Tony winner Lena Hall, plus icons of Brooklyn’s new century highlight St. Ann’s Warehouse gala
On the first Monday in June, St. Ann’s Warehouse will bring together, within its historic walls, some of the most iconic and transformative forces of Brooklyn in the new century.
The modern, cutting-edge theatre, built within the preserved walls of a 19th-century tobacco warehouse, and sitting within a stone’s toss of the Brooklyn Bridge, will stage its 2017 Gala at 45 Water St.
Two world-famous icons associated with Brooklyn — Michael (Buzzy) O’Keeffe, founder of the River Café, and Steve Hindy, founder of Brooklyn Brewery, will be honored as pioneers whose vision, perseverance and dedication to excellence created internationally hailed brands tied to Brooklyn.
A special concert created for the occasion by Lena Hall, Tony award-winner and Grammy nominee, will be the highlight entertainment of the evening.
The evening will also pay unofficial homage to St. Ann’s Warehouse founder Susan Feldman. She has produced cutting-edge theatre arts in settings that, since 1980, have enhanced performance spaces and paved the way for significant historic preservation. The permanent home of St. Ann’s Warehouse Theatre is within the walls of a preserved 19th-century tobacco warehouse that sits adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge Tower.
St. Ann’s Warehouse might not have had a permanent home without the work of Brooklyn’s unofficial “First Couple” of the new century, Joe and Diane Steinberg. Together the Steinbergs have empowered more positive changes in arts, science and social services than any other private individuals — often behind the scenes. Joe Steinberg, chairman of St. Ann’s Warehouse, and Adam Max, the new chairman of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), have continued the long-standing devotion to Brooklyn arts institutions that outgoing BAM chairman Alan Fishman and his wife Judy, fostered for many decades.
The gala on June 5 will begin at 6:15 p.m. with cocktails on the waterfront and in the Max Family Garden, followed at 7:45 p.m. with the concert and a family-style dinner in the Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Theater.
Hall’s performance will celebrate the power of art in turbulent times, with music by Janis Joplin, Radiohead, Talking Heads and more. The concert is a singular opportunity to experience the rare combination of grit and beauty that characterizes Hall’s singing. A Tony Award-winner for her critically acclaimed performance as Yitzhak in the hit 2014 Broadway revival of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” Hall is currently starring, to rave reviews, in Sarah Ruhl’s “How to Transcend a Happy Marriage” at Lincoln Center Theater. She recently portrayed both roles of Hedwig and Yitzhak in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” in Los Angeles (LA Drama Critics Circle nomination) and San Francisco, and toured the U.S. and Canada as part of Josh Groban’s “Stages” tour. She also starred as Nicola in Tony Award-winning musical “Kinky Boots,” and has appeared on HBO’s “Girls” and Amazon Prime’s “Good Girls Revolt,” among other TV shows and films. Her solo album “Sin & Salvation: Live at the Carlyle” is available on iTunes.
Michael “Buzzy” O’Keeffe set out to build a restaurant on the East River waterfront that would combine three of his avocations: building, food and being by the water. In 1977, after 12 years of lengthy negotiations with New York City, he succeeded with his outstanding barge restaurant, The River Café, the first establishment to make DUMBO a destination. From the beginning, O’Keeffe has insisted that The River Café sources only the finest ingredients available, setting the bar for culinary excellence on the East Coast and far beyond. The Brooklyn landmark celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
Steve Hindy began brewing beer in his Park Slope home after leaving his post as a Middle East Correspondent for the Associated Press. After founding Brooklyn Brewery in 1987, Hindy eschewed traditional marketing and instead donated beer to arts, music and community organizations throughout the city. As a result, Williamsburg flourished around him, and today Brooklyn Brewery thrives, spreading the beer and the brand all over the world as a beacon of Brooklyn’s renaissance.
St. Ann’s Warehouse plays a vital role on the global cultural landscape as an American artistic home for international companies of distinction, American avant-garde masters and talented emerging artists ready to work on a grand scale. St. Ann’s signature flexible, open space allows artists to stretch, both literally and imaginatively, enabling them to approach work with unfettered creativity, knowing that the theater can be adapted in multiple configurations to suit their needs.
In the heart of Brooklyn Bridge Park, St. Ann’s Warehouse has designed an award-winning, spectacular waterfront theater that opened in October 2015. The new theater offers St. Ann’s signature versatility and grandeur on an amplified scale while respecting the walls of the original 1860’s Tobacco Warehouse. In addition to the flexible Steinberg Theater, the building complex includes a second space, a studio, for St. Ann’s Puppet Lab, smaller-scale events and community uses, and The Max Family Garden, designed by landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and open to Brooklyn Bridge Park visitors during park hours.
Susan Feldman founded Arts at St. Ann’s (now St. Ann’s Warehouse) in 1980 as part of the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s campaign to save the National Historic Landmark Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. For 21 years, St. Ann’s presented a decidedly eclectic array of concert and theatrical performances in the church sanctuary.
From Fall 2001 through the 2014-15 season, the organization activated found warehouses in DUMBO with the world’s most imaginative theater- and music-makers, helping to make the burgeoning neighborhood a destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike. After 12 years (2001-2012) at 38 Water St., St. Ann’s transformed a second raw space at 29 Jay St., turning it into an interim home for three years (2012-2015) while the organization adapted the then-roofless Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park into the new St. Ann’s Warehouse.
The new St. Ann’s Warehouse retains the best of its past homes: the sense of sacred space from the organization’s original home in the church, and the vastness and endless capacity for reconfiguration artists have harnessed in St. Ann’s temporary warehouses in DUMBO.
For more information, visit stannswarehouse.org.
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