Fulfilling a pledge made by Laura Pels celebrating Roundabout Theatre Company's 50th anniversary, the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater has made a $2 million gift to the theatre.
The gift, the Foundation's largest donation to date, will support the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Board Designated Reserve Fund, and be used to protect Roundabout's New Play Initiative, as well new work developed and produced in the company's Laura Pels Theatre, the large Off-Broadway space at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. Roundabout's Off-Broadway theatre has carried Ms. Pels' name since 1995.
Pels was a Roundabout board member for almost three decades. She died in May 2023 at the age of 92. The Foundation will continue under the new leadership of Julie Kinsella, serving as president, and Jack Brister, serving as executive director. Both had worked alongside Pels with the Foundation for several years.
“We are very pleased to lead the Foundation into its next chapter. It is an honor to continue fulfilling Laura’s legacy and mission to support high quality theatre in New York City and beyond. We are delighted to embark upon this next phase of the Foundation by renewing our collaboration with Roundabout Theatre Company, which was so special to Laura,” said Kinsella in a statement.
Roundabout’s Interim Artistic Director Scott Ellis added, “We are deeply grateful to the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater for this extraordinary investment in Roundabout's future, and to our beloved Laura for her generosity, foresight, and commitment. Laura was a fierce advocate for artists everywhere, a leader on our Board of Directors for 28 years, and a creative force herself who made us a braver, better theatre. A trusted friend to Todd Haimes, our visionary artistic director and CEO of 40 years, Laura was a champion for artistic risk and a pillar of our Roundabout family. This landmark gift ensures that her legacy will live on in the many Roundabout artists who share her courageous spirit.”
Rachel Bond's play Jonah will begin previews in the Laura Pels Theatre January 11, 2024.