Margo LionThe Vineyard Theatre (Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern, Executive Producer Jennifer Garvey-Blackwell) today announced that their 2015 Gala will honor Tony Award-winning producer Margo Lion.  The annual Gala Fundraiser will take place on Monday, March 30th, 2015, beginning at 6:30pm, at Edison Ballroom (240 West 47th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue).  John Waters (Hairspray, Cry Baby) will host the Gala show.

The Gala performance will be directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Hedwig, Spring Awakening, upcoming at Vineyard Theatre: Brooklynite). Performers will be announced at a later date.

Vineyard board member and award-winning actress Kathleen Chalfant (Vineyard’s Somewhere Fun, Wit, Angels in America) and producer Amanda Lipitz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Legally Blonde The Musical) are the Gala Co-Chairs.

About the evening, Ms. Stern says, “We have long admired what Margo has accomplished in the theatre; from JELLY’S LAST JAM to ANGELS IN AMERICA to HAIRSPRAY, and many more, she has been responsible for bringing some of the most groundbreaking plays and musicals of the past three decades to the stage. We are delighted to be celebrating her in what promises to be a very fun evening, featuring renowned artists and collaborators from the extraordinary works she has produced.”

Margo Lion spent her first 18 years in Baltimore, Maryland. During and after college (Mills College and a B.A. from George Washington University), Lion worked in politics, first on Capitol Hill for Senator Daniel B. Brewster (D-Maryland) and then for Senator Robert F. Kennedy in his New York office. Following Senator Kennedy’s death she taught school for six years. After spending three years at the University of Iowa’s Playwrights Workshop where her former husband, Ted Nemeth, was a graduate student, Lion’s focus turned from education to her earlier interest in theater. In 1977 she determined to become a theater producer. Her cousin, MacArthur Award recipient and director/choreographer Martha Clarke, introduced Lion to Lyn Austin from whom she learned the ropes with Austin’s not-for-profit company, Music-Theater Group/Lenox Arts Center. Lion made the move to commercial theater in 1982 bringing with her the idea for a show about Jelly Roll Morton and the origins of jazz; ten years later, that show became the Broadway musical, Jellys Last Jam. Lion is an adjunct professor and a member of the Dean’s Council at the NYU Tisch School for the Arts. She serves on the Board of Directors of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and on the advisory boards of the Baltimore Young Women’s Leadership School, The Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, and PUBLICOLOR. In 2009 Margo Lion was selected by President Barack Obama to co-chair the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, a position she continues to hold at this date. Lion’s productions have garnered 20 Tony Awards, 4 Olivier Awards and 1 Pulitzer Prize. Following the opening of Hairspray, she was awarded the key to the city of Baltimore by then Mayor, Martin O’Malley.  Margo Lion has one son, Matthew Nemeth who is married to Tricia Kissinger, and two granddaughters, Caroline and Catherine. Both Matthew and Tricia work at the New York Federal Reserve.

John Waters has written and directed sixteen movies including Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Hairspray, Cry Baby, Serial Mom and A Dirty Shame. He is a photographer whose work has been shown in galleries all over the world and the author of seven books: Shock Value, Crackpot, Pink Flamingos and Other Trash, Hairspray, Female Trouble and Multiple Maniacs, and Art: A Sex Book (co-written with Bruce Hainley) and Role Models. Waters’ book, Carsick, which chronicles his hitchhiking adventure across the United States in May of 2012 was published in June, 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and appeared on bestseller lists for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Denver Post and The Boston Globe. John Waters is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is on The Wexner Center International Arts Advisory Council. Additionally, he is a past member of the boards of The Andy Warhol Foundation and Printed Matter and was selected as a juror for the 2011 Venice Biennale. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Maryland Film Festival and has been a key participant in the Provincetown International Film Festival since it began in 1999, the same year Waters was honored as the first recipient of PIFF’s “Filmmaker on the Edge” award. In September, 2014, Film Society of Lincoln Center honored John Waters’ fifty years in filmmaking with a 10-day celebration entitled “Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take” featuring a complete retrospective of his film work.

Michael Mayer (Director) is currently represented on Broadway with Hedwig And the Angry Inch. He received the 2007 Tony Award, as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his production of Spring Awakening, which also played in London, Vienna, Tokyo, and Seoul. His other Broadway credits include: On A Clear Day You Can See Forever; Everyday Rapture; American Idiot (for which he won the Drama Desk Award for Direction); Side Man (Tony Award/Best Play); Thoroughly Modern Millie (Tony Award/Best Musical); A View from the Bridge (Tony Award/Best Revival); Uncle Vanya; ‘night, Mother; After the Fall; Youre a Good Man, Charlie Brown; and Triumph of Love. National Tours: Angels in America; Thoroughly Modern Millie; Spring Awakening; Charlie Brown; and American Idiot. Feature films: A Home at the End of the World and Flicka. Television credits include: Smash (Pilot) and Alpha House for Amazon Prime. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut with a celebrated new production of Rigoletto.

The Vineyard’s Gala event will include a cocktail hour and auction, dinner, and the performance. Tables are $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, and individual tickets are $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000. Tickets can be purchased by emailing or calling 212/353-3366, ext. 242.

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