A gala benefit to support public programming at New York University’s Maison Française will take place on Thursday evening, May 5, and will feature excerpts from Jean-Claude van Itallie’s new play Light, just nominated for four Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle awards. The original L.A. cast will perform, introduced by van Itallie. The play is directed by Jessica Kubzansky and stars Lenny Von Dohlen, Jeanie Hackett, and John Hansen.

The gala evening begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Consulate General of France, 934 Fifth Avenue, with a champagne reception, followed by the performance at 7:30 p.m. At 8:30 p.m. guests will convene at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, 972 Fifth Avenue, for dinner.

Tickets are $500 ($350 tax-deductible). For information and to make a reservation contact Francine Goldenhar, director, La Maison Française, 212.998.8751.

Light is a witty love triangle of a king, a beautiful scientist marquise, and Voltaire, the most famous man in Europe at the time. The L.A.Times said, “a trio of first-rate performers evokes finely-drawn, riveting characters racked with inner conflicts.”

Mrs. Mary Sharp Cronson is benefit chair. Honorary patrons of the event include H.E. Ambassador Jean-David Levitte; French Consul General François Delattre; Jean-René Géhan, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy; and NYU President John Sexton.

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