Gala Image 12017 Pittsburgh New Works Festival Gala
Dinner, Drinks, and the Donnas!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Get your Tickets

You’re invited to the biggest theatre party of the year!  Eat, drink, and celebrate the Pittsburgh New Works Festival! Join the Festival actors, directors, and playwrights as we honor the work done by everyone who brought this Festival’s world premiere plays to life!  This year’s gala will be held at Cefalo’s, a beautiful, historic church re-imagined as an elegant  banquet and event center.

5PM Cocktail Hour and Gourmet Tapas Bar – 7PM Awards Ceremony
Followed by Live D.J. and Dancing

Tickets are $25 per person.
Cash Bar.  Seating is limited.
Reservations must be made by October 1.  Tickets will not be available at the door.


Cefalo'sCefalo’s Banquet and Events Center
428 Washington Avenue
Carnegie, PA  15106

Map it!



The Donna Awards

The Donna Awards for the most stand-out artists of the Festival will be awarded during the evening.  Awards will be given for outstanding supporting actor, outstanding supporting actress, outstanding actor, outstanding actress, outstanding contribution from a director, outstanding production, and finally, the outstanding contribution from a playwright which includes the $500 prize for best script.


Lifetime Achievement Award

Every year, the Festival recognizes an outstanding individual for their impact and service to the Pittsburgh region’s theatre community.  The 2017 honoree is Chrystal Bates.

Chrystal Bates HeadshotChrystal Bates has the distinction of being a three time consecutive winner of the Onyx Award for Best Actress and the first recipient of the Donna Award for best actress. She is also part of the only mother- daughter winners of a Donna Award with Cheryl Bates White. Chrystal has been acting for over 45 years, appearing in over 100 productions including children shows, performance poetry, cabaret, main stage and religious presentations.

This year Ms. Bates debuted at the prestigious National Black Theater Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the role of Clarissa in Mark Clayton Souther’s critically acclaimed play Miss Julie, Clarissa and John. Some of her favorite roles include, Aunt Esther in Gem of the Ocean, Mame Wilkes in Radio Golf, Mother Sister in Every Tongue Confess, Ruby in King Headley II, Willa in Blood on the Seats, Big Momma in Livin’ Fat, Judith Kaufmann in An American Daughter, Bernice in Member of the Wedding, Thelma in One More Time, Sophie in Flyin’ West and Susannah in Tin Types.

Ms. Bates has worked with many distinguished artists and theatre companies such as Carol Sutton at Southern Rep, Jacqueline Moscou and Sara Chazen at City Theater, John Alexander from Allegheny Regional, George Bass at Rites and Reasons, Ricardo Pitts Wiley at Mixed Magic Theater, Larry Hamlin (founder of National Black Theater Festival) at Brown University, Bob Marshall at the Odd Chair Playhouse, Anthony Chisholm at American Stage, and August Wilson and Marion Issac McClinton at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre.

As a playwright she received an Advancing Black Arts grant from the Heinz Endowments and the Pittsburgh Foundation to create, For Us By Us, which is currently being developed into a one woman show. Her play, Jesus The Light of the World, toured nationally for ten years, proceeds of which helped to establish water wells and churches all over Kenya, Africa.

Ms. Bates was one of the five core actors including Milt Thompson, Elva Branson, Jonas Chaney and Anthony Thompson who created the New Horizons Theater Company, and was a founding member of the August Wilson Theatre Ensemble.

Ms. Bates has long been esteemed for her directorial skills in sacred and outreach theater, but she has been known to step out of that box to direct works that she feels passionate about including Pittsburgh Playwright’s production of Straightening Combs by Kim El.

Ms. Bates is a poet and singer who had the opportunity to work with Holt Productions in the Lady, Legends and Diva shows, and was a lead singer at the House of Blues in New Orleans.

She is currently an associate minister and Sunday school superintendent at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in South Park, PA. She is the wife of Randolph Matuscak and mother of Cheryl and Coleman, stepmother of Maria, Matthew and Marisa and Grandmother to Alexis, Jayden and Theresa.