Every Spring, Working Theater hosts the Bridge Awards and Benefit honoring 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.

Check out our most recent Benefit Journal below, and scroll down to learn more about past honorees.



Mark Henry, International Vice President of Amalgamated Transit Union
Yanira Merino, President of Labor Council for Latin American Advancement


Gloria Middleton, President of Local 1180 of Communications Workers of America Local 1180 President
John Samuelsen, International President of Transport Workers Union


Mario Cilento, President of New York State AFL-CIO


Kyle Bragg, President 32BJ SEIU

Janella Hinds,VP, United Federation of Teachers, Secretary/Treasurer, NYC Central Labor Council
Roberta Reardon, Commissioner, New York State Department of Labor
Tamilla Woodard, Associate Artistic Director of WP Theater, co-founder, PopUP Theatrics, Artistic Director, Working Theater’s Five Boroughs/One City Initiative

Gary LaBarbera, President, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater NY

Vincent Alvarez, President, New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Edison Severino, Business Manager, LiUNA Local 78

Stuart Appelbaum, EVP, United Food & Commercial Workers; President, Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, UFCW

Peter Ward, President, New York Hotel Trades Council Joseph Berardo, CEO and President, MagnaCare

Michael Mulgrew, President, United Federation of Teachers

Mike Fishman, President, 32BJ SEIU

George Gresham, President 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers

Chris Erikson, Business Manager, IBEW Local 3
This event was sponsored by MAGNACARE

Thomas Mackell, Jr., Chairman, United Benefit & Pension Services
Bhairavi Desai, Executive Director, NY Taxi Workers Alliance

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.

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.

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

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

Jose M. Serrano, Council Member
Hector Figueroa, Secretary-Treasurer, Building Services Local 32B-32J
Sylvia Gutierrez-Grant, Local 1199/SEIU
Ronald Luraschi, Amalgamated Bank

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.

Hon. Christine Quinn, Council Member, City of New York
Denis Hughes, President, New York State AFL-CIO
Arthur French, Actor

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

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

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

Martin Luther King Jr. Award: Charles Ensley, President, Local 371, District Council 37, AFSCME

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)

John Randolph, Actor Barbara Koppel, Film maker