WP Theater’s 32nd Annual Women of Achievement Awards Gala took place March, 27, 2017 at the Edison Ballroom. The evening, which was hosted by Tony Award Winner & Grammy Nominee Lena Hall, honored Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe-nominated Debra Messing; and President of BBC Worldwide North America Anne M. Sarnoff.

On hand to perform and present were The Bengsons (Hundred Days), Youtube sensation Christina Bianco, Kate Lear (Of Mice and Men), Kathy Najimy (Sister Act films), and Genny Lis Padilla (ON YOUR FEET!)

WP’s Annual Gala celebrates truly outstanding women who have taken risks, pushed limits, and broken ground in a wide variety of fields. In 2017 we were pleased to honor leaders committed to advancing women’s narratives and to sharing women’s voices on stage, in film and on television. WP is thrilled to count these women as allies in our mission to develop, produce, and promote the work of female-identified artists at every stage in their careers.

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DEBRA MESSING is best known for her role on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe-nominated comedy series Will & Grace.

This January, NBC ordered ten episodes of a Will & Grace revival with the entire original creative team, which is scheduled to air during the 2017-18 television season.

Most recently, Messing starred in the NBC series The Mysteries of Laura, which premiered in 2014. In 2012 and 2013, Messing starred as Julia Houston in NBC’s Smash, a musical drama about the creation of a new Broadway show. In 2014, Messing made her own Broadway debut in the Tony Award-nominated production of John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar. Other theater credits include Donald Marguiles’ Pulitzer Prize finalist Collected Stories, and Paul Rudnick’s Off-Broadway play The Naked Truth.

Messing’s film work includes the box office hit Along Came Polly and The Wedding Date. Messing starred in The Women and the family comedy, Nothing Like The Holidays. She also co-starred in Woody Allen’s Hollywood Ending, and The Mothman Prophecies. Messing won a Best Featured Actress Award for her work in the 2015 Indie drama Like Sunday Like Rain.

In 2017, Messing will star as Marjorie Houseman in ABC’s three-hour remake of Dirty Dancing, premiering May 24th.

Messing is the Global Health Ambassador for Population Services International (PSI) focusing on HIV/AIDS. She has traveled extensively in Africa in this role and in 2010 testified before the House Foreign Affairs sub-committee on Africa and Global Health. She was also a key speaker at the 2012 AIDS conference in DC. Other charities Messing supports include HRC (Human Rights Campaign), Everytown for Gun Safety, and Joyful Heart Foundation. She was honored with The Trevor Life Award for her contributions to the LGBT community.

Messing attended Brandeis University and received her MFA from NYU. She resides in New York.

As President, BBC Worldwide North America, Ann Sarnoff is responsible for leading the company’s businesses in the U.S. and Canada which includes two studios—BBC Worldwide Productions, producers of the smash hit “Dancing with the Stars” and drama series “The Night Of,” and Adjacent Productions—linear and digital program sales, home entertainment, licensing, live events, and e-commerce. She also oversees the amplification of BBC Worldwide’s global brands “Doctor Who,” “Top Gear,” and natural history brand BBC Earth.

Prior to BBC Worldwide, Sarnoff was President of Dow Jones Ventures and Senior Vice President of Strategy, where she was responsible for leveraging the assets of Dow Jones to create new businesses, while overseeing corporate strategy and business development. Before that, she was COO for the Women’s National Basketball Association, during which she helped to rebrand and expand the league.  Sarnoff also spent ten years at Viacom, where she was Nickelodeon’s Executive Vice President for Consumer Products and Business Development, and subsequently became COO for VH1 and CMT.  While at Viacom, Sarnoff helped launch new cable channels TV Land, Noggin, and VH1 Classic, and built Nickelodeon consumer products into a multi-billion-dollar business at retail.

Sarnoff sits on the board of HSN, Inc., a $3B interactive multi-channel retailer, and recently joined the board of Georgetown University. She is the Vice President of The Women’s Forum of New York and the Vice-Chair of the advisory board of the McDonough School of Business. She also serves on the board of the Harvard Business School Women’s Association of New York, the advisory board of British American Business, the Digital Task Force for New York Public Radio, and is a former board member of ART:21. For the past six years, Sarnoff has been named one of the Most Powerful Women in Cable by CableFAX Magazine.


LENA HALL is a Tony Award winner and Grammy nominee for her critically acclaimed performance in Hedwig and The Angry Inch on Broadway. Hall has toured the US and Canada with Josh Groban on the Stages tour and is currently starring alongside Oscar Winner Marisa Tomei in Lincoln Center’s How To Transcend A Happy Marriage. TV and Film includes “Girls”, “Good Girls Revolt” and “Sex and the City”. Her sold out solo show “Sin and Salvation” recorded live at The Carlyle is available on iTunes. @LenaRockerHall