(BOSTON) – 440 guests honored Wimberly Award recipients Huntington Board President Mitch Roberts and Jill Roberts and celebrated the artistic legacy of former Huntington Artistic Director, the late Nicholas Martin, while raising a record-breaking $1,270,000  (with additional gifts still coming in) to support the Huntington’s renowned education and community programs at the Spotlight Spectacular on Monday, April 27. “We are here to ensure another year of access to the Huntington’s programs for thousands of young people,” said Managing Director Michael Maso. “The centerpiece of all our education programs, the place where opportunity begins and lives are changed, is our student matinee program.”  

The celebration at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts began at 6pm with a cocktail reception. At 7:30pm, guests were seated for the program, which was kicked off by Capathia Jenkins from the Huntington’s production of The Colored Museum singing “Feeling Good.” A heated live auction lead by Managing Director Michael Maso and William P. McQuillan of Boylston Properties featured exciting trips and unique experiences. Guests donated more than $200,000 to sponsor classes at 2015-2016 student matinees. Watch a video about the Huntington’s student matinee and other education programs at

To celebrate the artistic legacy of Nicholas Martin, it was announced that this fall the Huntington would re-name Rehearsal Hall A in the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Nicholas Martin Rehearsal Hall. Kate Burton, Martin’s longtime collaborator and friend, made the announcement saying, “In the decade since the Calderwood Pavilion opening, Rehearsal Hall A, has been in use non-stop. Not only as a state-of-the-art rehearsal space for theatre and dance, but also a venue for some of Boston’s most innovative small theatre companies. I think Nicky would have loved all that creative activity and energy taking place in that space he helped to bring to life.” 

Nicholas Martin’s legacy was celebrated by other frequent collaborators, including the Huntington’s Playwright-In-Residence Melinda Lopez who said, “Nicky trusted his gut. He trusted us. He trusted our talent. Many of us from the Boston community had that experience. Not just for one show. Many shows.” Next, Victor Garber took the stage to say, “Nicholas loved directing, especially new plays, but also classics and musicals. His first Huntington production of Dead End set a high standard. In the years that followed, he dazzled us with the wide variety of work from Ibsen’s Hedda Gabbler, starring the incomparable Kate Burton, to the delightful musical, She Loves Me, starring the glorious Kate Baldwin and Brooks Ashmanskas, and Present Laughter, which gave me one of the best experiences I have ever had as an actor.” Broadway actress Kate Baldwin, who starred in the Huntington’s production of She Loves Me directed by Martin in 2008, celebrated Martin by reprising her performance of “Vanilla Ice Cream.”

The evening continued with the presentation of the Gerard and Sherryl Cohen Award for Excellence, which recognizes a Huntington production and administrative staff member. This year’s recipients were Artistic Programs and Dramaturgy Charles Haugland and Master Electrician Katherine T. Herzig. During the award presentation, Sherryl Cohen quoted nominations from Huntington staff members about Charles saying, “Over the past six seasons Charles has become the face of the Huntington for many patrons. In 2009 he founded the Huntington’s post-show conversation program, where he has established a direct connection with audiences and continues to be a consistent presence. No matter the initiative, he is an extraordinary collaborator.” Gerard Cohen continued saying, “Katherine devotes 120% to everything she does. Whether it is her primary job as master electrician, providing lighting for a special event, or teaching a forum for the apprentices, Katherine shows her dedication with ease and grace.”

Following the Cohen Award, Michael Maso presented Jill and Mitch Roberts with the Wimberly Award saying, “Mitch and Jill have brought the Huntington and so many other causes in Boston tremendous leadership and generosity.” 

“The Huntington Theatre Company has enamored us for the past 20 years,” said Jill Roberts accepting the award. “From subscribers to supporters to champions of this great organization, we stand here tonight as recipients of the Wimberly Award because, quite simply, we are passionate about this theatre. When the lights dim and the curtains open at a Huntington production, Mitch and I are transported to another place and time. It’s magical.” Mitch Roberts added, “In the 20 years that I have been involved with the Huntington, I have watched it grow from an impressive regional house to a theatre with national presence that was recognized with a Tony Award by the American Theatre Wing just two years ago. Thank you for supporting one of our most treasured Boston institutions.”   

Entertainment continued after dinner as Tony Award nominated actor Jere Shea treated guests to “I Get A Kick Out Of You” from Anything Goes. He returned to the stage with Kate Baldwin to celebrate Jill and Mitch Roberts with a performance of “All The Things You Are” composed by Jerome Kern with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. To end the record-breaking evening, Capathia Jenkins brought the audience to their feet with her performance of “All That Jazz” from Chicago.

The Spotlight Spectacular was co-chaired by Valerie & Mark Friedman and Linda & Bill McQuillan. Event design was by Rafanelli Events, lighting and sound design was by High Output, rentals were provided by Be Our Guest, floral arrangements were provided by Winston Flowers, event printing was donated by Noble Ford Productions, and the event was catered by MAX Ultimate Food.

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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

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