Every Spring, Working Theater hosts a gala event honoring a few extraordinary New Yorkers for bridging the gap between the arts, labor and community. This inspiring evening consists of a cocktail reception, live entertainment, dinner and a ceremony honoring those individuals whose work embodies the values and mission of Working Theater.
2017: Vincent Alvarez, President, New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
2016: Edison Severino, Business Manager, LiUNA Local 78
2015: Stuart Appelbaum,
EVP, United Food & Commercial Workers; President, Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, UFCW
2014: Peter Ward, President, New York Hotel Trades Council Joseph Berardo, CEO and President, MagnaCare
2013: Michael Mulgrew, President, United Federation of Teachers
2012: Mike Fishman, President, 32BJ SEIU
2011: George Gresham, President 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers
Chris Erikson, Business Manager, IBEW Local 3
The event was sponsored by MAGNACARE
2009: Thomas Mackell, Jr., Chairman, United Benefit & Pension Services Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director, NY Taxi Workers Alliance
2008: James Claffey, Jr., President, Local One I.A.T.S.E. Tom Viola, Executive Director, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Joseph Benincasa, Executive Director, The Actors Fund of America
Lieutenant Governor David Paterson Lillian Roberts, Executive Director, District Council 37 Gordon Parks, with a special tribute to his life and art
The 2007 event, A Salute to Mine Workers, celebrated the tremendous contributions mine workers have made to culture, industry, and workers rights. The evening’s festivities featured irresistible bluegrass, roots and country music inspired by the lives of miners from Appalachia, the Ozarks, and beyond! Daniel Kane of the United Mine Workers of America spoke at the event.
Barbara Bowen, President, Professional Staff Congress Lois Gray, Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations Stanley Plesent, Partner, Hogan and Hartson
Actors Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson
Labor Off-Broadway featured a special performance of Mike Batistick’s Port Authority Throw Down and was followed by dinner at Colors, Manhattan’s first cooperatively-owned restaurant.
2005: Esther Cohen, Executive Director, Bread and Roses Betsy Gotbaum, Public Advocate for the City of New York Patrick Quinn, Actor and National President, Actors’ Equity Association Tony Watson, Chairman and CEO, HIP Health Plan
Lewis Black headlined an evening of comedy and music, which featured legendary singer/songwriter Phoebe Snow, and was hosted by Tony-nominated actor Lee Wilkof.
2004: Mitra Behroozi, Executive Director, 1199/SEIU National Benefit and Pension Funds C. Virginia Fields, Manhattan Borough President Randi Weingarten, President, United Federation of Teachers William Wise, Actor, Original Working Theater Member
2003: Michael Goodwin, International President, OPEIU Bill Perkins, New York City Council Deputy Majority Leader Susan Sarandon, Actor Eleanor Tilson, Executive Director, Local 1199 SEIU National Benefit and Pension Fund
2002: Jose M. Serrano, Council Member Hector Figueroa, Secretary-Treasurer, Building Services Local 32B-32J Sylvia Gutierrez-Grant, Local 1199/SEIU Ronald Luraschi, Amalgamated Bank
2001: Kathleen Hughes, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Roger Toussaint, Transport Workers Local 100 Jonathan Parker, The Segal Company Jorge Ortoll and Ralph Peña, Ma-Yi Theatre Company
A Tribute to Yip Harburg was presented in partnership with the Harburg Foundation to celebrate the life and music of this remarkable lyricist and activist. He was known as “the social conscience of Broadway” and penned such classics as Brother Can You Spare A Dime, the songs of The Wizard of Oz, and Finnian’s Rainbow.
2000: Hon. Christine Quinn, Council Member, City of New York Denis Hughes, President, New York State AFL-CIO Arthur French, Actor
1999: Hon. Ronnie Eldridge, Council Member, City of New York Ernesto Jofre, Manager, Local 169 UNITE Peter Caponi, Director, Audience Extras Martin Luther King Jr. Award:Moe Foner, Executive Director, Bread and Roses Project (Local 1199 National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees) Theatre in the Schools Award:Vanguard High School, Louis Delgado, Principal and School for the Physical City, Mark Weiss, Principal Special Award:Bernie Minter, Rank and File Member, Local 1199
1998: Hon. Jerrold Nadler, Member of Congress (NY), House of Representatives Eugene Eisner, Esq., Eisner & Hubbard OyamO, Playwright Sanford Meisner Service Award: Wynn Handman, Artistic Director, American Place Theater
1997: Hon. Thomas Duane, Council Member, City of New York Josie McMillian, President, New York Metro Area Postal Workers Union Thomas I. Acosta, Senior Vice President, Smith-Barney Investment Advisors André de Shields, Actor Sanford Meisner Service Award:Virginia Louloudes, Executive Director, Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY
1994 (April): Arthur Cheliotes, President, Local 1180 Communications Workers of America Martin Luther King Jr. Award:Don Kao, President, Committee Opposed to Violence Against Asian Americans
1994 (December): Dolores Huerta, Vice President, United Farm Workers of America Martin Luther King Jr. Award: Reverend David Dyson, Pastor, Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn NY
1993: Martin Luther King Jr. Award:Charles Ensley, President, Local 371, District Council 37, AFSCME
1992 John Sayles, Actor, Producer, Director and Playwright Woody King, Jr., Artistic Director, New Federal Theatre Lino Brocka, Director and Producer, Film and Theatre (in memorium)
1991 John Randolph, Actor Barbara Koppel, Film maker