Transport Group, the winner of a special 2007 Drama Desk Award and a 2007 Obie Award, has announced that its 2009  Gimme A Break! benefit will honor playwright Terrence McNally and director Joe Mantello Monday, Dec. 7 at 6:30pm , at Asia Society and Museum, 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street.

Gimme A Break! begins with a cocktail reception followed by a performance featuring Broadway stars sharing their “big break” experiences through stories and songs. McNally and Mantello will receive the Transporting American Theatre Award, which will be presented by John Glover (to McNally) and by Jon Robin Baitz (to Mantello).

Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen of [title of show] will serve as the evening’s hosts—and the evening’s performers include Brooks Ashmanskas (Tony nominee for Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me); Stephanie J. Block (Wicked, The Pirate Queen, Drama Desk nominee for 9 to 5); Rosie Perez, Martha Plimpton (three-time Tony nominee for Pal Joey, Top Girls, and The Coast of Utopia); Chita Rivera (three-time Tony winner for The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman) and Marian Seldes (Tony winner for A Delicate Balance).

Terrence McNally is the recipient of four Tony Awards: Love! Valour! Compassion!, Master Class, Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman.

His most recent play was Unusual Acts of Devotion at the La Jolla Playhouse and Philadelphia Theatre Company. He has written the books for the musicals The Full Monty, A Man of No Importance, The Visit and Catch Me If You Can and the libretto for the opera Dead Man Walking.

He won the Emmy Award for “Andre’s Mother.” There will be a celebration of his work at the Kennedy Center next spring, including the world premiere of a new play, Golden Age.

Joe Mantello is best known for his work as a director on the Broadway productions of Wicked, Take Me Out (Tony Award), Assassins (Tony Award), Love! Valour! Compassion! (Tony nomination), and 9 to 5.

He was a member of the original Broadway cast of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, for which he received a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play.

In 2007 Mantello directed The Ritz, his sixth production with playwright Terrence McNally. Mantello is a member of Naked Angels and an associate artist at the Roundabout Theater Company.

He is a recipient of Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Helen Hayes, Clarence Derwent, Obie and Joe A. Callaway awards.

Founded in 2001, Transport Group, under the leadership of Jack Cummings III , Artistic Director, and Lori Fineman, Executive Director, is a not-for-profit theatre company that develops and produces work by American playwrights and composers with the aim of exploring the American consciousness in the 20th and 21st centuries.

For tickets and more information please phone the Transport Group office at (212) 564-0333 or visit the transportgroup online.