Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dick Van Dyke Set for Top Honors at Geffen Fundraiser
“In addition to their unparalleled contributions to the arts, Dick and Lin-Manuel share a commitment to young people and a belief in the power of live storytelling to inform and inspire audiences around the world,” said Geffen Playhouse executive director Gil Cates Jr.
The Geffen Playhouse has selected legendary performers Dick Van Dyke and Lin-Manuel Miranda, linked both by talent and the magic of Mary Poppins, to share the marquee at its 16th annual Backstage at the Geffen fundraiser.
The event, which recognizes the accomplishments of leaders in the artistic community, supports the theater’s mission to produce original work and is scheduled for May 19 in the Gil Cates Theater at Geffen Playhouse in Westwood. Aisha Tyler will also be on the invite as host, marking her second time being on the Backstage at the Geffen playbill. Funds raised from the event are funneled to education and community engagement programs, which bring live theater to disadvantaged youth, seniors and veterans.
In making the announcement, Geffen Playhouse executive director Gil Cates Jr. praised the pair for their contributions to entertainment. “Dick Van Dyke has brought joy and entertainment to the world for more than 60 years, and in the last decade, Lin-Manuel Miranda has inspired millions of people with his work," said Cates. “In addition to their unparalleled contributions to the arts, Dick and Lin-Manuel share a commitment to young people and a belief in the power of live storytelling to inform and inspire audiences around the world.”
Most recently, Van Dyke, who will receive the Distinction in Theater Award, was honored with a Britannia Award for Excellence in Television from BAFTA Los Angeles. The actor played the role of Bert, the Cockney chimney sweep, in the 1964 Disney classic Mary Poppins and will return in another role this holiday season in Mary Poppins Returns, alongside Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep and Miranda.
Miranda, a Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award-winning composer, lyricist and actor, will receive the Education Impact Award. He is the creator and original star of Broadway’s Tony Award-winning Hamilton and In the Heights. In Mary Poppins Returns, Miranda plays Jack, an apprentice to Bert from the first film.
Last year, Backstage at the Geffen raised more than $1 million. City National Bank continues for the ninth consecutive year as title sponsor. Presenting sponsors include Audi, back for its 13th year, and K Period Media, returning for its second.