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Show Teachers the Love!

Early in May, during National Teacher Month, we put on a star-studded variety show that celebrates teachers. It’s also our only fundraiser, but it’s a special kind of fundraiser because half the audience are teachers who come for free to feel the love. The other half are donors who come to show it. There’s joy in the air.

A moving highlight of the evening is the presentation of the Woodridge Award for Great Teachers, given by successful people to the teachers who changed their lives.

Thank you for helping us Show Teachers the Love!

May 9, 2022

New-York Historical Society

Watch the Replay on YouTube

See Photos from the Evening

Livestreamed by Real Productions. Photos by Sean Lassiter and Patrick McMullan.

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2022 Performers

Ayodele Casel

Ayodele Casel has been lauded by The New York Times as one of the “Biggest Breakout Stars of 2019,” and by The New Yorker as “a tap dancer of fine-grained musicianship.” Her collaboration with Latin jazz composer Arturo O'Farrill premiered at New York’s Joyce Theater to sold-out audiences in September 2019. Her work is deeply expressive of identity, culture, language, and cathartic communication. Hailed by the late, great Gregory Hines as “one of the top young tap dancers in the world,” Casel has become an internationally sought-after artist and powerful voice for the art form. Photo by Michael Higgins.

Vinny DePonto

The work of theatre-maker and mentalist Vinny DePonto uses a combination of psychological tricks, illusion, visual art, and immersive storytelling. The New York Times has said, “Mr. DePonto’s craftsmanship consistently impresses.” DePonto’s consulting work was featured in the most recent production of Angels in America on Broadway; in Lincoln Center’s Ghostlight; and in hit television shows on Discovery Channel, NBC, and Netflix. He is also a member of the Bessie Award–winning immersive theatre group Third Rail Projects.

Harp & Plow

Harp & Plow is an Americana duo with a gritty yet graceful sound that combines a classically trained harpist and a blues-based guitarist/singer/songwriter. Marc and Kirsten Copely have defined their respective musical reputations by a breadth of collaborators and accolades. Marc is a former RCA solo recording artist whose first album, Limited Lifetime Guarantee, launched him into the national spotlight. Kirsten has made music in four continents for heads of state, in blockbuster movie soundtracks, in the studio alongside Billboard 100 artists, and on late night television.

Bonnie McFarlane

Bonnie McFarlane made her national breakthrough on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, and has made multiple appearances on both The Late Show and The Tonight Show. Her comedy specials have aired on HBO and Comedy Central. McFarlane directed the 2014 documentary feature Women Aren’t Funny and published the memoir You’re Better than Me in 2016. McFarlane is cohost (with her husband, comedian Rich Vos) of the popular podcast My Wife Hates Me.

Rosie's Theater Kids

Rosie’s Theater Kids (RTKids) was founded in 2003 to address the dearth of arts education for underrepresented New York City public school students. RTKids enriches the lives of children who otherwise would lack the opportunity to experience musical theater, positively changing the trajectory of their lives by providing comprehensive classes in music, dance, and drama; thoughtful mentoring; and structured academic guidance.

The Scooches

Over the last 10 years, The Scooches (formally, Banjo Nickaru) has built a solid following playing NBC affiliate: KSHB Kansas City Live, Kansas City Folk Fest, Great Hudson River Revival, Falcon Ridge Fest, NERFA Semi-Formal, NERFA DJ Showcase, John Platt: WFUV Sunday Supper & On Your Radar, Blue Plate Special, WMOT Finally Friday, WNCW Studio B Sessions, WoodSongs, Club Passim, TV show: Horses Sing None Of It, IsIs Music Hall, Blue Plate Special, Extended Play Sessions, Relix, and APAP.

John Turturro

John Turturro is an actor and director whose film credits include Do the Right Thing, Barton Fink, Quiz Show, The Big Lebowski, The Truce, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? He has directed six films, including Mac, which won the Caméra d’Or award at Cannes. On stage, Turturro won an Obie for Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and appeared in La Puta Vida, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, and End Game. On television, Turturro won an Emmy for his role on Monk and starred in HBO’s The Night Of and The Plot Against America, and can be seen currently in Apple’s series Severance.

Yin Yue

Yin Yue is an internationally recognized performer, choreographer, and the founder and artistic director of YY Dance Company (YYDC). Yin studied at the prestigious Shanghai Dance Academy and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she received her MFA in 2008. In 2018, Yin founded YYDC, a NYC-based, nonprofit contemporary dance company. This company incorporates Yin’s signature FoCo Technique™ which represents a dynamic fusion of Chinese dance, folk, and contemporary movement language into live performances and choreographic commissions, as well as educational endeavors. Photo by Steven Trumon Gray.

2022 Woodridge Award

The Woodridge Award is presented by an accomplished person to a teacher who helped them on their way. The Award is named in honor of Mattie Woodridge, who taught high school English in Helena, Arkansas during segregation. After winning her school’s outstanding teacher award four times, Woodridge organized a day to celebrate local teachers. Its success led her to campaign for a national day of recognition for teachers and with the help of Eleanor Roosevelt, National Teacher Day was established.

Presenter: Jeremy O. Harris

Jeremy O. Harris is the playwright and creator of the most Tony-nominated Broadway play ever, Slave Play. Jeremy cowrote A24’s critically-acclaimed Zola with director Janicza Bravo. In television, Jeremy credits include their hit series Euphoria and upcoming TV adaptation of Irma Vep. He is currently co-creating and co-showrunning an adaptation of Brit Bennett’s best-selling novel, The Vanishing Half, with Aziza Barnes at HBO. He is a graduate of the Yale MFA Playwriting Program. Photo by Micaiah Carter.

Honoree: Candace Owen-Williams

Candace Owen-Williams, a native of Buffalo, New York, learned to teach from her many influential K–12 educators in the Clarence Central School system. A graduate of Kenyon College, she pursued her MA in modern fiction from Exeter University in England. She has taught grades 6–12 English, Theater, and Dance for thirty-seven years in such diverse places as Long Island; Lugano, Switzerland; Southside Virginia; and Westchester.

b&w photo of a woman sitting behind a desk with a pen and paper.

The Woodridge Award for Great Teachers

The Woodridge Award is presented annually by an accomplished person to the K-12 teacher who most helped them on their way.

Photo by Rogerline Johnson, Johnson Studio, Helena, Arkansas

Co-Chairs

  • Catherine & Joseph Aresty Foundation
  • Steven Aresty Foundation
  • Douglas P. Catalano & Judi Tytel
  • Elizabeth B. Dater
  • Laurie & Oskar Eustis*
  • Megan Flanigan & Rick Swift
  • Nick Lembo & Pat Swain
  • Giovanna Marazzi & David Sassoon
  • Caroline S. McBride
  • Ilse Melamid
  • Sheila Nevins*
  • Jane Pollock & Phil Berney
  • Barbara G. Raho
  • Diana & Charles Revson
  • Mary & Alok Singh

Benefit Committee

  • Julia Alvarez
  • Mike Birbiglia*
  • David W. Blight*
  • Cynthia & Richard* Brodhead
  • Kate Burch**
  • Roz Chast*
  • Billy Collins*
  • Michael Cunningham*
  • Harry Feder** & Hallie Levin
  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr.*
  • Lucile & Richard Glasebrook
  • Michael Glazebrook
  • Tonne Goodman
  • Wendy Goodman
  • Agnes Gund
  • Aisha Haynes
  • Lynne & Mark Hammerschlag
  • Patricia Hayot
  • Amy Hungerford* & Peter Chemery
  • Joy & Emily Hurd
  • Kronos Quartet*
  • Amber Joseph
  • Andrea Lunsford
  • Georgette & Charles Mallory
  • Emily Mandelstam
  • Peter Marrs
  • Anthony W. Marx
  • Louise Mirrer
  • Meredith Monk*
  • Rebecca Montville & Chris Kozlowski
  • Julianne Moore
  • Mary & Garrett Moran
  • Khalil Gibran Muhammad*
  • Kate Niehaus
  • Beverly & Peter Orthwein
  • Tripp Revson & Melise Senaydin
  • Joanie & Maurice Reznik
  • Leslee & David Rogath
  • Deborah & Chuck Royce
  • Karen Russell* & Anthony Perez
  • Holly** & Michael Schecter
  • Monica & Rick Segal
  • John Sexton*
  • Nadine Shaoul & Mark Schonberger
  • Amy Davidson Sorkin & David Sorkin
  • Gloria Steinem*
  • Sam Swope & Jim Tryforos
  • Trevor Swope
  • Nancy Tarshis* & Phil Galdston*
  • Will & CeCe Thompson
  • Wayne & Susan Tobias
  • Felipe Vasconcelos
  • Abbie Wyman
  • Jerry Zaks*

*led an Academy for Teachers master class
**Academy for Teachers Fellow

List as of April 18, 2022.

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