National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) hosted its largest annual fundraiser, the Backyard Ball Performance and Gala, a culmination of YoungArts signature program, National YoungArts Week. Ball was presented by MaxMara and emceed by Tony and Grammy Award-winning actor, singer and director, YoungArts Alumnus Billy Porter. Co-chaired by Tracey and Bruce Berkowitz and Armando and Margarita Codina, as well as 35th Anniversary Committee Chairperson Sarah Arison, the celebratory evening honored all 2016 YoungArts Winners and included a series of performance vignettes, directed by Tony Yazbeck, featuring YoungArts alumni.
Two years ago director and actress Rosie Perez attended the National YoungArts Foundation’s Backyard Ball to present an achievement award to Broadway star and actress Rita Moreno. This year, she herself accepted Arison Award, together with director Robert Wilson, as well as performer, Tony Award nominee, and 1997 YoungArts Winner in Theater, Tony Yazbeck with the Arison Alumni Award, for their outstanding contributions and indelible impact on the arts. Backyard Ball concluded with YoungArts Backyard Bash under the stars on the plaza of the YoungArts campus, with music by DJ Cassidy.