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Clarence Brown Theatre to honor Emmy Award winner, Paula Pell


lloyd branson painting
Emmy Award winner Paula Pell. Image courtesy of Clarence Brown Theatre.

Emmy Award Winner and Former “Saturday Night Live” Writer, Paula Pell, will be honored at the Annual Clarence Brown Theatre Gala.

Pell will be awarded the CBT Artistic Achievement Award at the Clarence Brown Theatre’s annual Gala to be held May 20, 2016 from 7:00-11:00 pm at Jackson Terminal, 205 W. Jackson Avenue in Knoxville. Pell is an Illinois native and University of Tennessee alumna.

Famed behind-the-scenes comedy queen, Pell was a writer for Saturday Night Live for more than 20 years. During her time at SNL, she helped create memorable characters such as the “Spartan Cheerleaders” and later the middle school music teachers “The Culps” in addition to the ever-popular “Debbie Downer.”

Pell has often guest-starred and written episodes for TV’s hit series 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation. More recently, Pell did additional writing for blockbuster comedies Bridesmaids, This is 40, and The Heat, before writing her own screenplay – the 2015 hit Sisters, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Currently, Pell and fellow UT alum/SNL writer James Anderson star in their own web series, Hudson Valley Ballers, in which they play ex-SNL writers running a bed and breakfast in New York’s Hudson Valley. CBT Producing Artistic Director Cal MacLean states “This is going to be fun. Paula has been entertaining us from afar for years. It will be great to welcome her back to her alma mater to celebrate her success. I’m sure we will hear some great stories.”

The CBT Gala benefits the Clarence Brown Theatre Artists Endowment, which helps bring professional guest artists from across the United States to the CBT to engage and teach undergraduate and graduate students, all while creating the world-class, professional theatre experiences Greater Knoxville audiences have come to expect.

Modeled after Truman Capote’s Black & White Ball, 2016 CBT Gala attendees can expect an elegant evening with lots of laughs from the honoree herself. Guaranteed to be your favorite Friday evening of the year, attendees will enjoy cocktails, followed by a lavish full-course meal with Honoree Pell, MacLean, Managing Director David B. Byrd, and passionate theater-goers from the Greater Knoxville area. The evening will also include a Live Auction for extravagant and exciting packages, including coveted tickets to a Saturday Night Live performance and a one-night hotel stay in the Big Apple, among many others. CBT 2016 Gala Chair Lyle Irish exclaims, "The Clarence Brown Theatre is excited to have Pell as its 2016 Gala Honoree. She is the latest in a list of stellar former honorees with ties to the University of Tennessee who are excelling in their artistic careers."

Want Paula Pell seated at your table? It isn’t too late! Corporate and individual sponsorship packages are available now.

Tickets go on sale April 18. For more information, please visit

Published March 13, 2016

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