The Geffen Playhouse will honor legendary stage and screen performer Dick Van Dyke and award-winning composer, lyricist and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda at its 16th annual Backstage at the Geffen fundraiser. The event recognizes the accomplishments of leaders in the artistic community, supports the theater’s mission to produce original, quality work and raises funds for its award-winning education and community engagement programs, which bring live theater to more than 15,000 disadvantaged youth, seniors and veterans annually.
The Geffen’s star-studded event is an unexpected evening of unscripted, surprise performers and storytellers sharing songs and personal tales of life behind-the-scenes. It will be held on Saturday, May 19, 2018 in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse and hosted for the second time by Aisha Tyler.
“Dick Van Dyke has brought joy and entertainment to the world for more than 60 years, and in the last decade, Lin-Manuel Miranda has inspired millions of people with his work. In addition to their unparalleled contributions to the arts, Dick and Lin-Manuel share a commitment to young people and a belief in the power of live storytelling to inform and inspire audiences around the world,” said Geffen Playhouse Executive Director Gil Cates, Jr., who produces the show alongside board member Kevin Bright. “We are thrilled to bring these brilliant artists and philanthropists to the Geffen stage for another surprising Backstage event.”
Distinction in Theater Award recipient Dick Van Dyke is one of the most beloved performers in show business history, with a decades-long career that has earned him five Emmy Awards, a Tony, Grammy and SAG Lifetime Achievement Award, and most recently, a Britannia Award for Excellence in Television from BAFTA Los Angeles. Though his career began in 1954, it was his 1961 sitcom, The Dick Van Dyke Show, which solidified his superstar status. Considered one of the most cherished sitcoms of all time, the show garnered three Emmy Awards for Van Dyke for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and four for Outstanding Comedy Series. In 1961, Van Dyke starred in Broadway’s Bye Bye Birdie, for which he won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Albert F. Peterson, a role he reprised two years later on film. In 1964, he starred opposite Julie Andrews in Walt Disney’s blockbuster film Mary Poppins, delighting audiences around the world with his performance of the Academy Award®-winning song “Chim Chim Cher-ee.”
Since then, Van Dyke has entertained generations of fans in the classic films Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Comic, Dick Tracy and the Night at the Museum franchise, and on stage in the national tours of The Music Man and Damn Yankees. On television, he introduced the character Dr. Mark Sloan in Jake & The Fatman and starred in its spin off series, Diagnosis: Murder. Recently, he authored two best-selling books, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business and Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Living Well Longer, and joined legendary comedy nonagenarians Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks and Norman Lear in the HBO documentary If You’re Not In The Obit, Eat Breakfast. Van Dyke will return to the big screen this holiday season in the eagerly-awaited Mary Poppins Returns, alongside Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep and Lin-Manuel Miranda, and can be seen around Los Angeles playing music from his new album, “Step (Back) In Time,” with his six-piece jazz band and acapella quartet, The Vantastix.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, a Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award-winning composer, lyricist and actor, will receive the Education Impact Award. Miranda is the creator and original star of Broadway’s Tony Award-winning Hamilton and In the Heights. His additional Broadway credits include Bring It On: The Musical (co-composer/co-lyricist, Tony Award nomination for Best Musical) and West Side Story (2009 revival, Spanish translations). A 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award recipient, Miranda composed songs for Disney’s Moana (2018 Grammy Award; 2017 Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Song). He has actively supported the relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in September 2017, creating the benefit single “Almost Like Praying.” He also partnered with Ben Platt on the charity single “Found/Tonight” to benefit the March for Our Lives Initiative. His television and film credits include the forthcoming Mary Poppins Returns (in theaters Christmas Day 2018), Saturday Night Live (2017 Emmy Nomination, Guest Actor), Sesame Street, The Electric Company, House, DuckTales, Curb Your Enthusiasm, 200 Cartas and The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
Backstage at the Geffen brings together artistic, entertainment and business leaders and the Los Angeles region’s most prominent philanthropic organizations to raise funds for the Geffen Playhouse’s artistic endeavors, including new play development, playwright commissions and world premiere productions that inspire thought, evoke conversation, and engage the community in the live arts. Last year, Backstage at the Geffen raised more than $1 million, allowing the Geffen to expand its literacy, high school, veterans and Lights Up programs.
City National Bank continues for the 9th consecutive year as Title Sponsor. Presenting Sponsors are Audi of America in its 13th year and K Period Media returning for its second year.
Honorary Co-Chairs include George Lucas & Mellody Hobson, Barbra Streisand & James Brolin, Katie McGrath & J.J. Abrams, Cindy & Alan Horn, Ann & Jim Gianopulos, Kelly & Ron Meyer, Lyn & Norman Lear, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Quincy Jones, Jr., Loretta Everett Kaufman & Victor Kaufman, Barbara & Richard Sherman, Madeline & Bruce Ramer and Fay & Frank Mancuso. Event Co-Chairs are Loretta Everett Kaufman, Adi Greenberg and Linda Bernstein Rubin.
Host committee memberships begin at $7,500. For more information, please visit www.geffenplayhouse.org/backstage or call (310) 208-6500 Ext. 112.