By Madina Toure
The heads of Astoria Bank and New York Hospital Queens were honored for their contributions to the Queens Theatre at the theater’s annual gala Monday night.
The gala, held at the theater at 14 United Nations Avenue South in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, celebrated the theater’s year of performances, educational programming and special events.
The event featured cocktails and dinner, dessert, a silent auction and performances by cast members of the musical “Queens Bees” as well as Jessica Lang Dance.
These past two years have been a time of growth and expansion for the theater, said Taryn Sacramone, its managing director. She noted programs such as the Bank of America Student Matinee Series, in which Queens students experience five exclusive live performances, including three Dance Series and two Theatre Series shows, every year.
“All said and done, Queens Theatre has brought the world of the performing arts to over 2,400 students this year alone,” Sacramone said. “These programs inspire future performers and patrons of the arts.”
Donations to the theater would be matched dollar for dollar by some theater board members, Sacramone said.
Monte Redman, president and CEO of Astoria Bank, and John Sciortino, NYHQ’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, were recognized for strengthening the theater’s legacy as a major contributor to the arts in Queens.
Redman, who has family members that have worked or currently work in the arts, said the theatre plays an important role in maintaining the arts in Queens.
“At Astoria, we strive to answer all the questions of your financial health,” Redman said. “As important as that is, we know that that’s not all there is to living and arts are very important and the Queens Theatre provides a very important place to provide diverse performances for a lot of different people.”
For Sciortino, the missions of the theater and NYHQ are interrelated in that they both strive for the betterment of the borough. He encouraged people to educate themselves about the theater.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful theater and something we should all support on an ongoing basis.” Sciortino said.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) and former Borough President Helen Marshall, who supported the theater, were also present.
The gala’s sponsors were Astoria Bank, NYHQ, Con Edison and the New York Community Bank Foundation.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour