Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of OUR TOWN at Ford's Theatre on Feb 4

January 24, 2013



FEBRUARY 4, 2012


Evening to include readings of Wilder's drama, fiction and
letters, film tribute and more

Washington, D.C.-- The Thornton Wilder Society, The Wilder Family and Ford's Theatre Society present the Official 75thAnniversary Celebration of Our Town on February 4, 2013, to commemorate the 1938 Broadway opening of Our Town. This special evening at Ford's Theatre (511 Tenth Street NW) includes selections from Thornton Wilder's works and letters read by leading Washington, D.C. area actors, the premiere of a short film about the play's enduring power titled In Our Living and Our Dying, and the presentation of the Thornton Wilder Prize to former National Endowment of the Arts chairman Rocco Landesman. The event does not include a performance of Our Town.

"The Ford's Theatre Society is honored to commemorate Our Town's 75th anniversary with a series of events, including the presentation of the Thornton Wilder Prize on February 4, 2013," said Ford's Theatre Director Paul R. Tetreault. "This special evening will be a wonderful capstone event that, in connection with performances of Our Town through February 24, will celebrate Wilder's influence on American theatre."

"Rocco Landesman's efforts as a producer, educator, and tireless advocate for the relationships between America's commercial and non-profit theaters have had a major impact on communities across the U.S., and we are delighted to present him with the Thornton Wilder Prize," said Tappan Wilder, Thornton Wilder's nephew and literary executor.

"We are particularly pleased to spotlight Rocco Landesman's efforts to establish the Our Town arts grants under his chairmanship at the NEA, which created a platform for rejuvenating communities with a collective focus on arts and cultural activities," said Jackson Bryer, President of the Thornton Wilder Society.

Tickets to this special evening at Ford's Theatre are free but required and may be reserved online at www.fords.org or through Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787 (Ticketmaster fees apply).

Rocco Landesman
Rocco Landesman was chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2009 through 2012. He earned a doctorate in Dramatic Literature at the Yale School of Drama, where he taught for four years. He left Yale to start a private investment fund and then became president of Jujamcyn, a company that owns and operates five Broadway theaters, as well as the producer behind such hits as Big River, Angels in America and The Producers. Landesman is married to Debby Landesman, a philanthropic consultant. He has three sons: North, Nash and Dodge.

Thornton Wilder Prize
The Thornton Wilder Prize is given by the Thornton Wilder Society every two years to an individual in the arts who practices their calling with the distinction, devotion and zest that characterized the artist for whom the Prize is named. The award came about through the generous gift to the Thornton Wilder Society from a devoted friend of Thornton Wilder, June Trolley, in memory of her late husband, Edward. Inaugurated in 2008, the Prize was given in that year to the distinguished American writer Russell Banks; and in 2010 the recipient was award-winning journalist Robert MacNeil.

In Our Living and Our Dying: Our Town in the 21st Century
Directed by Mark Blankenship
After 75 years, Thornton Wilder's Our Town is still one of the most prominent plays in the American theatre. But why? Exploring the play's legacy, In Our Living and Our Dying features a remarkable group of artists, scholars and theater fans, including actor Eric Stoltz, director Gregory Mosher, playwright Will Eno and translator Julie Vatain. These "Wilderians" challenge assumptions about the play's content, define its theatrical genius, and reveal how it changed their private lives. They also deliver surprising performances of their favorite scenes.

Ford's Theatre Society Our Town Events
Ford's Theatre celebrates the 75th anniversary of Our Town with:
• Mainstage production of Our Town directed by Stephen Rayne; running January 25-February 24
• Reading of Wilder One-Acts; February 11
• Our Town Seminar with Tappan Wilder and Penelope Niven; February 12

The Thornton Wilder Society
The Thornton Wilder Society, headquartered at The College of New Jersey, is a non-profit organization of interest to all who love Wilder, his work, and his belief in the importance of art as a sustaining influence in the world. Scholars, critics, educators, theatrical professionals and amateurs, and fans of Wilder's writing from all over the world comprise its membership.

The Wilder Family LLC, Tappan Wilder Managing Member
As managing Member of the Wilder Family LLC, Tappan Wilder speaks widely about his uncle's life and work. He has contributed afterwords to the nine-volume HarperCollins re-issue of Thornton Wilder's novels and major plays, and served as advisor on such projects as editions of Wilder's selected letters, short plays, the definitive acting edition of Our Town (Samuel French, 2013), and the operatic version of Our Town. He is especially proud of assistance given to Penelope Niven, author of Thornton Wilder: A Life, a biography published by HarperCollins in 2012. He is a member of Pen-American Center, a Trustee of the Yale Library Associates, and an honorary trustee of Long Wharf Theatre (New Haven).

Ford's Theatre Society
Since reopening in 1968, more than a hundred years after President Abraham Lincoln's assassination, Ford's Theatre has celebrated Lincoln's legacy and explored the American experience through theatre and education. Under the leadership of Director Paul R. Tetreault, Ford's Theatre has been recognized for the superior quality of its artistic programming. With works from the nationally acclaimed Big River to the world premieres of Meet John Doe, The Heavens Are Hung In Black, Liberty Smith and Necessary Sacrifices, Ford's Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape. For its accomplishment, the organization was honored in 2008 with the National Medal of Arts. For more information, visit www.fords.org.

For more information on the Thornton Wilder Society, visit www.twildersociety.org

For more information on the Ford's Theatre Society, visit www.fords.org

Our Town 75th Anniversary Events

Our Town 75th Anniversary Events
Our Town 75th Anniversary Events
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