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Black Tie International:
NYU: Tisch School of the Arts

East met West recently when NYU Tisch School of the Arts honored prominent alumni at its annual benefit gala, taking place this year in Beverly Hills.   Co-host and Tony and Grammy Award winning actor, Steve Kazee; honoree and award-winning producer Liza Chasin, president of U.S. production at Working Title Films; NYU Tisch Dean Mary Schmidt Campbell; honoree Oliver Stone and co-host, actress Chandra Wilson.


East met West recently when NYU Tisch School of the Arts honored prominent alumni at its annual benefit gala, taking place this year in Beverly Hills. 

 Co-host and Tony and Grammy Award winning actor, Steve Kazee; honoree and award-winning producer Liza Chasin, president of U.S. production at Working Title Films; NYU Tisch Dean Mary Schmidt Campbell; honoree Oliver Stone and co-host, actress Chandra Wilson.






Evening Celebrates Notable Alumni
With Show-Stopping Entertainment by Current Tisch Students


Over $1 Million Raised.


Los Angeles, CA (October 29, 2013) – East met West last night when NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts  honored prominent alumni, Academy Award winning film director and screenwriter Oliver Stone and award-winning producer Liza Chasin, president of U.S. production at Working Title Films, at its annual benefit gala, taking place this year in Los Angeles at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

Tisch alumna, director and award winning star of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy Chandra Wilson co-hosted the benefit, together with alumnus and Tony and Grammy Award winning actor, Steve Kazee.  Wallis Annenberg, Tracy Pollan and Michael J. Fox, Laurence Mark and Steve Tisch served as Honorary Chairs of the event. Co-Chairs included Monica Devereux and Chris Columbus, Michele and Lawrence Herbert and Sheri and Howard Schultz.

More than 350 guests, many Tisch alumni or parents of current or former students, entered the hotel’s ballroom, transformed into a dramatic, jaw-dropping, multi-dimensional homage to the Big Apple, complete with a cacophony of New York City street sounds and video mapping of bustling street life.

The real stars of the evening were the eight wildly talented current Tisch students, singing, dancing and stomping their way through a montage of show-stopping numbers, each met with thunderous applause. Their opening number, “New York City Mash Up” was an eight minute salute to NYC themed songs, against a video background of iconic New York City landmarks. Later numbers including “On Broadway” brought the audience to their collective feet, further emphasizing the range of exceptional talent that is the backbone of Tisch and highlighting the stars of tomorrow. Bill Castellino directed and choreographed the evening’s production.

One star of today, Tony and Grammy Award-winning alum and co-host Steve Kazee performed a stirring rendition of the Oscar winning “Falling Slowly,” accompanying himself on the guitar with backup from Tisch students.

Honorary Chair, award-winning producer and Dean’s Council Member, Steve Tisch formally welcomed attendees before Kazee introduced Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley who presented the Tisch Big Apple Award to her long-time friend, Liza Chasin.  In explaining what prompted her to enroll at Tisch, Chasin  cited a bit of advice she has never forgotten, “I remember I asked around about film schools – the whole New York versus LA of it all – and everyone told me, ‘if you want to work in the business, go to LA, but if you love film go to Tisch.’ I chose love and fortunately for me, I got the best of both!”

Award-winning writer and Tisch  Alumnus of the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, Stanley Weiser presented to his long-time friend and writing partner, Oliver Stone.  After a bit of playful chiding of Steve Tisch and his NY Giants, Stone eloquently regaled the audience with the difficulty he had adjusting to life after his stint in Viet Nam, but learned about Tisch and their film school. “Loved the idea of watching movies all day and getting credit for it!”  “I entered back into civilization at Tisch.”  He called his days at Tisch “popcorn fun” and reminisced about an early instructor, Martin Scorsese. At that time, “Hollywood was a mythical place,” but he embraced the “tough talking New York state of mind.”  “Forty years later, I’m still here…still trying to write and direct…still waiting for that bell to ring or that ax to fall.”  “New York was the right place at the right time.  It’s been my orphan home.”  “There is something about the pursuit of truth…24 frames per second that can change the world.”


Introducing co-host Chandra Wilson, Steve Kazee provided poignant background on the Grey’s Anatomy star whose financial needs nearly kept her from completing her senior year at Tisch, all of which prompted Wilson to set up a scholarship program at her alma mater for current seniors in drama in need of financial aid.

Before guests retired to an after-party in the ballroom’s cocktail area, transformed into a New York-style supper club, Dean Mary Schmidt Campbell (retiring in August, 2014 after a stellar 23 year career as the driving force behind Tisch) summed up the Tisch experience.  “When Tisch students become Tisch graduates, they repay us over and over.  They have won every possible accolade, from the Oscar to the Pulitzer Prize.  They work in film, television, theatre and dance.  They consistently challenge and change the face of digital media and games.  They are recorded music entrepreneurs, photographers and performance, cinema and arts politic scholars.  They have changed the way we think about some of the central ideas of our time.  Chances are their work has touched you in some way.”

In addition to Oliver Stone, Liza Chasin, Chandra Wilson and Steve Kazee, Tisch’s list of graduates includes many renowned artists, including: Pulitzer Prize winners Tony Kushner, Doug Wright and Chang Lee; Academy Award winners Marcia Gay Harden, Keiko Ibi and Ang Lee; Tony Award winners Nina Arianda, Steve Kazee, George C. Wolfe, Idina Menzel, Stephen Spinella, Jeff Whitty and Frank Wood; Emmy Award winners Alec Baldwin, Billy Crystal, Kristen Johnston, John Leguizamo, Camryn Manheim and Debra Messing; as well as acclaimed filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee and Amy Heckerling.


For more than 45 years, the NYU Tisch School of the Arts has drawn on the vast resources of New York City and New York University to create an extraordinary training ground for the individual artist and scholar of the arts. Students learn their craft in a spirited, risk-taking environment that combines the professional training of a conservatory with the liberal arts education of a major research university.

As one of the nation’s leading centers of undergraduate and graduate study in the performing and cinematic arts, Tisch offers programs of study that incorporate a collaboratively oriented community of award-winning faculty members; state-of-the-art facilities; internship opportunities with established professionals; and the incomparable artistic and cultural resources of New York City.  Learn more at




joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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