the Theater Development Fund, whose support of minority artists and companies has been critical to the survival and growth of the arts in New York. As well, there will be special performances by Leslie Uggams and other guest artists.