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JILL & MITCH ROBERTS TO BE HONORED AND FORMER ARTISTIC DIRECTOR THE LATE NICHOLAS MARTIN’S LEGACY TO BE CELEBRATED AT HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY’S SPOTLIGHT SPECTACULAR MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2015

FEATURING PERFORMANCES BY KATE BALDWIN, CAPATHIA JENKINS, AND JERE SHEA 
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS KATE BURTON AND VICTOR GARBER

(BOSTON) – Huntington Theatre Company Board President Mitch Roberts and Jill Roberts will be honored with the Wimberly Award and the Huntington’s former artistic director, the late Nicholas Martin, will be celebrated at the 2015 Spotlight Spectacular on Monday, April 27, 2015. The Huntington’s Spotlight Spectacular is close to maximum capacity and the annual fundraiser event is primed to break records.

“Mitch Roberts has played a vitally important role at the Huntington over the past five years,” says Managing Director Michael Maso. “The Huntington’s staff, board, and artists have benefited tremendously from Mitch’s leadership, vision, and counsel. His wife Jill is also one of the Huntington’s greatest advocates, a valued supporter in her own right, and it is an honor to celebrate both of them with the Wimberly Award. The Huntington’s former artistic director, the late Nicholas Martin, has left us an inspiring artistic legacy, which will also be celebrated at this year’s Spotlight Spectacular. Nicky directed 20 shows at the Huntington and established the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA as our home for new plays. His legacy will forever be a part of the Huntington’s identity.”

Guests will be treated to performances by Broadway performers Kate Baldwin (She Loves Me), Capathia Jenkins (The Colored Museum), and Jere Shea (You Can Never Tell, dir. Nicholas Martin, Roundabout Theatre Company) under the musical direction of James Sampliner (The Colored Museum). Special guests and frequent Martin collaborators Kate Burton (Hedda Gabbler, Aristocrats, The Cherry Orchard, The Corn is Green, and The Seagull) and Victor Garber (Present Laughter) will also be a part of the evening’s line up. 

The Huntington’s festive annual event raises money to support the Huntington’s programs, including its award-winning youth, education, and community initiatives that reach more than 30,000 annually. Chaired by Valerie & Mark Friedman and Linda & Bill McQuillan and designed by Rafanelli Events, the event begins at 6pm at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts and will feature a cocktail reception, live auction offering exceptional items, seated dinner provided by MAX Ultimate Food, presentation of the Wimberly Award, a tribute to Nicholas Martin, and entertainment. The Gerard & Sherryl Cohen Award for Excellence, given to two staff members who consistently go above and beyond in their contribution to the company, will be presented to Charles Haugland and Katherine T. Herzig. Guests will also have the opportunity to “Sponsor a Class” at a student matinee of the Huntington’s 2015-2016 Season. Additional funds to support the Huntington will be raised through an online auction that will run through May 1.

For more information about the event or to sponsor a table or purchase tickets, contact Catherine Halpin at 617 273 1503 or chalpin@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu

The 2014 Spotlight Spectacular honoring Huntington Trustee John D. Spooner and Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman (The Jungle Book and Candide) raised more than $1 million and was attended by more than 400. Entertainment was provided by Tony Award nominee André De Shields (King Louie in The Jungle Book), Kevin Carolan (Baloo in The Jungle Book), Geoff Packard (title role in Candide), and Lauren Molina (Cunegonde in Candide). This year’s celebration promises to be an unforgettable, record-breaking evening.

ABOUT THE HONOREES

Jill and Mitch Roberts are dedicated supporters of the performing arts and of numerous Jewish causes. They view public service and philanthropy as a family commitment. Their involvement in the arts, with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and their support for academic institutions are emblematic of their core values.

Mitchell J. Roberts is President of the Board of Trustees of the Huntington Theatre Company and has been a member of the Board since 1994. He is the co-founder and CEO of PR Restaurants LLC which operates 35 Panera Bread cafes in Maine, New Hampshire and central and western Massachusetts.  Prior to founding PRR, Mitch was the vice president of real estate development for Au Bon Pain. He has been involved with all aspects of opening more than 190 restaurants over the past 20 years. Mitch received his MS from the MIT Sloan School of Management with a focus in strategy and marketing, and has a BA in political science from the University of Rochester. Prior to MIT he was involved in sales, marketing and development at General Investment and Development Company, a privately held real estate development firm.

Jill Roberts received her MS from the MIT Sloan School of Management with a focus on marketing and strategic planning and her BA from Wellesley College. Jill chose to leave the business world in 1996 to be at home full-time with their children: Noah (21), Sabrina (18), Ethan (15), and Ruby (13). A perpetual ballet student from age 6, Jill continues to study at Boston Ballet. She performed with Moving West, a modern dance company based in Framingham, for several years. She has devoted much of her volunteer time to the Women's Philanthropy division of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston where she served as President from 2008-2010. Currently, Jill is a board member of National Women's Philanthropy, United Jewish Federation. She has also served on the Boston Ballet Board of Overseers and on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Community Center in Newton. Jill enjoys running, yoga and skiing, and has competed in four sprint triathlons – twice winning her division.

Jill and Mitch feel a special allegiance to the Huntington Theatre Company and Boston Ballet. They are also on the Parents' Council at Washington University in St. Louis, where Noah is a junior and Sabrina is a first-year, and they strongly support the Belmont Hill School and the Dana Hall School where Ethan and Ruby attend (respectively). Family travel is a priority, and skiing vacations are among their most treasured family escapes. The Roberts family resides in Waban, Massachusetts.

Nicholas Martin directed 18 shows for the Huntington while serving as Artistic Director (2000-2008) and two after his departure (2009 and 2010). Among the most memorable were Dead End, his first, which featured a three-story set depicting a New York tenement onstage and a swimming pool standing in for the East River in the orchestra pit, and the joyous She Loves Me featuring Brooks Ashmanskas and Kate Baldwin, his last as Artistic Director. Other highlights include Hedda Gabler with Kate Burton, Butley with Nathan Lane, and Present Laughter with Victor Garber, all of which transferred to Broadway.

In 2004, his world premiere production of Melinda Lopez's Sonia Flew inaugurated the Wimberly Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. The first new theatre to be built in Boston in more than 75 years, he championed the new performance venue as a home for the Huntington's new play initiatives.  Nicky Martin was instrumental in the development of local writers by creating the Huntington Playwriting Fellows program, one of the initiatives the Tony Awards Administration Committee cited when awarding the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award to the Huntington.  In 2009, he returned to the Huntington to direct The Corn is Green with Kate Burton and her son Morgan Ritchie, Martin's godson. In 2010 he returned once again to helm William Inge's Bus Stop.

His Broadway credits include Christopher Durang’s smash hit Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony Award nomination), Present Laughter, Butley, Match, Hedda Gabler, The Rehearsal, and You Never Can Tell. His Off Broadway credits include Saturn Returns, The New Century, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (Drama Desk Award nomination), and The Time of the Cuckoo (Lincoln Center Theater), Chaucer in Rome and Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them (The Public Theater/NYSF), Fully Committed (Vineyard Theatre and Cherry Lane Theatre), Full Gallop (Manhattan Theatre Club and Westside Theatre), Betty’s Summer Vacation (Obie Award, Drama Desk Award nomination) and Sophistry (Playwrights Horizons), and Bosoms and Neglect (Signature Theatre Company). Mr. Martin’s regional credits include Pygmalion (The Old Globe), She Stoops to Conquer (McCarter Theatre Center), The House of Blue Leaves (Mark Taper Forum), Dead End (Ahmanson Theatre), The Verizon Play (Humana Festival of New American Plays), The Circle and A Cheever Evening (Westport Country Playhouse), and My Wonderful Day (Two River Theater Company). He previously worked as Artistic Director of Williamstown Theatre Festival.

When Nicky passed away in April 2014, all the Broadway theatres paid him the ultimate theatrical honor by dimming their lights in recognition of his lifetime of work as an actor and director.  

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MEDIA NOTE

A limited number of tickets are available for media members interested in covering the event. Contact Desiree Barry at dbarry@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu or 617 273 1518 for information.

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY

Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award and named Best of Boston 2013 and 2014 by Boston magazine, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso and in residence at Boston University, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

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