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Backstage at the Geffen is our signature annual fundraiser, where we honor key entertainment industry figures who have made their indelible philanthropic mark on the community. One of our most anticipated events of the year, Backstage at the Geffen provides an intimate setting for guests to enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes stories from some of the most prominent celebrities in Hollywood, as well as surprise, unannounced performances that span the live arts spectrum. All funds raised support the Geffen’s ongoing commitment to bring the power and inspiration of the arts to youth and adults in communities throughout Los Angeles.
2021 Backstage at the Geffen
Honoring Amanda Gorman, Hon. Nicole Avant & Ted Sarandos
2019 Backstage at the Geffen
Honoring Lily Tomlin & Harry Belafonte
2018 Backstage at the Geffen
Honoring Dick Van Dyke & Lin-Manuel Miranda
Backstage at the Geffen Honorees
Mark your calendar. Theater is about to return to Los Angeles and we're ready to celebrate in style!
Le Conte Avenue will be transformed into an intimate, outdoor fine dining and theater experience for 150 guests with the Geffen Playhouse as the beautifully lit backdrop. Enjoy a delicious 3-course dinner by Chef Abigail Chilton of Alligator Pear Catering, followed by a performance of music and intimate theater stories by secret celebrity guests. It's one of the most sought-after tickets in town.
Past storytellers and honorees include Dave Chappelle, Helen Mirren, Billy Crystal, Quincy Jones, Julie Andrews, Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, Kristin Chenoweth, Ben Affleck, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Martin, Carol Burnett, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Morgan Freeman, and Jennifer Garner, to name just a few.
Jessica Brusilow RollinsDirector of Institutional Giving310.208.6500 x141
Danielle Bearden-MeadDirector of Individual Giving310.208.6500 x113
ARTISTIC IMPACT AWARD
A Los Angeles native who discovered her voice through poetry, storytelling and performance, Amanda Gorman is using her genius to change the world. At just 23 years old, she is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. History; enamoring the nation with her performance of her poem "The Hill We Climb." Years earlier, while still a student at Harvard, she was appointed the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate by Urban Word. She is a committed advocate for the environment, racial equality, and gender justice. Her activism and poetry have been featured on the Today Show, PBS Kids, and CBS This Morning, and in The New York Times, Vogue, Essence, and O, The Oprah Magazine.
DISTINCTION IN SERVICE AWARD
Ted and Nicole first met at an event organized by Nicole in her role as a finance co-chair of Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign. Nicole became the first Black woman and the youngest US Ambassador to the Bahamas. As Ambassador, Nicole focused on five priority initiatives: Education, Alternative Energy, Economic and Small Business Development, Women’s Empowerment and Raising awareness of the challenges facing people with disabilities. Nicole recently produced the acclaimed and award-winning documentary The Black Godfather.
Ted Sarandos has been a game-changer in the entertainment industry for the last two decades. As Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer for Netflix, his revolutionary vision has led the streaming platform to critical acclaim with 15 Oscars, 114 Primetime Emmys, 22 Golden Globes, 22 BAFTAs (12 for Film & 10 for TV)! Ted’s inventive creativity launched an entirely new entertainment medium and has reimagined how audiences view stories. He is amplifying diverse, underproduced voices and creating immeasurable opportunities for storytellers around the world.
Geffen Playhouse welcomes comedian, actor, writer and producer Tone Bell as its 2021 Backstage at the Geffen host. Tone recently co-starred opposite Golden Globe winner Andra Day in Lee Daniels' The United States vs. Billie Holiday, now streaming on Hulu. An accomplished stand-up comic who tours nationwide, Tone’s first one-hour comedy special Tone Bell: Can’t Cancel This can currently be seen on Showtime, Hulu and Amazon Prime. one’s forthcoming comedy album, One Night in Austin, will be released this fall.
Theater lovers, start your bidding! Check out and place your bids on once-in-a-lifetime deals and experiences, now through August 9th @ 10 pm (PDT)
Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its world-renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works and second productions, the not-for-profit organization continues to present a body of work that has garnered national recognition. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen maintains extensive education and community engagement programs, designed to involve young people and the community at large in the arts.