San Francisco’s Magic Theatre Virtual Gala Fundraiser features Ed Harris and Amy Madigan

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Magic Theatre (Loretta Greco, Artistic Director and Kevin Nelson, Interim Managing Director) announced today that the Company will host its first-ever Virtual Gala Fundraiser, Springing Forward, on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. PST / 9:00 p.m. EST. 

The Gala will feature guest appearances from Ed Harris and Amy Madigan, Taylor Mac, Mfonsio Udofia, Lloyd Suh, and many more.  Registration is free and is available online at https://app.mobilecause.com/e/BAi56Q?vid=9ekj1#.


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"For 53 years, the Magic has been an integral member of the San Francisco cultural family," said Gala Co-Chairs Maureen Sullivan and Meagan Levitan. "What the Magic does is singular – commits itself to original plays while supporting and empowering emerging artists by bringing to life diverse voices and perspectives. Your virtual presence here tonight continues this work and ensures Magic's place in the future of San Francisco arts. Now more than ever, as we endeavor to get past the effects of this pandemic, working to protect the arts and their place in our world - and city - is important (and noble) work."

The recipients of Magic Theatre's 2020 Annual Sam Shepard Legacy Award will be Magic Theatre's Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Kary Schulman, the longtime former director of Grants for the Arts — the San Francisco agency responsible for distributing the city's hotel tax funds to various organizations and nonprofits.

Anyone who registers will receive an invite to a virtual Happy Half-Hour Cocktail Reception (and be entered to win raffles and prizes) at 5:30 p.m. PST / 8:30 p.m. EST, prior to the Gala. Guests will join Magic Playwrights and Artists Ricardo Pérez González, Yetta Gottesman, Liz Duffy Adams, Ashlin Halfnight, Sarah Nina Hayon, and Magic mixologist Corky LaVallee for a conversation as they and live cocktail demonstration! All drink recipes will be included in the link once registered, so everyone can join the fun.


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The reception also includes announcing the winner of the Wine Cellar Raffle, who will receive up to $1,200 in fine wines (*local Bay Area residents only). While second place winners will have a featured cocktail named after them! This signature cocktail will then be served at the Magic bar for the entirety of the upcoming season. All are welcome to enter!

Magic will also give 20% of any income raised over the initial goal of $100,000 directly to the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, whose core mission is "to create theatrical works by, for, and about the African American experience. LHT's incredible legacy and dedication to Black artists is crucial to the arts, especially in the city of San Francisco.

Lorraine Hansberry Theatre: https://www.lhtsf.org/

Sam Shepard Legacy Award

This award celebrates an individual who has a special relationship to Magic and has dedicated a life to creating or supporting the creation of exceptional theatre that dynamically pushes the culture forward.

Almost 50 years ago, Sam Shepard embarked on a journey with Magic Theatre. A journey that would include the creation and premiere of seven of his most enduring works including Buried Child, True West, and Fool for Love. Magic Theatre provided him with an artistic home to explore, create, and thrive during these formative years. The art he created at Magic allowed audiences to viscerally explore the essential elements of humanity and dared viewers to feel beyond themselves. Sam challenged the status quo and forged the way for countless other playwrights to dream and discover their own voices. Magic Theatre has continued to be an artistic safe-haven for groundbreaking writers who follow Sam's path in vaulting us all forward because of arts innovators and visionaries, and especially because of tonight's honorees, Kary Schulman and Loretta Greco. 

Past Awardees: Taylor Mac, Toni Rembe, John Marx, Rebecca Eisen, and Octavio Solis.

Sean San José, Campo Santo member who has worked with Greco on numerous occasions during her tenure Magic Theatre, describes Greco's impact on the theatre and the community: "What Magic has achieved through Greco's vision, heart, and perseverance - is to create home where there was none. From day one with Loretta-it was about meeting who is here; who is amazing and has to be there; and how to get as many of US in there as she could. The mission was exceeded by virtue of her incredible gift at working with great artists only; her commitment to create new work for now; her belief in nurturing and navigating community here; and her allegiance to the legacy of Magic's history of loving and supporting writers and their new works."


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The 2020 Gala Committee Co-Chairs are Maureen Sullivan and Meagan Levitan; the Committee is comprised of Alan Stewart, Sarah Nina Hayon, Ciera Eis, Leigh Wolf, Stephanie Holmes, Kathryn Kersey, Larry Goldfarb, Katrina Wong, Karen Donovan, and John Marx.

Magic Theatre wishes to thank our generous Gala sponsors: Rough House, Sosie Wines, Conservatory of Flowers, Shotgun Players, Unlimited Biking, Barry's, Young Performers Theatre, City Lights Theatre Company, Super Duper Burgers, SF Symphony, Sip Tea Room, Blue Bear School of Music, Face West, DwellWell and Jane Pellicciotto.

Your Impact

For 53 years, Magic Theatre has sought and supported theatre's freshest playwrights who bravely tackle difficult subjects, sharing the essential narratives of our time. The current health crisis is having a profound impact on theater, and we need your help more than ever. At Magic, writers are given a rare artistic home, an extension of faith, and the tools and time to carefully craft their stories. Since 2008, Magic has produced twenty-six world premieres, twenty-one of which have enjoyed extended life beyond the Magic stage throughout the U.S. and abroad.

With the arts at risk, it has been incredibly difficult to maintain operating costs. As a Magic supporter, you are an essential part of continuing to create an invaluable artistic home for infamous playwrights such as Sam Shepard, Taylor Mac, Linda McLean, Mfosnio Udofia, Lloyd Suh, Christina Anderson, Octavio Solis, Theresa Rebeck, and Nassim Soleimanpour.


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Not only does your support have a national impact, but you would be supporting the rich Bay Area community as well. Your support will allow us to keep up our collaboration with Laney Community College students, our hands-on Apprenticeship Programs, and our writer's education program for children, teens, and adults in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. Our community outreach program, Making Magic: Arts and Community, brings our mainstage work and special collaborations to the heart of the Tenderloin for free performances and classes which continues to build on Magic's decades of new playwriting expertise. By focusing our curriculum on teaching mindfulness, self-esteem, playwriting, and creative storytelling, Magic seeks to build passion and confidence, encouraging self-expression in our students of all ages.

In these challenging times, we need the new voices and stories Magic brings us more than ever. For these daring voices to be heard and the next generation of writers to be nurtured, Magic needs your support.

About Kary Schulman

From 1980 until 2019 Kary Schulman was the Director of Grants for the Arts, the municipal funding agency for San Francisco's arts community, granting over $300 million dollars to hundreds of arts organizations and cultural projects ranging from ethnic neighborhood celebrations to the San Francisco Opera, Symphony and Ballet. During her tenure Grants for the Arts was widely regarded as one of the most generous and progressive city arts funders in the United States.

Ms. Schulman has served on numerous panels and advisory committees for such agencies as the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, The Non-Profit Management Program of the University of San Francisco, Golden Gate University, the National Council on Foundations, and the Seattle Art Commission. Among her awards and honors are the City of San Francisco's Managerial Excellence Award, the SPUR Public Managerial Efficiency Award, the Silver Cable Car Award from San Francisco Travel, and the Business Arts Council Trustee's Award.

About Loretta Greco

Loretta Greco (Magic Artistic Director) is celebrating her twelfth and final season as Magic Theatre's sixth Artistic Director. Ms. Greco is proud to have developed, premiered, and championed the country's most innovating and cutting-edge writers, including Taylor Mac, Mfoniso Udofia, Lloyd Suh, Luis Alfaro, John Kolvenbach, Jessica Hagedorn, Linda McLean, Han Ong, and Octavio Solis. Under her watch, twenty of the twenty-six world premieres produced here have gone on to have between two and seventy-one productions each throughout the country and beyond. Magic directing credits include the world premieres of Barbara Hammond's Eva Trilogy, Ong's Grandeur, Hagedorn's Gangster of Love, Sharr White's Annapurna, and Octavio Solis' Se Llama Cristina. She has also reimagined West Coast premieres such as Sharr White's The Other Place, Liz Duffy Adams' Or,, and Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius, among many others.  

At Magic, Greco is grateful for her longstanding collaborations with playwrights Sam Shepard, Luis Alfaro, and Taylor Mac. Greco worked closely with Shepard on Magic's five-year Bay Area Sheparding America series and directed the critically-acclaimed legacy revivals of Buried Child and Fool for Love. She developed and directed the world premieres of Alfaro's Oedipus el Rey, Bruja, and This Golden State: Delano. She produced Taylor Mac's five-hour The Lily's Revenge, the world premiere of Hir, and Associate Produced the West Coast premiere (with Curran, Pomegranate Arts, and Stanford Live) A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. She has commissioned and will direct Mac's upcoming premiere, Joy and Pandemic for 2021.

Her New York directing credits include the premieres of: runboyrun and A Park in Our House at New York Theatre Workshop; The Story, Lackawanna Blues, and Two Sisters and a Piano at The Public Theater; Meshugah at Naked Angels: Mercy at The Vineyard; Under a Western Sky at INTAR; and Victoria Martin Math Team Queen, Touch, and Gum at Women's Project.  Her regional directing credits include: Sweat, The Realistic Joneses, Speed-the-Plow, and Blackbird at American Conservatory Theater; Life is a Dream at California Shakespeare; Romeo and Juliet and Stop Kiss at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; and productions for McCarter Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Long Wharf, La Jolla Playhouse, Intiman Theatre, Williamstown, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse, and Playmakers Rep, among many others. Ms. Greco directed the National Tour of Emily Mann's Having Our Say, as well as the international premiere at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa.  

Off stage, Ms. Greco is dedicated to the Bay Area community and developing the next generation of theater leaders through Making Magic: Arts and Community, which includes a decade-long robust cross-curricular partnership with Oakland's Laney College, a season-long competitive professional apprenticeship program now in its twelfth year, and multi-generational residencies throughout San Francisco's underserved Tenderloin neighborhood focusing on legacy, literacy, and performance, now in its third year.  Free Magic matinee performances can be seen at both Laney College and the Tenderloin Museum. With the generosity of developer Group i, Ms. Greco has acquired an additional flexible theater space for Magic to further serve the community due to open as part of 950-974 Market in July 2021.  

Prior to her Magic post, Greco served as Producing Artistic Director of New York's The Women's Project, where she was proud to help launch the careers of Liesl Tommy, Anne Kauffman, Lisa D'Amour, and Annie Dorsen, and as the Associate Director/Resident Producer at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton.  She received her MFA from Catholic University, her BA from Loyola University, New Orleans. She is the recipient of Bay Area Critic's Association Awards, two Drama League Fellowships, a Princess Grace Award, a Sundance/Luma Director's fellowship, and the 2018 Zelda Fichandler Award.

About Magic Theatre

Magic Theatre is dedicated to the cultivation of bold new plays, playwrights, and audiences – and to producing explosive, entertaining, and ideologically-robust plays that ask substantive questions about, and reflect the rich diversity of, the world in which we live. For 53 years, Magic's belief in supporting the writer's vision has manifested in a rigorous artistic home where a full body of work can be imagined, developed, and produced. By adding innovative, challenging new voices to the canon, Magic ensures the future vibrancy of the American theatre.

Since the company's founding in 1967 by visionary John Lion, Magic has identified and cultivated writers on the cutting edge of American theatre, serving as a vital center for the creation and performance of new American plays. The hiring of scholar Martin Esslin as the first resident dramaturg at an American theatre company had a resounding impact on the field. Beat poet-playwright Michael McClure created 22 works for Magic. Sam Shepard developed and premiered his Pulitzer Prize-winning Buried Child, True West, and Fool for Love during his decade-long Magic residency (1974-84), forever altering the shape of American drama. Paula Vogel, Soon 3, Athol Fugard, Mark O'Rowe, Nilo Cruz, Octavio Solis, Claire Chafee, Jon Robin Baitz, Anne Bogart, Stephen Belber, Basil Twist, Rebecca Gilman, and many others also called Magic home through the 1990s and 2000s.

Since Loretta Greco assumed leadership 2008, 21 of Magic's 26 most recent world premieres have received between 2 and 72 subsequent productions throughout the United States and beyond – in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Ashland, Seattle, Portland, Tucson, Minneapolis, Williamstown, Nashville, Boulder, and San Diego as well as Winnipeg, Vancouver, Edmonton, London, and Sydney, and in translation in Seoul and Manila. In New York City alone, Magic premieres from the past decade have gone to The New Group, The Vineyard, Ma-Yi, INTAR, The Play Company, Playwrights Horizons, and The Public Theater.

Magic remains a national leader in new play development through Greco's commitment to a core group of writers as they build their groundbreaking bodies of work. These writers currently include Lloyd Suh, Taylor Mac, Linda McLean, Jessica Hagedorn, John Kolvenbach, Sharr White, Christina Anderson, Joshua Harmon, Mfoniso Udofia, Barbara Hammond, and Luis Alfaro.

Magic plays have received numerous honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, Obie Awards, Kennedy Center Awards, PEN-West Awards for Drama, Glickman Awards, Bay Area Critics Circle Awards, Los Angeles Drama-Logue Awards, and NAACP Image Awards. Magic playwrights have gone on to be recognized with MacArthur Genius Grants, Tony Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Herb Alpert Award, Drama Desk Awards, Harper Lee Awards, Academy Awards, New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, Drama League Awards, Guggenheim Fellowships, Rockefeller Grants, NEA Grants, Alfred Jarry Awards, and many more.

Beyond the walls of our San Francisco performance space, Magic conducts a robust educational program, Making Magic: Arts and Community. A cornerstone of the program is Magic's more-than- decade-long partnership with Oakland's Laney College, which establishes a bridge between the college theater curriculum and professional theater practice: Laney students attend designer presentations, rehearsals, and performances at Magic, and Magic playwrights and directors visit Laney classrooms to discuss play content and production. Each Magic production is presented at a free matinee performance at Laney that is open to the community. Since 2018, Making Magic has also worked in partnership with Tenderloin Elementary School, Southeast Asian Development Center, Code Tenderloin, Antonia Manor, and Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, extending the program's reach to engage underserved community members of all ages with curriculum that centers around mindfulness, self- esteem, legacy, literacy, writing, and performance. More recently, Magic has added community performances of both main stage productions and additional plays in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood, at Exit Theatre and the Tenderloin Museum, expanding access to Magic's artistic programming.

Ms. Greco recently announced her departure from Magic Theatre at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 season. A search committee is currently being formed to find a new Artistic Director. 

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