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Neil Simon The Kennedy Center Presents: The 2006 Mark Twain Prize celebrating Neil Simon
Neil Simon
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Recipient Neil Simon
All-Star Cast
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The All-Star Cast


Neil Simon was joined by an all-star cast of actors, performers and musicians. Please check back for video of the performances.

Jason Alexander

Christina Applegate

Lucie Arnaz

Matthew Broderick

Richard Dreyfuss

Heather Headley

Patricia Heaton

Jane Kaczmarek

Robert Klein

Nathan Lane

Robert Redford

Paul Reiser

Jonathan Silverman

Allen Toussaint

 
Jason Alexander
Jason Alexander
Photo: Scott Suchman

While his former "Seinfeld" character George Costanza might have slid from smugness to paranoia to disintegration after any personal triumph, seven-time Emmy nominee Jason Alexander has managed to negotiate the perils of success just fine.

For the big screen he executive produced the family film hit Agent Cody Banks and the recent sequel, Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, also lending his recognizable pipes to Disney's 101 Dalmatians II. On television he's gone from being a guest star on "Malcolm in the Middle" to a presenter at the 46th annual Grammy Awards. His new children's book for Scholastic, Dad, Are You the Tooth Fairy?, was released in May 2005.

Tony-winner Alexander sang, danced, joked and schemed for eight months at L.A.'s Pantages Theatre, starring opposite Martin Short in the regional production of Mel Brooks' hit Broadway musical The Producers, wrapping his run in early January, 2004. In the role of Max Bialystock, Alexander earned kudos and even inspired former "Seinfeld" creator Larry David to write himself into the same role, albeit fictitiously, for his HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

For Alexander, nine seasons as hapless schlep George Costanza on NBC's "Seinfeld" was a high point in a career on stage, screen and television. For his portrayal of George, Alexander earned six Emmy and four Golden Globe nominations, an American Television Award and two American Comedy Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series. The Screen Actors Guild went one step higher and knighted him Best Actor in a Comedy Series, despite his role as a supporting actor.

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Christina Applegate
Christina Applegate
Photo: Scott Suchman

Christina Applegate has garnered critical praise for her strength and versatility as an actress in theater, film and television. After receiving accolades for her performance starring alongside Cameron Diaz and Selma Blair in the raucous comedy The Sweetest Thing, Applegate's range of skill has landed her numerous roles in both independent and studio projects. Her feature film credits include Surviving Christmas for director Mike Mitchell, the DreamWorks comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the dark comedy Employee of the Month, the indie film Grand Theft Parsons for director David Caffrey, Lionsgate Films' Wonderland, Miramax's View From the Top, Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, and Mars Attacks!

Most recently, Applegate made her Broadway debut in the revival of Sweet Charity, in the starring role of Charity Hope Valentine. For her role, Applegate was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical as well as a Drama Desk Award in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Musical and a Theatre World Award.

As the sexy and sarcastic Kelly Bundy on the long-running Fox series, "Married With Children," Applegate gained widespread attention. After a very successful 11-season run, she furthered her television success by starring in her own NBC comedy series, "Jesse." The highly rated show garnered Applegate a 1999 People's Choice Award as Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series, a 1999 TV Guide Award as Favorite Star of a New Series, and a 1999 Golden Globe nomination in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series, Comedy or Musical.

In 2003, Applegate returned to television as a guest on "Friends" as Rachel's (Jennifer Aniston) younger sister Amy. Her performance earned her an Emmy Award in the category of "Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series" for her role. She was nominated for an Emmy once again in 2004 for her witty performance.

Applegate currently resides in Los Angeles.

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Lucie Arnaz
Lucie Arnaz
Photo: Scott Suchman

Lucie Arnaz began her long career in a recurring role on the television program The Lucy Show. At age fifteen, she became a series regular on Here's Lucy, a show which ran for six seasons. She later starred in her own series, The Lucie Arnaz Show and later in the critically acclaimed Sons & Daughters on CBS.

On the stage, Lucie first created the role of Kathy in the west coast premier of Vanities at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. She then hit Broadway starring as Gittel Mosca in the national company of the musical Seesaw. She spent a summer at The Jones Beach Theatre in New York, in the starring role of Annie Oakley in the play Annie Get Your Gun. Broadway beckoned her back and she went on to star as the unforgettably wacky Sonia Wolsk in the Neil Simon/Marvin Hamlisch musical They're Playing Our Song. Lucie appeared in the American premiere of Educating Rita and starred in the national tours of Whose Life is it Anyway? and I Do! I Do! The reviews were outstanding for her re-creation of one of Lynn Fontanne's great roles in a revival of The Guardsman after which Lucie went on to star opposite Tommy Tune in the international company of the acclaimed Gershwin musical My One and Only. Under the direction of Mike Nichols, she toured nationally in the Andrew Bergman comedy Social Security. Lucie returned to the Broadway stage where she received rave reviews for her portrayal of Bella in the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play, Lost in Yonkers, written by Neil Simon.

Most recently, Lucie marked her return to Broadway in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in which she had the wonderful opportunity to be seduced by Jonathan Pryce, Keith Carradine and Greg Jabara!

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Matthew Broderick
Matthew Broderick
Photo: Scott Suchman

A two-time Tony award-winning stage actor and instantly recognizable film presence, Matthew Broderick currently began production in the feature film Then She Found Me opposite Helen Hunt. Broderick recently finished production in the feature film Deck the Halls alongside Danny Devito which will open later this year. Most recently, he starred in the feature film version of The Producers reprising the Tony nominated performance he gave on Broadway in this smash hit musical.

In 2005 he starred in the blockbuster Broadway production of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple on Broadway. He starred in the hit off-Broadway play, The Foreigner, at the Roundabout Theatre.

A New York native, made his professional stage debut opposite his father, James Broderick, at age 17 in the production of On Valentine's Day. His performance in Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy, won him the Outer Critic's Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor. Broderick won his first Tony Award for Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs, and starred in the play's sequel Biloxi Blues. He won his second Tony for his role as J. Pierrepont Finch, in the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Godzilla, Addicted to Love, The Cable Guy and Inspector Gadget.

Broderick resides in New York with his wife Sarah Jessica Parker and son, James Wilke Broderick.

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Richard Dreyfuss
Richard Dreyfuss
Photo: Scott Suchman

Richard Dreyfuss has relied on intelligence, energy and incredible talent to gain and keep his place among the leading actors of the American cinema. Three of his films, in fact, were recently included in the American Film Institute's list of the greatest 100 films. One of his notable roles was as the teacher in "Mr. Holland's Opus," for which he received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor. At age 29, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in "The Goodbye Girl.

Dreyfuss, like many other actors, began his career on stage, but few have returned to their theatrical roots as steadfastly as he with starring roles in "The Hands of Its Enemy," "The Normal Heart", the Broadway production of "Death and the Maiden" with Glenn Close and Gene Hackman, and "Three Hotels" with Christine Lahti at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, to name a few. He also directed "Hamlet" for The Birmingham Theatre Company at the Old Rep in England, marking his bow as a director. He is a charter member of the Los Angeles Theatre Works, a radio ensemble company. He recently starred as Mark Anthony in the BBC Radio/ KCRW production of Julius Caesar, as Benedict Arnold in " An American General", and in George Bernard Shaw's "Devil's Disciple" in Washington, DC. Dreyfuss could recently be seen in the play "The Exonerated" off Broadway.

Dreyfuss has three children: Emily, Benjamin, and Harry, and resides in London and New York.

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Heather Headley
Heather Headley
Photo: Scott Suchman

Born in Barataria, Trinidad, Heather Headley was blessed with two creative, supportive parents, both ministers, who lovingly encouraged her passions. She learned to play the piano at the tender age of 4, competing in talent contests, and later, immersing herself in her Christian upbringing and the soothing sounds of her eclectic culture, becoming musically versed in calypso, soka, and reggae. Even though she and her family moved to Ft. Wayne, Indiana when she was 15 years old (her father accepting a Pastorship there), Trinidad remains the spiritual and traditional compass for the vocalist whenever she begins to feel her own life may be moving too fast.

Heather wisely brought that sense of culture and self reliance with her to Indiana, and eventually to college at Northwestern University where she majored in musical theater and communications. In 1997 Disney recruited her for the role of Nala in the history-making debut of the Tony Award winning musical, The Lion King, following that up with the marquee role in the Elton John/Tim Rice show Aida, and Heather's show business career was cemented. A 2000 Tony Award for her star-making performance in the show affirmed her power-vocalist pedigree, and soon RCA came a-knocking.

This Is Who I Am, her debut album, was released in 2002, achieving gold status, and earning Heather two Soul Train Awards, for Best R&B Soul Album of The Year and Best Solo R&B/Soul New Artist Award. She also received dual nods from both the BET Awards and NAACP Awards, as well as earning two Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best R&B Vocalist.

Her second studio album, In My Mind, is the kind of soulful, sonically charged diary where lessons-learned meet musical purpose accomplished, grabbing the listener at its mesmerizing center of gravity, which just happens to emanate from the one and only Heather herself. Trace the map Heather has traveled to get to the place of renewal that In My Mind inhabits and you'll find a determined young girl steeped in a faithful, can-do attitude even from her earliest years.

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Patricia Heaton
Patricia Heaton
Photo: Scott Suchman

A talented actress whose career spans television, theater and film, Patricia Heaton has been honored with two consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and she has been nominated for 11 Screen Actors Awards for her portrayal of Debra Barone on CBS' top rated series, "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Heaton was most recently seen in the romantic comedy, "The Engagement Ring" on TNT. She also appeared in "The Path to 9/11" for ABC. Recently, she revived the role of Paula, in a contemporary version of the original Neil Simon classic "The Goodbye Girl," opposite Jeff Daniels, for TNT.

Heaton's television credits include roles on the series' "Room for Two," "Someone Like Me," "Women of the House," and the critically acclaimed "thirtysomething." She also starred in the television movie, "Miracle in the Woods," with Della Reese, and the CBS holiday movie, "A Town Without Christmas."

Heaton is married with four sons and resides in Los Angeles with her husband, actor David Hunt.

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Jane Kaczmarek
Jane Kaczmarek
Photo: Scott Suchman

Jane Kaczmarek has starred for the past seven years in the Emmy Award winning TV series Malcolm in the Middle. She has been nominated for seven consecutive Emmy awards, as well as numerous Golden Globe, and SAG awards and has won the American Comedy Award and the Television Critic's Award for two consecutive years, the first woman to ever receive such an honor. Kaczmarek will next be seen on the ABC comedy Help Me, Help You opposite Ted Danson.

Other television appearances include Felicity, Equal Justice, Paper Chase: the Second Year, Party of Five, Frasier, The Practice, St. Elsewhere, and Hill Street Blues. Film credits include Pleasantville, Vice Versa, DOA, Falling in Love, and Uncommon Valor. In New York, Kaczmarek appeared on Broadway in Lost in Yonkers and in plays at the Manhattan Theatre Club, The Public, Second Stage, Long Wharf, New York Stage and Film, and the Berkshire and Williamstown Theatre Festivals. In Los Angeles she appeared in Kindertransport for which she received an Ovation Award. She starred in the premiere of the Pulitzer Prize winning Dinner With Friends at South Coast Repertory where she also appeared in Raised in Captivity for which she won the LA Drama Critics Award.

She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and The Yale School of Drama, and is the founder of the Clothes Off Our Back Foundation which auctions celebrity award show finery to benefit children's charities. She is married to actor Bradley Whitford of The West Wing with whom she has three children.

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Robert Klein
Robert Klein
Photo: Scott Suchman

For more than forty years, Robert Klein has entertained audiences. He has had an acclaimed career in comedy, on Broadway, on television, and in film. Born in the Bronx, he was a member of the famed Second City theatrical troupe in Chicago in the 1960s. Twice he was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album of the Year: Child of the Fifties (1973) and Mind Over Matter (1974). He received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor and won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his performance in the hit Neil Simon musical They're Playing Our Song in 1979. In 1993, Klein won an Obie and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in Wendy Wasserstein's The Sisters Rosensweig.

In 1975, Klein was the first comedian to appear in a live concert on Home Box Office. He has done seven one-man shows for HBO. He was a star of the hit NBC series Sisters and has made more than 100 appearances on The Tonight Show and The Late Show with David Letterman. Notable films include Hooper, The Owl and the Pussycat, Two Weeks Notice, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Robert recently completed his first book for Simon & Schuster, an affectionate coming-of-age memoir about growing up in the '50s and '60s before embarking on a show business career. In "The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue," he recounts his journey from an apartment in the Bronx, developing his talent in Chicago and the beginning of his show business stardom that is pure Robert Klein: witty, honest, self-questioning and always contagiously funny. Publishers Weekly writes: "...he unfurls an array of captivating anecdotes, writing with wry wit and honesty."

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Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane
Photo: Scott Suchman

Equally successful on stage, screen and television, Nathan Lane was last seen in the movie version of the Tony-Award winning musical The Producers, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, reprising the role he created in the smash hit Broadway musical. Most recently, he starred in the blockbuster Broadway production of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple on Broadway in 2005. His wildly acclaimed portrayal of Max Bialystock won Lane the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a musical. In addition, Nathan won the Olivier Award for his performance in The Producers in London. Nathan in 2005 also starred in Stephen Sondheim's adaptation of Aristophanes' The Frogs at Lincoln Center, for which he wrote the book. Nathan can next be seen starring as Butley on Broadway in October 2006.

Among other Broadway credits are: 'Buzz' in Terrence McNally's Love! Valor! Compassion! (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Obie Awards); 'Max Prince' in Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor; 'Nathan Detroit' in Guys and Dolls (Drama Desk & Outer Critics Circle Awards, Tony Nomination); Present Laughter (Drama Desk nomination) and On Borrowed Time with George C. Scott; Merlin; The Wind in the Willows; Some Americans Abroad and the national tour of Neil Simon's Broadway Bound. Early in the 2001 Broadway season, Lane starred in the Roundabout Theater Company's revival of The Man Who Came to Dinner.

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Robert Redford
Robert Redford
Photo: Scott Suchman

Robert Redford is somewhat of an anomaly in the entertainment industry. Though he has been world-famous for some 30 years, he remains a highly private individual. He is an ardent conservationist and environmentalist, a man who stands for social responsibility and political involvement and an artist and businessman who is a staunch supporter of uncompromised creative expression. His passion remains to make films of substance and social/cultural relevance, as well as to encourage others to express themselves through the arts.

He is recognized the world over for the roles he has played and the projects he has directed or produced throughout a distinguished stage and film career. Believing that it is the unexpected and uncommon, which ultimately enlivens the cultural ecology of a society, Redford has nurtured more than a generation of innovative voices in independent film through his non-profit Sundance Institute and Film Festival. Harvard Business Review observed, "Sundance has become to Hollywood what Silicon Valley has been to the high-tech industry." His life-long passion for nature and issues of justice has resulted in Redford being widely acknowledged as a highly effective and dedicated political and environmental activist.

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Paul Reiser
Paul Reiser
Photo: Scott Suchman

As a seasoned actor, writer, and stand-up comedian, Paul Reiser continues to add to his list of accomplishments. In addition to co-creating and starring in the critically acclaimed NBC series, "Mad About You," which garnered him Emmy, Golden Globe, American Comedy Award and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Best Actor in a Comedy Series, his successes also include his book Couplehood, which sold over two million copies and reached the number one spot on The New York Times bestseller list and Babyhood, his follow-up book which features his trademark humorous take on the adventures of being a first-time father, which also made The New York Times bestseller list.

Remembered for notable performances in films such as "Diner," "Bye, Bye Love," "The Marrying Man," "Aliens," "One Night at McCool's" and "Beverly Hills Cop" ("I" and "II"), Reiser more recently starred in two original movies for Showtime—"Strange Relations," opposite Julie Walters, and Chazz Palminteri's "Men vs. Women," opposite Joe Mantegna and Christine Lahti.

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Jonathan Silverman
Jonathan Silverman
 

Jonathan Silverman has starred in over 30 motion pictures, several Broadway plays and his own top ten television series. His film work includes CLASS ACTION with Gene Hackman, STEALING HOME with Jodie Foster, BROADWAY BOUND with Anne Bancroft, BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS with Blythe Danner, the sequel to THE ODD COUPLE with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon and the cult comedy, WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S.

Jonathan's recent film credits include the independent feature LAURA SMILES opening in October. LAURA SMILES recently won the Emerging Filmmaker Award at the 2006 Denver Film Festival and is continuing to receive critical acclaim from festivals nationwide. In addition, he has completed roles in the films THE TV SET directed by Jake Kasdan and COFFEE DATE, an irreverent comedy of sexual confusion. He also appeared in THE COOKOUT starring Queen Latifah and Danny Glover.

On Broadway, Jonathan created the role of 'Eugene Morris Jerome' in Neil Simon's BROADWAY BOUND after starring in Mr. Simon's successful Broadway runs of BILOXI BLUES and BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS. Last season he starred with John Spencer in GLIMMER, GLIMMER AND SHINE by Tony Award winning playwright Warren Leight for the Mark Taper Forum.

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Allen Toussaint
Allen Toussaint
Photo: Scott Suchman

Allen Toussaint, singer, pianist, songwriter, arranger and producer—the New Orleans native's massive influence on American music reaches deep into the idioms of rhythm and blues, pop, country, and jazz.

Toussaint has been an integral part of New Orleans' musical landscape since the late fifties. Two of his earliest tunes, "Java" (a mega-hit for trumpeter Al Hirt) and "Whipped Cream" (the Herb Alpert hit and the theme for The Dating Game) became instrumental standards. Some of the best known hits penned by Toussaint include: Ernie K-Doe's "Mother-in-Law;" "Fortune Teller," recorded by The Rolling Stones; the Lee Dorsey hit "Working in the Coal Mine", covered by Devo and The Judds; and the Grammy-nominated, "Southern Nights," recorded by Glen Campbell, which received BMI's "Most Performed Song of the Year" in 1977 and won the CMA's "Song of the Year." Toussaint churned out some of the most seminal recordings of the disco era, including Dr. John's "Right Place, Wrong Time" and Labelle's "Lady Marmalade," while his horn arrangements were featured on the legendary The Band's "Rock of Ages," recording. He has produced, been covered by and/or performed with artists Etta James, Albert King, The Meters, Ramsey Lewis, the Pointer Sisters, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Palmer, Otis Redding, The O'Jays, Boz Scaggs, Paul Simon, Chet Atkins, and many others. His latest release is a collaboration with Elvis Costello, entitled the River in Reverse; it is a songbook for Toussaint's songs and a few Costello/Toussaint penned tunes.

Toussaint is revered for his distinguished record in public service, devoting his talents to a variety of community and charity programs. In 1998 he was inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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