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Stars Celebrate Abraham Lincoln's Legacy at Ford's Theatre Benefit Gala and Lincoln Medal Award Ceremony

Sunday, June 24, 2007 - 7:00 p.m. Congressman John Lewis and Historian Dr. James M. McPherson Awarded Ford's Theatre Lincoln Medals


A dazzling array of stars entertains the nation's leaders at the Ford's Theatre annual benefit gala celebration and Lincoln Medal award ceremony on Sunday, June 24. The audience will include numerous Washington dignitaries. President and Mrs. Bush have been invited to attend. The gala will air as a one-hour television special, A Holiday Celebration at Ford's Theatre, later this year on the ABC Television Network. This year's gala features a lineup that includes (in alphabetical order): Gospel legend Yolanda Adams; multiple Grammy Award-winning singer and actress Olivia Newton-John; Grey's Anatomy's James Pickens, Jr.; Dancing with the Stars' Jonathan Roberts and Karina Smirnoff; Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Jon Secada; comedian Christopher Titus and country music star Wynonna.

Mrs. Bush serves as the honorary chair of the gala celebration, Catherine B. Reynolds serves as gala chair, and general chairs are Landra Reid, The Honorable Elaine L. Chao, Deborah I. Dingell, and Abigail P. Blunt. Sharing this special evening of entertainment at America's most famous historic theatre will be Senator Harry Reid, Senator Mitch McConnell, Congressman John Dingell, Congressman Roy Blunt as well as Nicholas D. Chabraja, Chairman and CEO of General Dynamics; Preston Padden, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Government Relations for the Walt Disney Company; Gerard J. Arpey, Chairman, President and CEO of American Airlines; William D. Novelli, CEO of AARP; and others in a distinguished audience of political and corporate leaders.

"Ford's annual gala is a wonderful reminder of the generous individuals, corporations and foundations that are committed to preserving the future of this American treasure," said Wayne R. Reynolds, chairman, Ford's Theatre Society. "We are grateful to our generous donors and thankful for their much-needed support."

"All of us at Ford's Theatre are proud of our work over the past year and look forward to the future," said Paul R. Tetreault, producing director, Ford's Theatre. "We are especially thankful for the continued support of our donors who make our programming possible." At this year's gala, Ford's Theatre will award Ford's Theatre Lincoln Medals to Congressman John Lewis, U.S. Representative from Georgia's Fifth Congressional District, and Dr. James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, author and professor. The Ford's Theatre Lincoln Medal is an annual award given to individuals who through their body of work, accomplishments or personal attributes exemplify the lasting legacy and mettle of character embodied by the most beloved president in our nation's history, President Abraham Lincoln.

Congressman Lewis was an architect of the historic March on Washington in 1963 and was dubbed one of the "Big Six" leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. He is the recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for lifetime achievement and the National Education Association Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Award. Dr. McPherson is the author of fifteen books and was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Award in Race Relations (1964), the Pulitzer Prize in History (1989), and the Lincoln Prize (1998).

This year marks the twenty-seventh televised gala at Ford's Theatre since it reopened in 1968. The site of one of the most significant events in American history, Ford's Theatre is the only cultural landmark where diverse audiences of all ages can experience Abraham Lincoln's life, legacy, and love of the performing arts.

Ford's annual benefit gala was taped at Ford's Theatre and will air later this year on the ABC Television Network. Gil Cates is the executive producer of A Holiday Celebration at Ford's Theatre. Dennis Doty is producer and Paul Miller directs. Michael Seligman is associate producer. Paul R. Tetreault is the producing director of Ford's Theatre. The special is produced by Cates/Doty Productions in association with the ABC television network. (CLOSED-CAPTIONED) (Broadcast in stereo where available)

SOURCE Ford's Theatre Society


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