Jane Fonda Praised for Peace Work at Pasadena Playhouse Gala

Martin Sheen touched on a rare topic among honoree Jane Fonda’s friends on Saturday night at the Pasadena Playhouse gala when he talked about her visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, decades ago.

“She risked everything to awaken the slumber of this nation. Very early, Jane found something to fight for,” he said about his “Grace and Frankie” co-star, calling it her “self-sacrifice to work on peace” to applause from the crowd. Many Americans are still steamed at Fonda for that visit to the North Vietnamese capital back then.

Fonda, in her acceptance speech, talked about her love for community theater coming from her father, Henry, who started his career at the Omaha Playhouse in Nebraska.

“When a community has a hub like this, it’s the heart of the community,” she said. “It’s a nationally famous theater, but the value to the community cannot be overemphasized.”

Also honored was Richard Perry, whose “Baby It’s You” started its journey to Broadway at the Pasadena Playhouse. “It’s a distinct pleasure to be here, brings back great memories,” he said.

The gala, emceed by Sandra Tsing Loh and dubbed “A Night in the Catskills,” included performances by Sam Harris, Freda Payne and Geno Henderson. It included an auction that helped raise funds for the nearly 100-year-old Pasadena Playhouse with such items as Adele concert tickets, tickets to “Conan” show taping and a walk-on role in this year’s “Panto at the Playhouse.”

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