For Immediate Release
May 16, 2016
The World Science Festival will honor actor, writer, teacher and extraordinary champion of science Alan Alda in its annual spring gala, A Performing Arts Salute to Science, Monday, May 23 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick Rose Hall. Broadway stars, directed by Gina Rattan (Director, national tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella; Associate Director, Matilda the Musical on Broadway), will perform new versions of popular songs rewritten by David Chase (Musical Supervisor, Finding Neverland; Arranger and Music Supervisor, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella) for the occasion.
In addition to his decades of achievement as a writer and actor, from “M*A*S*H” to Louis C.K.’s recent “Horace and Pete,” Alan Alda has long dedicated himself to widening the public’s understanding of science. He has been an active board member of the World Science Festival since its founding in 2008 and helped establish the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in 2009.
Among the Broadway stars who will perform in Mr. Alda’s honor—singing songs rewritten with him in mind, against the backdrop of the Appel Room’s panoramic views of Columbus Circle and Central Park—are Jenni Barber (Wicked, The Nance), Ava Briglia (Matilda the Musical), Grace Capeless (Matilda the Musical, The Lion King), Paula Leggett Chase (On The 20th Century, Bye Bye Birdie), Ava Della Pietra (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock), Alex Drier (Finding Neverland), Drew Gehling (Waitress, Jersey Boys), Greg Hildreth (Cinderella, Peter and the Starcatcher), Tamika Lawrence (If/Then, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, The Book of Mormon), Kara Lindsay (Wicked, Newsies), Kevin Massey (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), Anne L. Nathan (It Shoulda Been You, Once), Sawyer Nunes (Matilda the Musical, Finding Neverland), Danny Quadrino (Wicked, Newsies), Andrea Jones-Sojola (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess), Donald Webber Jr. (Motown, TV: NBC’s The Wiz), and Kirsten Wyatt (Annie, A Christmas Story). Greg Graham (Associate Choreographer, On the Town on Broadway) is the show’s choreographer. Internationally renowned clarinetist David Krakauer will also perform a tribute to Mr. Alda.
The evening’s guests span the worlds of science, philanthropy, and the arts, including World Science Festival Co-founders Tracy Day and Brian Greene; Gala Chairs Marilyn & Jim Simons; Gala Chair and World Science Festival board member Ann Ziff; Nobel Prize-winning biologist and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, James Watson; violinist Joshua Bell; violinist/conductor Itzak Perlman; award-winning actress, producer, and social activist Marlo Thomas; “The View” host Joy Behar; “Donahue” writer and producer Phil Donahue; and Emmy-winning host of “The Takeaway,” John Hockenberry, to name a few.
The World Science Festival 2016 Gala Co-Chairs are Pam Hurst-Della Pietra & Stephen Della Pietra, Barbara Amonson & Vincent Della Pietra. The Honorary Committee includes Yoko Nazaki & Emanuel Ax, Joy Behar & Steve Janowitz, Joshua Bell, Candice Bergen, Rebecca Luker & Danny Burstein, Cameron Diaz, Pia de Jong & Robbert Dijkgraaf, Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue, Philip Glass, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mariska Hargitay & Peter Hermann, Mary-Claire King, John Lithgow, Jill Hornor & Yo-Yo Ma, Paul Nurse, Toby & Itzhak Perlman, Joy & Regis Philbin, Julie & Paul Rudd, Naomi Watts & Liev Schreiber, Gillian Small, Steven Strogatz, Mimi Lieber & Daniel Sullivan, Constance Casey & Harold Varmus, MD, Elizabeth & James Watson, Heather Watts & Damian Woetzel, and E.O. Wilson.
A Performing Arts Salute to Science begins at 6:30pm with cocktails in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Ertegun Atrium. Dinner, by Great Performances, begins at 7:15pm in the Appel Room, followed by the performance program. The after-party, at 9pm in the Ertegun Atrium, will feature specialty drinks by Reyka Vodka and the Cocktail Ninja and, for dessert, Darren Wong’s Raindrop Cake.
The ninth annual World Science Festival will take place June 1-5 in locations across New York City. For more information, please visit www.worldsciencefestival.com
About Alan Alda
Internationally acclaimed actor, writer, and director, Alan Alda is widely known for his roles as Hawkeye Pierce on “M*A*S*H” and Senator Arnold Vinick on “The West Wing.” A seven-time Emmy Award winner, he was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor in The Aviator, and has earned worldwide renown for his prolific career in film and television. Mr. Alda received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his role in the 2006 revival of Glengarry Glen Ross.
Mr. Alda is also celebrated as an early and devoted champion of public understanding of science. His lifelong love of science and his dedication to bringing the compelling stories of scientific discovery to the public led him to host “Scientific American Frontiers” on PBS for over a decade; to play Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman in QED; and to write the plays, Dear Albert, based on the letters of Albert Einstein, and Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie. Mr. Alda has also hosted the PBS mini-series, “The Human Spark,” for which he was awarded the 2010 Kavli Science Journalism Award. He has also received the National Science Board’s Public Service Award, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the Scientific American Lifetime Achievement Award, and the American Chemical Society Award for Public Service.
In 2009, Mr. Alda helped found the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, which was named in his honor in 2013. As a visiting professor at the Alda Center, Mr. Alda leads workshops and advises on teaching techniques that enable scientists to talk more personally and persuasively about their work. In this capacity, he launched the Flame Challenge, an annual international competition that challenges scientists and science teachers to explain complex scientific concepts in ways that an 11-year-old can understand and appreciate. Each year, the winners of the Flame Challenge are announced at the World Science Festival, and live-streamed to viewers around the world.
About the World Science Festival
The World Science Festival gathers great minds in science and the arts to produce live and digital content that allows a broad general audience to engage with scientific discoveries. Through discussions, debates, theatrical works, interactive explorations, musical performances, intimate salons, and major outdoor experiences, the Festival takes science out of the laboratory and into the streets, parks, museums, galleries and premier performing arts venues of New York City and beyond.
Hailed as a “new cultural institution” by the New York Times, the Festival has featured Alan Alda, Joshua Bell, Chuck Close, Glenn Close, Sylvia Earle, Philip Glass, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Stephen Hawking, John Hockenberry, Bill T. Jones, Charlie Kaufman, Mary-Claire King, Eric Lander, Richard Leakey, John Lithgow, Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, Oliver Sacks, Liev Schreiber, Anna Deavere Smith, Julie Taymor, E.O. Wilson, and Nobel Laureates David Baltimore, Steven Chu, David Gross, Eric Kandel, Dudley R. Herschbach, Roald Hoffmann, Leon Lederman, Paul Nurse, John C. Mather, Saul Perlmutter, William Phillips, Adam Riess, F. Sherwood Rowland, Horst Störmer, Jack W. Szostak, Gerard ‘t Hooft, Harold Varmus, James Watson, Steven Weinberg, Carl Wieman, and Frank Wilczek, among many others luminaries in science and the arts.
The annual live, weeklong New York Festivals, which launched in 2008, have collectively drawn more than a million and a half visitors, with millions more viewing the programs online. The World Science Festival’s original musical and theatrical works tour nationally and internationally, and March 2016 marked the launch of World Science Festival Brisbane. World Science U is the World Science Foundation’s online education arm where students and lifelong learners can dive more deeply through artfully produced digital education content presented by world-renowned scientists.
The World Science Festival is a production of the World Science Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in New York City.
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