The Writers Guild Initiative’s 2020 Benefit Gala took place on Monday, March 9, 2020 at Tribeca 360 in Manhattan.
The moving and inspiring event brought to life our mission of helping people, especially those in communities often not heard from, to find their voice and tell their stories. The theme of this year’s gala was“This Changes Everything!” and, as we do every year, workshop participants submitted entries to be selected and performed. The pieces performed at the Gala were written by Iman Ahmed, Donna Renee Anderson, Joy Cohen, Ayling Dominguez, Mark Haviland, Christie Hicks, Vivian Knezevich, Carolyn Meyer and William Milzarski.
These stories were about such topics as a woman dealing with her mother’s Alzheimer’s, a son discovering the impact of his father’s life at his father’s funeral, and a woman who stumbles upon her husband’s secret life and infidelities on a thumb drive. The incredibly poignant and powerful pieces were performed by an all-star cast including Liza Colon-Zayas, Marin Ireland, Bill Irwin, Jane Kaczmarek, and Tatiana Maslany and was directed by Jonathan Bernstein. The event was produced by WGI President Richard Dresser and Second VP, Willie Reale.
Event Co-Chairs Brooke Adams and Tony Shalhoub spoke about the power of writing, because writing helps us to remember. WGI’s Executive Director Jenna Jackson spoke about our programs and partnerships, and Ayling Dominguez, workshop participant from United We Dream, shared how writing has become an empowering outlet for her to express her story.
This work has come from our workshops in partnerships with, Wounded Warrior Project, United We Dream, and our work with the LGBTQ community through Profile Theatre, among others. The event was well attended by writers, producers, showrunners and actors, and many members of our Board of Directors. Everyone had a fantastic time!