Ford's Theatre Annual Gala
The Ford’s Theatre Annual Gala was held on Sunday, June 22, 2014.
Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, President pro tempore of the Senate Patrick Leahy, House Majority Leader Elect Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, actress Debbie Allen, members of Congress and other distinguished guests attended the event.
The evening included the presentation of the Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal to actor James Earl Jones and the U.S. House of Representatives’ longest-serving member, The Honorable John D. Dingell. The award was given in recognition of their extraordinary character, service, accomplishments and work reflecting Lincoln’s legacy of humanity, wisdom, eloquence and vision.
During the event, Dr. Jill Biden introduced a moving tribute to four outstanding educators, recognizing their positive and lasting contributions to the society in which we live. The four teachers honored were: Pearl Arredondo, founder of the San Fernando Institute for Applied Media and a Teaching Policy Fellow at Teach Plus; Tiffany Ross, a fourth-grade teacher at Marie H. Reed Elementary School in Washington, D.C., and a winner of the The Washington Post’s Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award; Moosa Shah, a science teacher at Rachel Carson Middle School in Herndon, Virginia, and a winner of the The Washington Post’s Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award; and Lou Volpe, recently retired from Harry S. Truman High School in Levittown, Pennsylvania, after 44 years of teaching, who was honored with the first-ever “Music Theatre International Achievement Award for Theatre Education” and who was featured in Michael Sokolove’s book Drama High. Vice President Joe Biden gave remarks to close the performance.
Additional highlights from the Ford’s Theatre Annual Gala included a joyful chorus of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” performed by Scott Bakula and the ensemble, the flirtatious aria “Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiß” (My lips’ fiery kiss) from Giuditta performed by soprano Alyson Cambridge, Lennon and Maisy Stella singing “Ho Hey” (originally by The Lumineers), So You Think You Can Dance’s Melinda Sullivan performing to “I Could Have Danced All Night” as sung by Tony Winner Laura Benanti, Cheyenne Jackson performing “I’m Blue, Skies,” and more.
Following the performance, guests dined at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum.
First Lady Michelle Obama served as the honorary chair of the gala celebration. Honorary co-chairs were Mrs. Landra Reid, The Honorable Elaine L. Chao, Mrs. Cynthia Rogers, Mrs. Deborah I. Dingell, Dr. Sharon Malone, Mrs. Marlene A. Malek, Mrs. Catherine B. Reynolds and Mrs. Doreen B. Spiegel.
The Ford’s Theatre Annual Gala benefits the Ford’s Theatre Society and its programming, including exhibits at the Ford’s Theatre Center for Education and Leadership. This event is made possible by the generous support of lead sponsor General Dynamics and with additional support from American Airlines, the official airline of Ford’s Theatre. Ford’s Theatre gratefully acknowledges Gloria Story Dittus and Story Partners for their support of the 2014 Lincoln Medal Presentation.
For more information about Ford’s annual gala, please contact the development department at (202) 434-9523 or via email.
2014 Lincoln Medal Recipients
Photo Dr. Jill Biden and Vice President Joe Biden by James Brantley. Photo of the ensemble by James Brantley.