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Gabrielle Jaques, Publicist 



Photos can be downloaded here. 


Video of Michael Maso’s speech and surprise performance here. 



The Huntington community celebrated those who have made an extraordinary impact  on Greater Boston, the arts, and The Huntington – including playwright Paula Vogel, longstanding Managing Director Michael Maso, and Trustee David Leathers 


(BOSTON) – The Huntington held its annual Spotlight Gala on Monday, May 1, 2023 at the Cyclorama at the BCA (539 Tremont St). Over 400 attendees gathered to celebrate honorees as well as the achievement of this transformational season. The Gala supports The Huntington’s artistic, education, and community initiatives and this year set an all-time record with $1.67 million raised 


“The Huntington’s Spotlight Gala was both a tremendous success and a fantastic evening,” says Huntington Chairman of the Board Randy Peeler. “We are so grateful for the incredibly generous donors and sponsors whose contributions at the gala will have a vital impact on The Huntington as a public good for the City of Boston and beyond.” 


The Spotlight Gala honored three people who have made an extraordinary impact on The Huntington and the larger theatre community: Trustee David Leathers, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel, and Managing Director Michael Maso. 


David Leathers is a longtime Huntington Trustee and has been a tireless champion for The Huntington Theatre renovation project as Chair of the Facilities Committee. His steadfast commitment and attention to detail, despite myriad challenges during the pandemic, ensured that The Huntington Theatre successfully reopened in Fall 2022. His daughter Megan Leathers spoke beautifully about Leathers’ love of stories and storytelling and the artistic community he has found at The Huntington as she presented him with the Wimberly Award. 


Paula Vogel is a lion in the theatre community as both a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (for How I Learned to Drive) and a dedicated educator who spent many years at Brown University as the founder of their esteemed playwriting program, inspiring generations of playwrights and theatre artists. Her plays, Tony Award-nominated Indecent and A Civil War Christmas, have thrilled Boston audiences on stage at The Huntington, and The Huntington looks forward to partnering with her on an upcoming new works commissioning initiative. Her former student, acclaimed playwright Sarah Ruhl, presented her with the Wimberly Award and spoke warmly about Vogel’s bravery as an artist and her love for the artform and other writers. 


Huntington Founding Managing Director Michael Maso was honored with the Encore Award, presented by his wife Lisa Coady, as he prepares to step down from that role at the end of this season after 41 years. A leader and trailblazer in the Boston arts scene as well as the broader American theatre industry, his vision paved the way for the Calderwood Pavilion to be built and The Huntington Theatre to be renovated; and his legacy is not only an empowered Huntington Theatre Company (with a campus spanning four locations) but an enriched and vibrant theatre ecosystem that his care and collaborative spirit helped foster.  


Huntington Trustee and host of WCVB Channel 5’s CityLine Karen Holmes Ward hosted the evening. The event was chaired by Huntington Trustee David Firestone and his wife Karen Firestone and Huntington Advisor Bobby Perino 


Longtime Huntington staffers Andrew DeShazo and Kevin Schlagle received the 10th annual Gerard and Sherryl Cohen Awards for Excellence, which recognize the exceptional work and dedication of peer-nominated Huntington staff who consistently go above and beyond. DeShazo has been a stalwart part of the props run crew for over 20 years; Schlagle has held many roles in his 14 years at the company, from stage manager to producer and Covid safety manager. The awards were presented by Huntington Trustee Gerard Cohen and his granddaughter Chloe Peddle. 


Several live performances took the stage throughout the night, including lively performances by Sing Street cast members Adam Bregman, Tony Genovesi, Michael Lepore, Elijah Lyons, Gian Perez, and Ben Wang. This new musical with an original score and a 15-member ensemble opened The Huntington’s 2022-2023 season and was the largest production ever housed at The Huntington’s Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Also performing: Steven Skybell (currently in rehearsals for The Huntington’s upcoming production of The Lehman Trilogy) and Taylor Mac (playwright of Joy and Pandemic, now playing at the Calderwood Pavilion) sang a delightful rendition of “Do You Love Me?” from Fiddler on the Roof in honor of Vogel; Boston actors Aimee Doherty and Shannon Lamb sang a special rendition of “Wells Fargo Wagon” from The Music Man to honor Leathers. 


The evening concluded with a surprise performance by Michael Maso, singing “Some Other Time” from On the Town. Many members of the Greater Boston theatre community joined him on stage to sing “What I Did for Love” from A Chorus Line, including: Amy Barker, Leigh Barrett, Jazzmin Bonner, Elle Borders, Christopher Chew, Aimee Doherty, Jennifer Ellis, Shannon Lamb, Sarah Muirhead, Matthew Pantanella, Maurice Emmanuel Parent, Ale Philippides, Bob Saoud, and Bobbie Steinbach. This is Maso’s final gala as Managing Director and the energy in the room was warm, supportive, and energizing.

More information about the event can be found here 


Photos can be downloaded here. 


Video of Michael Maso’s speech and surprise performance can be downloaded here. 





Dave Leathers has served as a Huntington Trustee since 2013 and is the current chair of the Facilities Committee. Dave has been a driving force for the revitalization of The Huntington Theatre and is the former CEO of John Moriarty & Associates, a highly respected construction firm with clients such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Brandeis University. He and his wife Susan are long-time Huntington enthusiasts and live in Boston. 


Paula Vogel is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright whose plays Indecent (Tony Award nomination for Best Play) and A Civil War Christmas have been celebrated on The Huntington’s stages. Her other plays include How I Learned to Drive (Pulitzer Prize, Lortel Prize), The Long Christmas Ride Home, The Mineola Twins, The Baltimore Waltz, Hot ‘N’ Throbbing, Desdemona, And Baby Makes Seven, and The Oldest Profession. Lifetime achievement awards include the American Theatre Hall of Fame Award, the Obie Award, and New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Her plays are published in six volumes by TCG Press and she teaches playwriting workshops throughout the United States and abroad. In 2020 she founded the digital theatre archive of new plays, BARD AT THE GATE, which is available at Broadway on Demand. 





Michael Maso has led The Huntington as Managing Director since 1982 and is in his final (41st) season with the theatre. He has produced more than 260 productions in partnership with four artistic directors and is one of the most well-regarded executives in the theatre industry. Under his tenure, The Huntington has received over 150 Elliot Norton and Independent Reviewers of New England Awards, as well as the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. He received the 2016 Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as TCG’s 2012 Theatre Practitioner Award. Maso led The Huntington’s ten-year drive to build the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, which opened in September 2004, and has been a catalyst for the redevelopment and transformational renovation of The Huntington Theatre. He served as President of the League of Resident Theatres for 8 years, is on the Boston Cultural Planning Steering Committee, and has served as a member of the board for ArtsBoston, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), and StageSource, and as a site visitor, panelist, and panel chairman for the National Endowment for the Arts. 





Karen Holmes Ward is the Director of Public Affairs and Community Services as well as host and executive producer of CityLine, WCVB-TV’s weekly magazine program which addresses the concerns and accomplishments of people of color living in Boston and its suburbs. Karen joined The Huntington’s Board of Trustees in 2021 and is the spokesperson for the Seats Campaign as part of The Campaign for the New Huntington. She co-hosted The Huntington’s “Spotlight on Trailblazers” Gala in 2020. 





Celebrating 40 years of outstanding theatre, The Huntington is Boston’s theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community. Committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, The Huntington provides life-changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of The Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theatre company based in Boston, and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA. Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and former Managing Director Michael Maso, The Huntington reopened the historic Huntington Theatre this fall after its transformational renovation. A storied venue with a bold vision for the future, the renovation and building project will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit 


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