Laura Benanti, Celia Keenan-Bolger lead the New 42 virtual gala

Laura Benanti, Celia Keenan-Bolger lead the New 42 virtual gala

The New 42 virtual gala benefits the nonprofit’s beloved New 42nd Street Studios and New Victory Theater

Broadway stars Laura Benanti and Celia Keenan-Bolger are united to host a virtual gala for New 42, the nonprofit established to revitalize a swath of 42nd Street in New York City’s theater district.

Comprising performances and special appearances, the online-only event will stream June 1 at 5:30 p.m. and is free to the public to wach live. New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Broadway favorites John Lithgow, Raúl Esparza, Elizabeth Stanley, Rebecca Taichman and Sonya Tayeh are slated to appear.

Erika Henningsen (“Mean Girls”), Adrianna Hicks (“Six”), Emmy Raver-Lampman (“Gun & Power”) and Solea Pfeiffer (“Gun & Powder”) will perform.

“The New 42 Gala is for all the artists who rehearse and develop work with us, the teachers and students who learn alongside us, the families who choose us for their child’s first theatrical experience and for anyone who wants to come together for a celebration of New York’s great artistic community,” Russell Granet, President & CEO of New 42, said.

The virtual event aims to raise “critical funds” for New 42’s performing arts and education initiatives — including New Victory Theater, which stages shows for families and children, and New 42nd Street Studios, the beloved rehearsal, theater and office space, which offers 14 studios for performers to practice.

The New 42nd Street was established jointly by the state in 1990 to help revitalize seven historical theaters on Broadway, including the Apollo, Empire, Lyric, Liberty, Selwyn, Times Square and Victory. Answering a need for rehearsal space, the nonprofit embarked on the massive $34.7 million project to create the New 42nd Street Studios — a 10-story, multi-use building between Seventh and Eighth Avenues for the expressed purpose of serving the theater community. The space’s rehearsal studios (where over 800 Broadway shows have “started their journeys”) sprawl across five floors. The building also houses the 199-seat theater, the Duke on 42nd Street.

When the organization’s New Victory Theater shuttered in March, the group was quick to launch a series of digital initiatives to keep families engaged. Titled “New Victory Arts Break,” the series of curated videos allow families to maintain the educational component at the core of the theater’s practice by enlisting the help of instructors. Each week, viewers can find new guides on the theater’s website.

Philanthropist Marc Spilker will receive the gala’s Marian Heiskell Award, doled out to “extraordinary individuals whose leadership and foresight help shape the future of NYC.”

To sign up for a reminder about the gala and to receive a link to watch the event, click here.

Top Image: Photo: Loren Javier.