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Roundabout Theatre Company receives $2 million gift from Laura Pels International Foundation

The funds directly support the Broadway nonprofit’s new play development.

The Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater recently gifted $2 million to Roundabout Theatre Company. The money goes directly to Roundabout’s Board Designated Reserve Fund.

The reserve fund supports Roundabout’s New Play Initiative, which steers the commission, development and production of new works by playwrights in all stages of their careers. 

Philanthropist and 28 year-member of Roundabout’s board of directors Laura Pels passed away in May 2023 at the age of 92. The recent contribution is the fulfillment of Pels’ pledge of $2 million during Roundabout’s 50th anniversary season (2015-2016).

Pels’ namesake theater, situated in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, serves as the organization’s Off-Broadway venue. Some of the productions that started at the Pels and transferred to Broadway include the 2016 Best Play Tony Award winner “The Humans” and 2017’s “Significant Other.”

Additionally, new leadership was announced for the Foundation. Julie Kinsella was named president, while Jack Brister was named executive director. Brister previously served on the Foundation’s board of directors, while Kinsella worked alongside the Foundation.

“We are pleased to lead the Foundation into its next chapter,” Kinsella said in a statement. “It is an honor to continue fulfilling Laura’s legacy and mission to support high quality theater in New York City and beyond.”

“We are deeply grateful to the Foundation,” added Scott Ellis, interim artistic director at Roundabout. “This landmark gift ensures that [Pels’] legacy will live on in the many Roundabout artists who share her courageous spirit.”