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Author and star of such plays as The Divine Sister, Red Scare on Sunset and Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, which ran five years and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. His play The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife ran for 777 performances on Broadway and won Mr. Busch the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner Award and received a Tony nomination for Best Play. He wrote and starred in the film versions of his plays, PSYCHO BEACH PARTY and DIE, MOMMIE DIE the latter of which won him the Best Performance Award at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, Mr. Busch received a special Drama Desk Award for career achievement as both performer and playwright. Mr. Busch made his directorial debut with the film A VERY SERIOUS PERSON, which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, where it won an honorable mention. He is also the subject of the documentary film THE LADY IN QUESTION IS CHARLES BUSCH.


New York based playwright whose work has earned him national recognition. He was represented on Broadway last season at The Booth Theatre with his new play, High starring Academy and Tony Award nominee Kathleen Turner. The production, directed by Rob Ruggiero, had its World Premiere at TheatreWorks in Hartford, CT and subsequently played Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and The Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis prior to moving to New York. Mr. Lombardo made his Broadway debut with Looped, starring Valerie Harper in a Tony nominated performance at The Lyceum Theatre. The play, which had its World Premiere at The Pasadena Playhouse, also made stops in West Palm Beach and Arena Stage in Washington D.C. He is also the author of the Off-Broadway hit Tea at Five, the one-woman Katharine Hepburn play which starred Kate Mulgrew at the Promenade Theatre. Mr. Lombardo received an IRNE Award for Best Solo Play for that production which had a highly successful national tour and continues to be performed internationally (a Japanese speaking production is scheduled for central Tokyo in 2012 starring Yukiyo Toake). Other Off-Broadway credits include directing Chuck Ranberg’s comedy End of the World Party at The 47th Street Theatre, Mother and Child (starring Tony Award winning actress Ann Wedgeworth) at Second Stage and Guilty Innocence at The Actors’ Playhouse, serving the latter two productions as both playwright and director. From 1991-1995, Mr. Lombardo literally spent time in ANOTHER WORLD, having written for the daytime drama which earned him a Writer’s Guild Award for Outstanding Achievement. His plays have broken box office records at several regional theatres across the country, and his work has been produced at such prestigious venues as Seattle Rep, The Shubert Theatre in Boston, Hartford Stage, The Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, The Broward Center for Performing Arts, The Orphuem Theatre in Phoenix, American Repertory Theatre and others.


A freelance professional director whose work has earned him national recognition on both plays and musicals. Mr. Ruggiero recently made his Broadway debut with Looped, starring Valerie Harper in a Tony nominated performance. He directed the world premiere of Looped at Pasadena Playhouse as well as subsequent productions that played West Palm Beach and Arena Stage in Washington D.C. Mr. Ruggiero continues his collaboration with Matthew Lombardo having recently directed the World Premiere of his new play High starring Kathleen Turner, on Broadway, and in a shared production between TheaterWorks, Hartford, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and The Repertory Theater of St. Louis. Mr. Ruggiero made his Off-Broadway debut with All Under Heaven, which also stared Valerie Harper. This production toured regionally and had a critically acclaimed run in Los Angeles. He conceived and directed an original musical revue entitled Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn, which also had a successful run Off-Broadway. The production received nominations for both the Drama Desk Award for "Outstanding Review" and the Outer Critics Circle Award for "Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical.” In 2008 an original cast recording was released and the London premiere was also produced at the New Players Theater. In 2005, Mr. Ruggiero conceived and directed the world premiere musical portrait of Ella Fitzgerald entitled Ella (starring Tina Fabrique). A popular and critical success, Ella has been seen on over 20 regional theater stages from 2005-2010 and is beginning a first national tour this fall at Long Wharf Theatre. Ella has won three Kevin Kline Awards, including “Outstanding Director of a Musical” for the St. Louis Production and the Chicago production won three 2008 Joseph Jefferson Awards including “Best Director – Revue.” Mr. Ruggiero recently returned to Goodspeed Musicals to direct Annie Get Your Gun, where he also directed the highly acclaimed production of Camelot as well as productions of Big River and 1776, which garnered him his third and fourth Connecticut Critic’s Circle Awards for best direction. Mr. Ruggiero is the only director to have received four Kevin Kline Awards, two for Best Direction of a Musical (Urinetown and Ella) and two for Best Direction of a Play (Take Me Out and The Little Dog Laughed). His work has been seen at major regional theaters around the country, including: Actor’s Theater of Louisville, Arizona Theatre Company, Barrington Stage Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cleveland Playhouse, Guthrie Theater, Hartford Stage, Northlight Theater, The Pittsburgh Public Theater, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and San Jose Repertory Theatre among others.


As the visibility of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people grows in our society, more and more LGBT teens are finding the courage to come out of the closet. Tragically, as many as 25% of these teens are rejected by their families, and many end up homeless on the streets. Homeless LGBT teens are more likely than straight homeless teens to be subjected to violence on the streets, and in the homeless shelter system. They suffer from inordinate rates of mental illness, trauma, HIV infection and substance abuse. The Ali Forney Center (AFC) was started in June of 2002 in response to the lack of safe shelter for LGBT youth in New York City. We are committed to providing these young people with safe, dignified, nurturing environments where their needs can be met, and where they can begin to put their lives back together. AFC is dedicated to promoting awareness of the plight of homeless LGBT youth in the United States with the goal of generating responses on local and national levels from government funders, foundations, and the LGBT community.



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