Fundraising Gala for New York Stage and Film to Honor Vassar President Frances Fergusson and Actor David Strathairn

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — New York Stage & Film, the non-profit company which since 1985 has partnered with Vassar College to present the Powerhouse Summer Theater Season, will hold its annual winter benefit gala at the Copacabana in New York City on Thursday evening, January 12. The gala will also honor Vassar president Frances Daly Fergusson, and actor David Strathairn, who's currently starring as journalist Edward R. Murrow in the acclaimed George Clooney film Good Night and Good Luck.

The New York Stage & Film (NYS&F) gala will begin at the Copacabana (560 West 34th Street) with cocktails at 6:30pm, followed by dinner, entertainment, and a silent auction at 7:30pm. Auction items will include set visits and walk-ons to hit TV shows such as "Desperate Housewives," "The West Wing," and "The Closer," owner's seats to a Philadelphia Eagles game, sports memorabilia from the New York Jets, tickets to "The Daily Show with John Stewart," lunch with comedian Lewis Black, Broadway show tickets, and many other items.

Frances Fergusson, who in June 2006 will complete her twentieth and final year as Vassar's president, has spearheaded a renaissance for the campus architecture and landscape. Fergusson has led the college to its highest admission standards and a dramatic increase in applicants, as well as overseeing a record breaking fundraising campaign for liberal arts colleges. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fergusson currently serves on the Board of Overseers of Harvard University, where she earned her Master's and Ph.D. in art history, and on the Board of Directors of the Foreign Policy Association. She was a trustee of the Ford Foundation from, and on the board of the Mayo Clinic, which she chaired from 1989-2001.

David Strathairn is one of his generation's most respected theater and film actors. In addition to his current starring role in the film Good Night and Good Luck, Strathairn's other film credits include Silkwood, The Firm, LA Confidential, and A League of Their Own. Strathairn has also starred in numerous John Sayles films, most notably the Return of the Secaucus 7, City of Hope, and Passion Fish. His stage work includes Dance of Death and Salome, as well as numerous roles at the Powerhouse Theater Season.

"Nurturing creativity, risk-taking, and innovation is what Vassar is all about, so I couldn't be more pleased with how the relationship between Vassar and New York Stage & Film has blossomed through our Powerhouse Theater collaboration," said President Frances Fergusson. "I'm also extremely proud that Vassar has been making such exceptional theater available to our Hudson Valley neighbors for more than two decades. I have every reason to expect that the college's commitment to Powerhouse will continue long after my tenure."

Honorary Chairs for this year's NYS&F benefit include Kathy Bates, Chris Cooper, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Lisa Kudrow, Frances Sternhagen, Meryl Streep and Jon Tenney. Committee members and celebrities expected to attend the event include Patricia Clarkson, Jill Clayburgh, George Clooney, Dana Delany, Eve Ensler, Peter Gallagher, Josh Hamilton, Ethan Hawke, Amy Irving, Bill Irwin, Catherine Kellner, Julianna Margulies, Matt McGrath, Rob Morrow, Ken Olin, John Sayles, Richard Schiff, John Patrick Shanley, Marisa Tomei, and Patricia Wettig.

For more information on the gala or to purchase tickets, please call Elizabeth Timperman at NYS&F, at (212) 736-4240 or

New York Stage & Film is a company devoted to the development and production of new works for theater and film. For twenty-one years, Vassar and NYS&F's Powerhouse Theater Season has premiered numerous new works destined for on- and off-Broadway production, most recently John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt," which this year won both the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for best play. Powerhouse has also trained an entire generation of young artists through its annual summer apprentice-training program, which produces an outdoor repertory series on the Vassar campus. More than 200 professional playwrights, directors, actors, and designers, and more than 50 apprentices from high schools and colleges across the United States, live and work together each summer in a rich collaborative environment on the Vassar campus.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, January 4, 2006