Lights shine on The Theatre School gala honorees
March 29, 2012
The Theatre School will hold its annual gala on April 16 at the Four Seasons Hotel at 120 E. Delaware Ave. The event benefits the Theatre School Scholarship Fund as part of the Many Dreams, One Mission campaign for DePaul.
This year’s honorees include:
2012 Award for Excellence in the Arts
Nathan Lane has appeared in 17 Broadway shows since 1982, beginning with “Present Laughter,” starring George C. Scott. He has also appeared in multiple off-Broadway productions.
He has received two Tony Awards, two Obie Awards, the Lucille Lortel Award, the St. Clair Bayfield Award, and, in London, the Olivier Award. In television, he has received six Emmy nominations, most recently for “Modern Family,” and has won two Emmy Awards and a People’s Choice Award.
Lane has made more than 35 films, including “The Birdcage” (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination and Screen Actors Guild and American Comedy awards), “Ironweed,
“Frankie and Johnny,” “The Lion King,” “Nicholas Nickleby” (National Board of Review Ensemble Acting Award) and “The Producers” (Golden Globe nomination). He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame In 2006 and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2008.
2012 Leadership Award for Excellence in the Arts
Christopher G. Kennedy
Christopher G. Kennedy is the Chairman of Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, the Kennedy Family Office, and currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees for the University of Illinois. He is also the former president of Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI), which owns and operates Chicago’s world-famous Merchandise Mart.
Kennedy has been a great supporter of the arts for years. At MMPI, Kennedy built the largest art show production organization in the United States, which included events such as The Armory Show in New York, the Toronto International Art Fair, the VOLTA fair in Basel, Switzerland, and Art Platform – Los Angeles. In 2006, The Merchandise Mart rescued Art Chicago, sustaining one of the most popular cultural tourism events in the city and attracting more than 50,000 visitors annually.
Kennedy has received the Arts Advocate Award from the Arts Alliance Illinois, has been recognized by the Lawyers for Creative Arts as a Distinguished Service Honoree and was recognized by “Art Review Magazine” as one of the top 100 most influential people in the arts.
As chair of the Board of Trustees, Kennedy has led the effort at the University of Illinois to institute a policy to allocate half of 1 percent of new university buildings’ construction budgets to provide art in the form of sculptures, paintings and other mediums for each new building.
Kennedy earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston College in 1986 and a master’s of management from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management of Northwestern University in 1994. He is the son of Robert and Ethel Kennedy and is the eighth of their 11 children. He and his wife, Sheila Berner Kennedy, have four children and reside in suburban Chicago.
2012 Alumni Award for Excellence in the Arts
Ensemble Member, Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Alana Arenas is originally from Miami, where she began her training at the New World School of the Arts High School. She moved to Chicago and earned a BFA from the Theatre School.
In 2007, Arenas joined the Steppenwolf ensemble and created the role of Pecola Breedlove for the Steppenwolf for Young Adults production of “The Bluest Eye,” which also played at The New Victory Theater Off-Broadway. Her recent credits include “Man in Love,” “Middletown,” “The Hot L Baltimore,” “The Etiquette of Vigilance” and “The Brother/Sister Plays” at Steppenwolf and “Changes of Heart” at Remy Bumppo Theatre.
Television and film credits include “Boss,” “The Beast,” “Kabuku Rides,” and “Lioness of Lisabi.” Arenas can currently be seen in “Disgraced,” a world premiere by Ayad Akhtar, at American Theatre Company.
2012 Alumni Award for Excellence in the Arts
Director, Actor, and Producer, ‘Rules of Engagement,’ ‘Two and a Half Men’
Ted Wass was born in Lakewood, Ohio, and attended the Goodman School of Drama, known today as The Theatre School at DePaul University. Wass played Danny Zuko in the original Broadway production of “Grease,” and went on to work in Hollywood, guest starring in Aaron Spelling’s “Family.” He was cast as Danny Dallas in the hit television series “Soap,” and filmed 101 episodes of the series.
Wass was cast by Blake Edwards in “Curse of the Pink Panther,” which led to other lead roles in “Sheena: Queen of the Jungle,” “The Longshot,” and “Oh, God! You Devil” with George Burns.
He was then cast in the hit television series “Blossom” and, after directing 18 of the 113 episodes, Wass retired from acting to pursue a career in directing. Wass has directed hundreds of episodes of hit shows including “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Spin City,” “Less Than Perfect,” “Rules of Engagement” and the new hit series “2 Broke Girls.”
Host and Emcee
Associate Artistic Director, Roundabout Theatre Company
Theatre School/Goodman School of Drama Alumnus
Scott Ellis is associate artistic director for the Roundabout Theatre Company and has been the executive producer of the Showtime series “Weeds” for the last three seasons. Ellis’ Broadway directing credits include “Curtains” (Tony nomination), “Twelve Angry Men” (Tony, Drama Desk nominations), Arthur Miller’s “The Man Who Had All the Luck,” “1776” (Drama Desk, Tony nomination), “Picnic” (Outer Critics Circle nomination), “Steel Pier” (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle awards, Tony nomination), “She Loves Me” (Drama Desk and Tony Award nominations, Outer Critics Circle Award and Olivier Award for Best Director and Best Revival, London production).
Off-Broadway credits include “Entertaining Mr. Sloane” with Alec Baldwin, “And the World Goes ‘Round: The Songs of Kander & Ebb” (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle awards), “That Championship Season,” “Mr. and Mrs. Fitch,” and “Gruesome Playground Injuries.”
Ellis’ television directing work includes “30 Rock” (Emmy Award nomination), “Frasier,” “The Good Wife,” “Hung,” “The Closer,” “Modern Family,” and “2 Broke Girls.” He begins rehearsal this month for the first Broadway revival of “Harvey.”