Crown Awards Special Guests
Jennifer Ashton, MD
Dr. Jennifer Ashton is ABC News Chief Health and Medical Correspondent. As part of the ABC News medical unit, she reports on major health and wellness issues across all ABC News platforms. She also reports the latest breaking medical news for “GMA3: What You Need to Know,” informing viewers about how to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic and beyond.
Ashton has been at the forefront of ABC News’ COVID-19 coverage, recently visiting the NIH Vaccine Development Lab, reporting on their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development and the White House, meeting with Vice President Pence and White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. Ashton also interviewed National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Anthony Fauci.
For the past nine years, she has reported on the biggest medical and health stories including the rising U.S. maternal mortality crisis, the increase in suicide and mental illness, and the mysterious AFM (acute flaccid myelitis) outbreak.
Before joining ABC News, Ashton was the senior medical correspondent for CBS News and appeared on “The Early Show” and “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.” In 2010, she traveled to Haiti with a medical team, treating victims of the earthquake for eight days and shared her experiences on CBS News. She was also a co-host on the syndicated talk show “The Doctors” for 3 years, a regular expert guest on “The Dr. Oz Show,” and has appeared on TLC and PBS.
Ashton’s works have been recognized by the American Heart Association for her work as a women’s health advocate, The Girl Scouts, The October Woman Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness, the Policemen’s Benevolent Association Medal of Honor for providing emergency medical care to injured Englewood police officers, the city of Englewood for heroic service to Haitian earthquake victims, and she was awarded a Columbia Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for Excellence in Journalism.
She is double board-certified in OB-GYN and obesity medicine and has a master’s degree in nutrition, making her the only physician with a national media platform who is also credentialed in nutrition. Dr. Ashton is a national best-selling author including her most recent books, “Life After Suicide” and “The Self-Care Solution”. Ashton received her medical degree from Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and her post-graduate training in women’s health and surgery at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City. She currently lives in NYC and Connecticut with her two children and maintains a private medical practice in New Jersey where she treats girls and women of all ages.
Brian Stokes Mitchell
Dubbed “the last leading man” by The New York Times, Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a career that spans Broadway, television, film, and concert appearances with the country’s finest conductors and orchestras.
He received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for his star turn in "Kiss Me, Kate". He also gave Tony-nominated performances in "Man of La Mancha", August Wilson’s "King Hedley II", and "Ragtime". Other notable Broadway shows include "Kiss of the Spider Woman", "Jelly’s Last Jam", "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown", and "Shuffle Along". In 2016 he was awarded his second Tony Award, the prestigious Isabelle Stevenson Tony for his charitable work with the Actors Fund. That same year Stokes was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.
An extremely versatile and in-demand singer, Stokes has performed at venues spanning jazz, opera, pops, country, and musical theater worlds. He has worked with John Williams, Marvin Hamlisch, Gustavo Dudamel, Keith Lockhart, Michael Tilson Thomas, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Big Band, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Muppets. Stokes has made multiple appearances at Carnegie Hall beginning with his debut with the San Francisco Symphony through his televised performance in "South Pacific" opposite Reba McEntire to his sold-out solo concert, which he continues to perform throughout the U.S. He has been invited twice to perform at the White House (both times aired on PBS’s “Great Performances”) and has performed multiple times for Presidents Clinton and Obama.
Stokes has delved deeply into various music disciplines. In addition to singing he began piano studies at the age of 6. A self-professed autodidact, his musical curiosity led him to teach himself composing, arranging and orchestration, starting in his teens. He later studied, film scoring, orchestration, and conducting both privately and through UCLA and subsequently scored and conducted a number of “Trapper John, MD” episodes, a series on which he was also a regular cast member. His musical talent has extended to the present day as producer, arranger and orchestrator on his three solo albums including Simply Broadway and his latest recording Plays With Music. Stokes has appeared on more than 20 albums.
His extensive screen credits began with a guest starring role on “Roots: The Next Generations”, followed by a 7-year stint on "Trapper John, MD" and have continued with memorable appearances on everything from PBS’s "Great Performances" to "The Fresh Prince", "Frasier", "Glee", "Jumping the Broom" and his most recent recurring roles on "Madam Secretary", "Mr. Robot", "The Path", "Billions" and "The Good Fight". Other recent TV appearances include "The Blacklist", "Elementary", and "Bull". As a voice-over artist he has played dozens of characters on animated TV episodes including performing “Through Heaven’s Eyes” in Dreamwork’s “The Prince of Egypt."
As a writer Stokes has contributed to the book Hirschfeld’s Harlem, wrote the preface to "At This Theatre", and co-authored the children’s book "Lights on Broadway".
For fun he has been known to fly planes and jump out of them (usually not at the same time), and he can ride a bicycle on a high wire.
Stokes has enjoyed working with numerous charitable organizations from the March of Dimes to the USO. He is on the board of Americans For the Arts and is serving his 14th term as Chairman of the Board of the Actors Fund
Tedd Firth is a New York City based musical director, pianist, and arranger. As musical director and accompanist he has worked with Bernadette Peters, Michael Feinstein, Barbara Cook, Maureen McGovern, Marilyn Maye, Elaine Paige, Tom Wopat, Leslie Uggams, Joshua Bell, Tony DeSare, Linda Lavin, Christine Ebersole, Lucie Arnaz, Lee Ann Womack, Faith Prince, John Schneider, Betty Buckley, Karen Akers, Mary Cleere Haran, Margaret Whiting, Carol Sloane, and of course, Brian Stokes Mitchell.
Among the jazz musicians he has performed or recorded with are John Pizzarelli, Houston Person, Frank Wess, Mark Whitfield, Red Holloway, Benny Golson, and Joe Morello.
Recent highlights include being the musical director for the reunion of the original Broadway cast of "Into The Woods" at the Segerstrom Center For The Arts in Costa Mesa, CA as well as serving as musical director for Michael Feinstein's “Jazz and Popular Song” concert series at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
New York appearances include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Blue Note, Birdland, the Iridium, the Algonquin, the Cafe Carlyle, and Feinstein's at the Regency. Numerous national appearances include a performance at the White House.
As an arranger and orchestrator, Tedd's work has been performed by all major American symphony orchestras as well as Liza Minnelli. In 2013, Tedd was commissioned by the New York Pops to create new orchestrations for “A Charlie Brown Christmas” which has had numerous performances across the country in subsequent years.
Television appearances include "The Today Show," "Live From Lincoln Center", and "All My Children.”