Inside Off The Lane’s 2nd Annual Empower Artists Gala


Last Monday, November 8, just two days away from the late Ann Reinking’s birthday, Off The Lane hosted its 2nd annual Empower Artists Gala, announcing its first Ann Reinking Fellowship winner, Vivianna DeSantiago. The night was hosted by Marilu Henner (Chicago, Taxi, Grease, Over Here !, Getting the Band Back Together) and featured special performances by Off The Lane Mentee, Samantha Roberts and Rachel Sabo-Hedges and an incredible finale from Today / Hot. Honey Rag by Bianca Marroquin (Chicago, Fosse / Verdon, The Pajama Game, In the Heights) and Brenda Braxton (Chicago, DreamGirls, Smokey Joe’s Cafe).

Check out the photos below!

Throughout the evening there was a resonant theme of celebrating community, family reunions and hope for the future. Vivianna’s one-year scholarship with Off The Lane includes one-on-one mentoring, monetary grant, community events, and workshops, and was sweetened further by the surprise announcement of a partnership with Steps on Broadway. Joe Lanteri and the amazing Steps team graciously offered to host Vivianna for 10 classes / week for an entire year.

Ann Reinking has always said “Joy is in the work”, and tonight’s event was nothing but joy. A great reunion with Annie’s friends and colleagues, a celebration of the mentoring and BOOST programs, which have become a necessary lifeline for young creatives looking to move to New York and early career artists, and turning to towards a very bright future.

To further support the Ann Reinking Scholarship Program, Peter Talbert, the Ann Reinking Fundraising Committee and Timothy Jay Candles have created a limited edition of Annie’s Joy Candle, inspired by some of Annie’s favorite scents. Candles will only be available until the end of the year.

To buy Annie’s Joy:

Check out Vivianna’s acceptance speech and Joe Lanteri’s surprise announcement:

To donate to Off The Lane:


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