Heather Headley headlines Goodman gala

(NEWS RELEASE) Billboard magazine calls her "one of the great entertainers of the day, on record and on stage...with a vocal that absolutely astounds with its intensity." Headley, http://www.heatherheadley.com/ who has strong roots in Chicago, is going to headline Goodman Theatre's annual Gala fundraiser on Saturday, May 22 at The Fairmont Hotel, 200 N Columbus Dr., Chicago.

The black-tie event begins with a 6:30pm cocktail reception, followed by Headley's 7:30pm performance. The festivities continue with an elegant dinner and dancing to the tunes of the Ken Arlen Orchestra. Goodman Theatre's Women's Board proudly hosts the exciting night with proceeds benefiting the Goodman's Educational and Community Engagement programs.

For tickets and information about the Gala, call 312.443.3811 ext. 586 or visit goodmantheatre.org. To hear Heather Headley, visit her website heatherheadley.com.

6:30 pm
Saturday, May 22
Fairmont Hotel, Chicago
312.443.3811 ext. 586

About Heather Headley

Heather Headley began her musical journey growing up in Trinidad and later moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she starred as the female lead in high school musicals. She majored in communications and musical theater at Northwestern University, and on the final day of her junior year, she left to understudy Audra McDonald on Broadway in Ragtime. One year later, in 1997, she won the role of Nala in the original premiere Broadway cast of the Elton John-Tim Rice musical The Lion King. Heather's portrayal was so extraordinary that she was asked to audition for the title role of the next Elton John-Tim Rice Broadway musical, Aida, which opened in March 2000, directed by Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls. She won the prestigious Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, and the coveted Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical. That year she was listed as one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People and Essence Magazine's 30 Women To Watch.

Headley continued her Broadway success on the pop charts with her 2002 debut album on RCA entitled This Is Who I Am featuring production by several top flight producers including Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Shep Crawford.

Headley earned numerous accolades for This Is Who I Am including Grammy Award nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (for "I Wish I Wasn't"). At the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards she won dual honors: R&B/Soul Album of the Year and Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist. She also received nominations at the NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding New Artist and Outstanding Female Artist, Billboard Music Awards for R&B/Hip-Hop New Artist of the Year, and BET Awards in the "Cool Like That" category.

In 2004 Headley received rave reviews for her rendition of Elton John's classic "Your Song" that she performed for him at his Kennedy Center Honors salute in Washington, D.C. She also made her film debut with a performance cameo in Havana Nights; her song ("Represent, Cuba") was the centerpiece of the soundtrack album. She returned in January 2006 with In My Mind, her long-awaited second solo album, once again working with an A-list of producers. The opening title tune single became Headley's first #1 hit, topping the Dance charts. Later in the year, she honored playwright Neil Simon by singing the Hal David-Burt Bacharach song "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" from Simon's Broadway show Promises, Promises on the PBS special The Kennedy Center Presents: The 2006 Mark Twain Prize. In December 2007 she gave another memorable national television performance, delighting an audience including President Bush with "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" at the annual "Christmas In Washington" concert TV special.

Over the past year Headley has also displayed her versatility as one of classical star Andrea's Bocelli's favorite singing partners, being featured on his international tour, his "Live In Tuscany" PBS special, and his "Under The Desert Sky" live concert DVD. Her newest album, Audience of One, has just received two Grammy nominations including Best Gospel Performance and Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album.

To hear Heather, visit her website at heatherheadley.com.

About the Goodman's Women's Board and Education and Outreach Programs

Since its inception in 1978, Goodman Theatre's Women's Board-currently under leadership of President Karen Pigott-has been a major force in raising funds for the theater through special events and projects. Members serve on committees for the annual Goodman Theatre Gala, the Goodman Auction, the Women's Board Annual Appeal and the Community Arts and Education Committee. The Board also provides support for Capital and Endowment initiatives, both personally and through solicitations. Monies raised support all aspects of the theater-including the sponsorship of one production per season. A major initiative has been increased support for the Goodman's productions and numerous educational community programs, which offer myriad opportunities for students and audience members of all ages. Through programs such as the Student Subscription Series for Chicago Public Schools, General Theater Studies summer program, the Cindy Bandle Young Critics theater criticism program for young women, CONTEXT: Discourse and Discussion community forums, and a theater-wide Internship Program, the Goodman and the Women's Board strive to engage audiences in deeper explorations of the work on the Goodman's stages.

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