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”A Date with History”, a Gala Benefit for Nylon Fusion Theatre Company, Swings to Music by the Ted Nash Quartet, with Special Guest: Wynton Marsalis
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”A Date with History”, a Gala Benefit for Nylon Fusion Theatre Company, Swings to Music by the Ted Nash Quartet, with Special Guest: Wynton Marsalis

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”A Date with History”
A Benefit for Nylon Fusion Theatre Company

Nylon Fusion Theatre Company
149 Madison Avenue, Suite 1145
New York, NY 10016

Ivette Dumeng: Artistic Director
Emcee: Jason Kravits
Host: John Patrick Shanley

Music by the Ted Nash Quartet
Special Guest: Wynton Marsalis on Trumpet
Ted Nash on Saxophone
Frank Kimbrough on Piano
Matt Wilson on Drums
Paul Sikivie on Bass

Lights of the Community Award Honorees:

Austin Pendleton
Anika Noni Rose

John Patrick Shanley
Ivette Dumeng
Nylon Fusion Theatre Company
Board and Members

4 West 43rd Street
New York, NY

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 23, 2015

Nylon Fusion Theatre Company threw a Gala Benefit, celebrating in style tonight with a packed crowd, in several adjoining rooms, at 4 West 43rd Street, an event space. Guests were adorned in speakeasy fashion, in a very eclectic array of shawls, lacy long gloves, strands of pearls and colorful beads, flowers in their hair, boas, straw hats and colorful ties for men, and more. Given the state of this year’s winter, some guests even added boots to their fashion décor. There were several bars, passed food on trays, a backdrop slide show of theatrical productions, a silent auction with jewelry, art work, and gift certificates, and even “Hal Capone”, who drew retro sketch portraits, to benefit Nylon Fusion. This theatre company, led by Ivette Dumeng, Artistic Director, is dedicated to offer opportunities to new actors, directors, and playwrights, who might otherwise not have a stage. Social, political, and multicultural themes are inherent in Nylon Fusion’s works.

Swell standards and speakeasy swing filled the party tonight, thanks to a great DJ, plus the crème de la crème of live jazz, the Ted Nash Quartet, with the renowned Wynton Marsalis on trumpet. Mr. Marsalis is Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, where Ted Nash performs in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and sometimes composes and leads musical concerts, as well. Matt Wilson was on drums, Frank Kimbrough was on piano, and Paul Sikivie was on bass. Most of these extraordinary musicians have been featured on these pages for concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center and at Juilliard Jazz. The tunes played tonight were abundant, danceable, and magnetic. The list of tunes included “What Is This Thing Called Love?”, “’S Wonderful”, “Muskrat Ramble”, “Sweet Georgia Brown”, “Charleston”, “Summertime”, “The Man I Love”, and “Blue Skies”. Each musician had many opportunities for solo riffs and duo jazz improvisations. During the evening, the basic quartet performed. After the awards and speeches, however, the music was even more electrified, with Mr. Marsalis playing his trumpet right on the party floor, with Mr. Nash on sax, as they combined for a brassy, feverish pulse. Guests took the opportunity to kick up their heels, especially in the “Charleston”.

The two Lights of the Community Awards were given to Austin Pendleton and Anika Noni Rose. Mr. Pendleton, an actor, director, and playwright, started out at Williamstown Theatre Festival and went on to Broadway’s original Fiddler on the Roof. Following a long, successful career, Mr. Pendleton now teaches at HB Studios and The New School and performs in the ensemble of the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. It took John Patrick Shanley, who has a similar encyclopedic biography in dramatic arts, and who is a member of Nylon Fusion’s Advisory Board, quite some time to introduce Mr. Pendleton. Mr. Shanley, who was very favorably reviewed on these pages for his 2014 play, Outside Mullingar, was riveting entertainment in his introductory speech. Anika Noni Rose, who was also very favorably reviewed on these pages for her superb acting role in the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun, was, like Mr. Pendleton, very gracious and appreciative of the award, which, they said, looked like a giant diamond. It’s a gorgeous, prismatic crystal award. Toward the finale of the evening, before the auction winners were announced, Ms. Rose sang “Summertime” with the band, with brass and vocals taking turns with this rapturous theme. Ms. Rose’s vocals are astoundingly resonant and powerful, with a wide tonal range and nuanced emotionality. The full instrumental-vocal effect drew enormous enthusiasm from the crowd.

More information about Nylon Fusion Theatre Company can be found here, Their next play, Unmentionables, will run April 2-19, 2015, at Theatre 54 on West 54th Street.

John Emmerling, AKA "Hal Capone"
Portrait Sketch Artist
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Core Member, Janet Bentley and
Ivette Dumeng, Artistic Director
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Honi Harlow, Performer
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Summer Lee, VP, Jack from Brooklyn Spirits
with Hot Thermos of Sorel Spirits
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

A Painting for Silent Auction
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Frank Kimbrough, Pianist,
with Ted Nash Quartet
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Matt Wilson, Drummer
with Ted Nash Quartet
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Board Member, Lori Kee and Ivette Dumeng
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Slide Show, Nylon Fusion Theatre Company Plays
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

John Patrick Shanley, Playwright/Director
Honors Austin Pendleton in Introduction
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Honoree, Austin Pendleton, Actor/Director
Greets the Crowd
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Core Member, Tatyana Kot Greets the Crowd,
Commends Nylon Fusion Theatre Company
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Member/ Director, Montserrat Mendez,
Advisory Board Member, Paul Haggis, Core Member Tatyana Kot
Commend Nylon Fusion Theatre Company and Honorees
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Actor/Singer, Anika Noni Rose
Greets the Crowd
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Guest, Wynton Marsalis on Trumpet,
Ted Nash on Saxophone,
Matt Wilson on Drums,
Paul Sikivie on Bass,
Frank Kimbrough on Piano
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Wynton Marsalis Plays a Trumpet Solo
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Anika Noni Rose Sings with the Band
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at