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Danai Gurira Honored at Steppenwolf Women in the Arts Luncheon

Danai Gurira Honored at Steppenwolf Women in the Arts Luncheon
Steppenwolf Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro, 10​th Anniversary Honoree Danai Gurira, Steppenwolf Executive Director David Schmitz. (Photo credit: Kyle Flubacker and Tony Favarula)

Danai Gurira, the award-winning actor and playwright, was honored by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company at its 10th anniversary Women in the Arts fundraising luncheon on Dec. 10 at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel.

During the event,The Walking Dead star, who graced a cover of EBONY magazine earlier this year, spoke with Steppenwolf Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro and Education Manager Jared Bellot about her activism, philanthropy and award-winning plays including Familiar, which is currently on stage at the theater.

10th Anniversary Steppenwolf Women in Arts Luncheon. (Photo credit: Kyle Flubacker and Tony Favarula)

“I’ve always thought of our June 2018 cover star Danai Gurira as the face of the megasuccessful film Black Panther, but what I failed to realize is that she is incredibly well-rounded,” said Brett Jeffries, EBONY director of brand marketing, who attended the luncheon.

Jeffries added, “Not only is she an award-winning actor, but she also focuses on gender equality and women’s rights through her work with the United Nations as a Goodwill Ambassador. And if that weren’t enough, she’s a very talented playwright, which is evident in her brilliant work as the author of Familiar. Danai is Black girl magic. Kudos to Steppenwolf Theatre for selecting her as this year’s Women in Arts honoree.”

The luncheon brought together 300 leaders from Chicago’s business and civic communities to honor Gurira for her impact on the theater industry. Notable guests included Steppenwolf ensemble members, Scandal star Jeff Perry and Familiar actor Celeste M. Cooper among them.

The event raised $200,000 for the theater’s educational and professional development programs, which include the lauded Steppenwolf for Young Adults and the School at Steppenwolf, as well as the Professional Leadership Programs that provide apprenticeships, fellowships and internships for future arts managers and producers.

Tickets for Familiar, which start at $20, can be purchased from Steppenwolf.org. The play runs through Jan. 13. 2019.

Check out images from the fundraising event below.

10th Anniversary Honoree Danai Gurira and Steppenwolf co-founder and ensemble member Jeff Perry. (Photo credit: Kyle Flubacker and Tony Favarula)

Julie Sacks, First Lady of Chicago Amy Rule, 10th Anniversary Honoree Danai Gurira, Steppenwolf Trustee Cari B. Sacks, Sally Garon. (Photo credit: Kyle Flubacker and Tony Favarula)

10th Anniversary Women in the Arts Co-Chair and Steppenwolf Trustee Stephanie B. Smith greeting honoree Danai Gurira, with Steppenwolf Executive Director David Schmitz and Steppenwolf Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro. (Photo credit: Kyle Flubacker and Tony Favarula)

10th Anniversary Honoree Danai Gurira with Steppenwolf cast members from her play ‘Familiar,’ Steppenwolf ensemble member Celeste M. Cooper and Cheryl Lynn Bruce. (Photo credit: Kyle Flubacker and Tony Favarula)

10th Anniversary Honoree Danai Gurira poses with guests. (Photo credit: Kyle Flubacker and Tony Favarula)

10th Anniversary Co-Chair and Steppenwolf Trustee Stephanie Smith, 10th Anniversary Honoree Danai Gurira, Gerald Smith. (Photo credit: Kyle Flubacker and Tony Favarula)

10th Anniversary Honoree Danai Gurira poses with members of the cast and crew from the Steppenwolf production of her play Familiar
; Luigi Sottile, Regina Victor, Nakia Avila, Steppenwolf ensemble member Celeste M. Cooper, Erik Hellman. (Photo credit: Kyle Flubacker and Tony Favarula)

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