2021 Bridge Awards and Benefit 

June 17, 6:30pm ET

Join us for Working Theater’s 2021 Bridge Awards and Benefit honoring Mario CilentoPresident of the New York State AFL-CIO. A longtime friend of Working Theater, Mario’s dedication to the people who make up our workforce exemplifies our mission to champion working people’s voices and bridge the gap between the arts, labor and community.

This one hour event will benefit Working Theater’s 36th Season of creating theater for, about and with working people, and will include musical performances from Working Theater Alum, special raffles, tributes giving voice to essential workers in New York and much more.

Tickets are available on a sliding scale to accommodate access for everyone who would like to attend. 

Benefit Journal


Meet the Honoree and Hosts 

Mario Cilento has a long history of fighting for working men and women. His work at the New York State AFL- CIO began in 1992; he was elected president in 2011. Under his leadership, the New York State AFL-CIO has secured several protections for workers across New York State in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Janus v AFSCME, including preserving a public employee’s right to join a union and protecting their rights after they have joined. Additional legislative victories include: historic labor standards on renewable energy projects, labor peace as an ongoing condition of licensure for adult-use cannabis, additional funding for the Child Care Facilitated Enrollment program, the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act which gives farmworkers labor rights including the right to organize, a mandatory day of rest, and the right to overtime pay; the ground-breaking Paid Family Leave legislation; a $15 per hour minimum wage; the permanent reauthorizations of the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund to aid the thousands of brave men and women who risked their own lives to help in the rescue and recovery after 9/11; the first increase in unemployment benefits in 14 years with historic indexation; a 50 percent boost in the minimum workers’ compensation benefit; and passage of the Safe Patient Handling Act. President Cilento graduated from Fordham University in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science Degree.

Kevin R. Free is delighted to be at The Working Theater again, after MCing last year’s Gala with Reynaldo! He is an award-winning audiobook narrator and an all-around artist person whose work as a director, producer, actor and playwright have been developed in many places. Most recently, he directed Azure D. Osborne-Lee’s new play, Red Rainbow, commissioned by Waterwell at PPAS; and (following in Tamilla Woodard’s footsteps), he directed Donnetta Lavinia Grays’s Where We Stand at Portland Stage. So much more at kevinrfree.com and on Instagram and Twitter: @kevinrfree.

Reynaldo Piniella was previously seen Off-Broadway in The Death of the Last Black Man…, Venus (Signature), The Skin of Our Teeth (TFANA), Lockdown (Rattlestick), The Space Between the Letters (The Public/UTR), Terminus (NYTW Next Door) and The Best of Theatreworks (Working Theater). Regional work includes Baltimore Center Stage, Syracuse Stage, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and the Sundance Theater Lab. TV credits include Blue Bloods, Sneaky Pete, Flesh & Bone, Greenleaf, The Carrie Diaries, Law & Order: SVU, NYC 22, Us & Them, Louie and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Film credits include Madeline’s Madeline, Shadows, One Percent More Humid and Broken City. He has received fellowships from TCG, NALAC, Weeksville Heritage Center and the All Stars Project. Follow him @ReynaldoRey. www.reynaldopiniella.com

Thank you to 2021 Bridge Awards & Benefit Event Sponsors

Belluck & Fox LLP
Barnes, Iaccarino & Shepherd LLP
Stawski Partners
United Federation of Teachers

Deepest thanks to our 36th Season Supporters

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New York Theater Program in partnership with the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York

The Howard Gilman Foundation

The One World Fund

The New York Community Trust

The Shubert Foundation

Alan and Elaine Weiler, in memory of Mark Plesent

the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature

public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, with special thanks to Queens Council Member Rory Lancman



Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Archer, Byington, Glennon & Levine LLP
CWA Local 1180
The Segal Company



About the Annual Awards Ceremony

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, entertainment, dinner and a ceremony honoring those individuals whose work embodies the values and mission of Working Theater.

Click here to view past honorees