2024 Bridge Awards and Benefit

Monday, June 3, 2024 at 6pm
The Manhattan Penthouse
80 Fifth Avenue, E 14th St, New York, NY 10011

Join us for an unforgettable evening as we celebrate the remarkable achievements of the extraordinary individuals and organizations dedicated to advancing labor rights. At the 2024 Bridge Awards and Benefit, we are honored to recognize SAG-AFTRA, represented by Rebecca Damon (Executive Director of the New York Local, Labor Policy, and International Affairs for SAG-AFTRA), for summer strike efforts in 2023 which achieved historic victories for their members, and Michelle Zettergren (President of Labor and Public Sector at MagnaCare), for her sustained commitment to innovative and collaborative partnerships that serve working people. Their tireless efforts have made a profound impact on the lives of countless workers, and we are privileged to recognize their contributions. Join us in celebrating their inspiring leadership and unwavering commitment to bridging the gap between the arts, labor, and community.

This event will benefit Working Theater’s 39th Season of creating theater for, about, and with working people, hosted by Kevin R. Free and Reynaldo Piniella and will include a cocktail reception, dinner, performances from Adam Kantor and Barry Ó Séanáin, silent auction, and much more. 

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The deadline to purchase tables and tickets is May 28, 2024

Meet the Honorees

SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals.

SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. With national offices in Los Angeles and New York, and local offices nationwide, SAG-AFTRA members work together to secure the strongest protections for media artists into the 21st century and beyond.

Rebecca Damon is Executive Director, New York Local, Labor Policy and International Affairs for SAG-AFTRA. A champion for workers’ rights, Damon’s leadership includes strengthening New York’s right of publicity and digital image rights for the benefit of all members. She has been recognized five years in a row as one of the most noteworthy figures on the front lines of New York by City and State Labor Power 100, and was named to the City and State 2023 Power of Diversity: Women 100 list. In 2018, Damon was honored with the New York LaborPress Leadership Award for her outstanding advocacy on behalf of SAG-AFTRA members and her long standing dedication and support of the labor movement. Additionally, she was a recipient of the Irish Echo Connecting America Award, the Leaders of Labor Award, the SAG-AFTRA George Heller Memorial Award gold card, and SAG-AFTRA New York Local’s Joseph C. Riley Award.

Damon served as executive vice president, the union’s second-highest elected national office, and also served as president of the New York Local. She is a fierce advocate for education and empowerment of performers nationwide. During her tenure as Screen Actors Guild New York Division Vice President, she was a founding member of both the SAG President’s Forum for One Union and the joint Group for One Union, helping lead the effort to unite SAG and AFTRA. As co-leader of the Operations Workgroup, Damon was a key architect of the merger. 

Outside of SAG-AFTRA, Damon advocates for workers’ rights as a vice president of the New York State AFL-CIO Executive Council and a member of the New York City Central Labor Council. She is a member of the New York City Film and Television Production Industry Council advising on the city’s production policies and programs. She is on the board of PowHer NY, an inclusive statewide network committed to securing economic equality for all New York women. She is also a vice president of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, an educational, humanitarian and philanthropic nonprofit organization. As the primary liaison for Foundation programming in New York, she oversaw creation of the Robin Williams Center for Entertainment and Media in Times Square.

Michelle Zettergren joined MagnaCare in 2017, becoming the first female President in the organization’s 34-year history and part of a diverse leadership team focused on serving the needs of self-funded clients with groundbreaking products and solutions.

Since joining MagnaCare, Michelle has led initiatives that have transformed the business — including new strategic health system alliances, market leading technology, increased customer acquisition and retention, national market expansion, market-leading NPS, and enhanced Trust Fund Administrative service offerings. She has a passion for partnering with Labor Funds to build innovative, collaborative, member-focused solutions.

Michelle has also received multiple honors for her outstanding leadership, including recognitions from Crain’s Notables in Healthcare (2020, 2022 and 2023) and Power Women on Long Island (2020). She is consistently named to the City and State’s Labor Power 100 list (2019-2023) and has been honored by Schneps Media as a New York Labor Leader (2021-2023).

Michelle has over 25+ years of experience in the health insurance industry primarily focused on Labor and Public Sector. She has worked for several national and regional carriers in various leadership roles. She has completed Labor Relations training with the University of Connecticut’s Office of Labor Relations. Michelle is a certified Mediator who has consulted in numerous Labor negotiations and has served as an expert witness for Labor in several successful arbitration and mediation disputes.

Michelle has served on multiple local and national boards including the American Association of Payers, Administrators and Networks (AAPAN), Special Olympics Connecticut and she currently serves on the Board of United Way of Long Island. Michelle is routinely invited to share her insights on healthcare issues and solutions at industry events and as a guest contributor in multiple publications. Michelle holds multiple state licenses in Accident & Health.

Meet the Hosts and Performers 

Kevin R. Free is a multidisciplinary artist whose work as an actor, writer, director, and producer has been showcased and developed in many places, including The Fire This Time Festival, where he served as Producing Artistic Director for 5 years, winning an Obie for his work in 2015. He is now the Artistic Director of Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken, NJ (www.milesquaretheatre.org), where most recently he directed Berta, Berta by Angelica Cherí. Favorite Directing Credits include Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill (Peterborough Players); Pass Over (Marin Theater Company); and The Play That Goes Wrong (Portland Stage Company). He is a member of the Historic Apollo Theatre’s New Works Lab, where he is developing a solo show for André De Shields.  He was honored in 2023 by Audiofile Magazine as a Golden Voice, for his lifetime of work as an audiobook narrator. Instagram: @kevinrfree More info: www.kevinrfree.com

Reynaldo Piniella has been seen on Broadway in Trouble in Mind and Thoughts of a Colored Man. Off-Broadway: 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), Black and Blue (Ars Nova’s ANT Fest) and The Best of Theatreworks (Working Theater). TV credits include Reservation Dogs, Sneaky Pete, Law & Order: SVU, The Carrie Diaries, Flesh & Bone, Blue Bloods, Greenleaf, Louie, NYC 22, Us & Them and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. As a playwright, his work includes Black Doves (Thomas Barbour award for Playwriting), Real Life RPG (commissioned by Baltimore Center Stage, produced by San Diego Rep, Shakesqueer Theater Company and Pioneer Theater Guild), No Shade (produced by the Lee Strasberg Institute at NYU Tisch), I’m Old School (produced by Single Carrot Theater) and Black and Blue (Ars Nova’s ANT Fest.) www.reynaldopiniella.com. @ReynaldoRey

Adam Kantor won an Emmy and a Grammy for his performance in the Tony-winning production of THE BAND’S VISIT on Broadway, as well as an Outer Critics Circle honor for his performance in DARLING GRENADINE at the Roundabout. He was nominated for an LA Drama Critics Circle Award for THE INHERITANCE at The Geffen Playhouse. Previously, on Broadway, Adam starred in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, NEXT TO NORMAL, and RENT (final cast, filmed live for Sony Pictures). Off-Broadway, he starred in THE LAST FIVE YEARS at Second Stage and AVENUE Q at New World Stages. Regional highlights include Duncan Sheik and Kyle Jarrow’s NOIR at the Alley, as well as Barry Levinson and Sheryl Crow’s DINER at the Signature. On TV he was in Billions on Showtime as “Pununzio”, and The Good Wife on CBS as “Ezra”. He recently starred in the feature film Either Side Of Midnight, directed by Roger Spottiswoode. Adam is a graduate of Northwestern University and the British American Dramatic Academy.  He has been a coach for The National High School Music Theatre Awards (“The Jimmy Awards”) since 2014.  He was a co-creator of the digital special “SATURDAY NIGHT SEDER”, which raised over $4M for the CDC Foundation and was produced by his interactive experiential food/theatre company StoryCourse.  Adam has headlined concerts at Carnegie Hall as well Princeton Symphony Orchestra, among others.  @AdamJKantor on social.

Barry Ó Séanáin is an arts administrator and musician from Dublin, Ireland. He has played the saloons and speakeasies of this fine city for many years. By day he works at Irish Arts Center as a fundraiser, and by night he writes mediocre yet heart wrenching ballads about his chronic singleness.

Learn More about the history of the Bridge Awards and Benefit. 

Thank you to our 2024 Benefit Committee

Robert Arcaro*
Peter Bernstein
Peter Coen, Cigna
Mario Cilento, NYS AFL-CIO
Sony Dabao-Salvador*
Christopher Erikson,* IBEW Local 3
Michael Fina, Union Labor Advisory Network
Jordan Fox,* Belluck & Fox, LLP
Howard Goldsmith, Segal
Elise Goyette*
Alyssa Jones, Progyny
Patricia Judah Harris*
Bill Henning,* OPEIU Local 32
Janella Hinds,* NYC Central Labor Council

Earl Mathurin, RWDSU/UFSW Local 338
Roslyn Yassar*
Gloria Middleton, CWA Local 1180

Joe Morrone, MagnaCare
Sara Neier*
Christine O’Connor,* EmblemHealth
Seth Polan, Vision Screening Inc / DDS Inc
Lavender Rouzier,* MagnaCare
Hector Ruiz,* United Federation of Teachers
Faith Ryan,* Stawski Partners
John Samuelsen, Transport Workers Union
Melissa Shetler*
Jose Vargas,  LCLAA
*Member, Working Theater Board of Directors

Deepest Thanks to our 39th Season Sponsors

Working Theater is supported by generous community members like you, and major gifts from:

 Howard Gilman Foundation | The One World Fund | The Shubert Foundation | The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature  | Public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council

SEASON SPONSORS:
PLATINUM SPONSOR: MagnaCare 
GOLD SPONSORS: Cigna, EmblemHealth
SILVER SPONSORS:  Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, CWA Local 1180, NYC Central Labor Council, Segal, United Federation of Teachers, Vision Screening Inc/DDS Inc