Betty Buckley, Brian Stokes Mitchell and More Set for Theatre Forward’s 2017 Roundtable

Broadway World
January 31, 2017

Theatre Forward and UBS will host the 14th Annual Broadway Roundtable on Friday, February 3 at UBS (1285 Avenue of the Americas) from 12:00pm – 2:00pm.

Hosted by Gregory S. Hurst of UBS and moderated by Theatre Forward Executive Director Bruce E. Whitacre, the exclusive luncheon will explore the current Broadway landscape with some of Broadway’s leading players and stars, Betty Buckley, Tony Award winning actress (Cats, Carrie, M. Night Shyamalan’s Split); Kathleen Marshall, Tony Award-winning director and choreographer (In Transit, Anything Goes, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Pajama Game); Brian Stokes Mitchell, Tony Award-winning actor (Shuffle Along, Ragtime, Kiss Me, Kate, Man of La Mancha); Nelle Nugent, Tony Award-winning producer (Stick Fly, Love Letters, The Trip to Bountiful Michael Ritchie, Artistic Director of Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. ) and Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tony Award-winning actor, playwright and director (Jitney, Jelly’s Last Jam, The Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars)

The theme of this year’s roundtable focuses on the American theatre’s response to the proliferation of different voices as the demographics of our country continue to change. This panel will discuss what part the theatre is playing in representing diverse stories on the American stage and the role of theatre in advancing the dialogue in a multi-cultural society.

The Roundtable will also serve as a kick-off for the 2017 Theatre Forward Chairman’s Awards Gala, which will be held on Monday, April 3 at The Pierre Hotel.


BETTY BUCKLEY, who has been called “The Voice of Broadway,” is one of theater’s most respected and legendary leading ladies. She is an actress/singer whose career spans theater, film, television and concert halls around the world. She is currently co-starring in the new M. Night Shyamalan hit film SPLIT. She was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame for 2012. Ms. Buckley won a Tony Award for her performance in Cats. In 2014 she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for the world premiere of Horton Foote’s The Old Friends at The Signature Theatre also directed by Michael Wilson. Additional major theatre credits include Triumph of Love, (Tony nomination), Sunset Boulevard, (Olivier nomination), 1776, Pippin, Song and Dance, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Carrie and the London premiere of Dear World. TV credits include Oz for HBO, Eight is Enough and numerous guest star appearances on several series. She has received two Emmy Nominations. Buckley has appeared in films by M. Night Shyamalan, Brian De Palma, Bruce Beresford, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen and Lawrence Kasdan. A teacher of scene study and song interpretation for over 40 years, Ms. Buckley is also an accomplished concert and recording artist, has received two Grammy Nominations and released 17 CDs including Ghostlight in the Fall of 2014, produced by T Bone Burnett and her newest CD Story Songs out in February, 2017.

Brian Stokes Mitchell Dubbed “The Last Leading Man” by The New York Times, Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a long and varied career on Broadway, television and film, along with appearances in the great American concert halls. His Broadway career includes performances in Shuffle Along, Kiss Me Kate (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critic’s Circle Awards), Man of La Mancha (Tony nomination), Ragtime (Tony nomination) and King Hedley II (Tony nomination). His long television and film career goes back to Trapper John, MD, The Fresh Prince, Frasier and The Prince of Egypt to the more recent Jumping the Broom, Glee, and Madam Secretary. For the past 2 seasons he has recurring roles on The Path and the Emmy-nominated Mr. Robot. In 2006, Stokes released his acclaimed self-titled album and in 2012 he released his sophomore record, Simply Broadway which was accompanied by a U.S. tour. He is currently in the studio completing his latest album Plays With Music which will be released this fall. Stokes has been Chairman of the Board of the Actors Fund for the last 13 years and this year received the Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award for his work with that organization.

Kathleen Marshall Broadway credits include In Transit, Nice Work If You Can Get It; Anything Goes; The Pajama Game; Wonderful Town; Living on Love; Grease; Little Shop of Horrors; Follies; Seussical; Kiss me, Kate; 1776; and Swinging on a Star. Off Broadway and Regional: Two Gentleman of Verona (NYSF); Saturday Night (Second Stage); Love’s Labor’s Lost (Old Globe); My Paris (Long Wharf), Ever After (Paper Mill); Diner(Signature Theatre); The Unsinkable Molly Brown (Denver Center Theatre); The Band Wagon, I’m Getting my Act Together…, Bells are Ringing, Carnival, and Babes in Arms (City Center Encores). TV: “Once Upon a Mattress”, “The Music Man” (Emmy Nomination), and “2 Broke Girls”. She has received 3 Tony Awards ( out of nine nominations), three Drama Desk Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Astaire Award, the George Abbott Award, the Smith College Medal (her alma mater), and the Pennsylvania Governors Award for the Arts. She is a member of the Executive Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Nelle Nugent Sixty- plus productions on B’way, touring, Off-B’way and West End including Dracula, The Elephant Man, Morning’s at Seven, Mass Appeal, Amadeus, Nicholas Nickleby, Sly Fox (revival), American Buffalo (revival), Little House on the Prairie, Time Stands Still, Ghetto Klown, Stick Fly, The Trip to Bountiful (revival), Love Letters (revival) re-opening in the UK, fall 2017 Professional Awards include five Tonys, two Obies, two NY Drama Critics Awards, numerous film/TV awards. Ms. Nugent is co-founder of the Producers Guild of America, East and a member of the Broadway League. She has lectured at major colleges and universities in the US and has been Assistant Professor at NYU’s School of Continuing a Professional Studies. She is currently producing the first revival of M. Butterfly, directed by Julie Taymor and starring Clive Owen for Fall, 2017 on Broadway.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson Tony and Obie Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson recently directed August Wilson’s Jitney for Broadway that opened January 19, 2017 to rave reviews. He also directed the World Premieres of Dominique Morriseau’s Skeleton Crew at The Atlantic Theater and Paradise Blue at The Willamstown Theater Festival. Mr. Santiago-Hudson won a Tony when he starred in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars on Broadway and later went on to direct the play himself to high appraise. Other directing credits include, The Piano Lesson, The First Breeze of Summer, Cabin in the Sky and many more. The multi-award winning director and actor wrote, executive produced and starred in the HBO film Lackawanna Blues based on his award winning play. It received several honors including Emmy, Golden Globe, Humanitas, National Board of Review and Christopher Awards. Ruben stars alongside Anika Noni Rose in BET’s new drama The Quad premiering in January 31, 2017. Santiago-Hudson recurs on Showtime’s Billions and recently starred in TNT’s Public Morals. The Lackawanna, NY native opened The Ruben Santiago-Hudson Fine Arts Learning Center in 2014 in his hometown.

Michael Ritchie is in his 11th season as Center Theatre Group’s Artistic Director, and has led over 190 productions to the Ahmanson, Taper and Douglas stages since his arrival in 2005. From 1996 to 2004 Michael was the Producer of the Williamstown Theatre Festival and prior to that he was a Production Stage Manager in NYC. At CTG, he premiered six musicals that moved to Broadway – The Drowsy Chaperone (which won

13 Tony Award nominations), Curtains (eight Tony nominations) 13, 9 to 5: The Musical, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Leap of Faith. He has produced 40 world premieres including the musicals Minsky’s, Venice and Sleeping Beauty Wakes, and the plays Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (a Pulitzer Prize finalist that also moved to Broadway), Water & Power and Yellow Face, and he presented a broad range of plays and musicals ranging from Dead End to The Black Rider to Edward Scissorhands to blockbusters such as God of Carnage, Mary Poppins, Jersey Boys and August: Osage County. In addition, Michael inaugurated CTG’s New Play Production Program, designed to foster the development and production of new work.

Bruce E. Whitacre Since joining Theatre Forward, then known as National Corporate Theatre Fund as Executive Director in 2002, Whitacre has expanded theatre access programs on Broadway and across the country, managed a successful sponsorship program that has brought over $15 million in benefits to theatres, including media, luxury goods and financial services partnerships. Theatre Forward, which represents 19 outstanding resident theatres and is supported by over 40 corporations and firms, forges strong and productive partnerships between the not-for-profit theatre community and corporations, foundations and philanthropists.. Media partnerships with Clear Channel,, USA Today and Ovation TV, and technology programs through Sharp and Cisco have brought visibility and technology to theatres. Theatre Forward’s concluded Impact Creativity, was a campaign to sustain and grow theatre education programs that improve workforce preparedness. The effort was supported by The Hearst Foundations, Ernst & Young and Wells Fargo, among others. In 2016, Theatre Forward launched Staging Success, measuring the outcome of arts engagement for at risk young adults in four cities, this effort is supported by AT&T.

Prior to Theatre Forward, Whitacre was Managing Director of New York’s Signature Theatre Company for four seasons. He began his career in theatre in the Script Department of Manhattan Theatre Club, and he has been a dramaturg at the Mark Taper Forum, ASK Theatre Projects, and other venues. His corporate experience includes accounting, budgeting and administration in the publishing and banking industries, as well as a three-year stint with the United Nations World Food Programme in Rome, Italy. He holds an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a BS in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Theatre Forward is devoted to advancing the American theatre and its communities by providing funding and other resources to the country’s leading nonprofit theatres. Through this network of funders and regional theatres, Theatre Forward aims to increase access and opportunity for all to experience theatre that builds community and sets the stage for individual achievement by advancing strong theatre and educating through theatre.

Theatre Forward is an association of institutional nonprofit theatres located in 19 cities across the country.

Theatre Forward, formerly National Corporate Theatre Fund, was created in 1977 by our 10 founding member theatres. Today, Theatre Forward theatres include The Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alley Theatre, ALLIANCE THEATRE, American Conservatory Theater, American Repertory Theater, Arena Stage, Center Theatre Group, Cleveland Play House, Dallas Theater Center, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Goodman Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Hartford Stage, Long Warf Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, The Old Globe, Seattle Repertory Theatre and Trinity Repertory Company, and Walnut Street Theatre.