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Billy Porter to Host Huntington Theatre Company Gala

The Huntington’s annual event raises vital funds to support the Huntington’s mission and programs, including its award-winning youth, education, and community programs.

Billy Porter to Host Huntington Theatre Company Gala

Codman Academy Charter Public School and Huntington Theatre Company Advisor Linda Zug and her husband Brooks Zug will be honored with the Wimberly Award at the Huntington's virtual Spotlight Gala on May 10, 2021. Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner and Huntington Trustee Billy Porter will serve as host, and Huntington Trustee J. David ("Dave") Wimberly will receive the first ever Encore Award for Lifetime Service. The Spotlight Gala co-chairs are Board of Trustee members Ann Merrifield and Sandy Moose.

The Huntington's festive annual event raises vital funds to support the Huntington's mission and programs, including its award-winning youth, education, and community programs that typically reach more than 30,000 young people annually. The event will be virtual for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.

This virtual event will feature the presentation of the awards, thrilling performances from Broadway and Boston's best talent, as well as a live auction offering one-of-a-kind items. Along with host Billy Porter (TV's "Pose," Broadway's Kinky Boots, Topdog/Underdog and The Purists at The Huntington), the gala will feature Boston's Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola, actor/writer Joél Pérez (Fun Home on Broadway, Pirates! at The Huntington), and a reunion of the acclaimed cast of the Huntington's stellar 2017 production of Merrily We Roll Along with director Maria Friedman. Attendees will also have the opportunity to "Sponsor a Class" in support of the Huntington's student matinee series and other education programs.

Although the program is virtual, sponsors and ticket buyers in the Greater Boston area will receive a deluxe, three-course dinner and party box with a commemorative 2021 Spotlight Gala gift delivered to their homes by MAX Ultimate Food, and will be invited to a celebratory virtual pre-show cocktail reception with Huntington leadership and artistic VIPs. The pre-show cocktail reception begins at 6pm and the program begins at 7pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit


Codman Academy Charter Public School was established 20 years ago in the Codman Square neighborhood of Dorchester. The Huntington is a founding partner, and for two decades, theatre classes and performances have played a central role in Codman's humanities curriculum. Through a full school-year weekly residency designed and implemented by the Huntington Education Department, 9th and 10th grade students strengthen their literacy, arts, and presentation skills. Codman students also attend Huntington performances, perform their annual Spring Showcase on a Huntington stage, participate in the Codman Summer Theatre Institute at the Huntington, and graduate on a Huntington stage at the end of their Codman career.

"We value our unique partnership with The Huntington," says Thabiti Brown, Head of School at Codman Academy Charter Public School. "We can grow students' academic skills in the classroom by first getting them engaged in all of the fun aspects that go into theatre production."

Linda and Brooks Zug have been Huntington supporters for 30 years and are deeply committed to the arts and to providing education and theatre experiences for the next generation. Linda Zug, a former French teacher and a painter in watercolor and oil, has served on the Huntington board since 2010 and is also a major supporter of Medicine Wheel Productions in South Boston. Brooks Zug has had a long career in venture capital and private equity. In addition to his commitment to the Huntington, he serves on the board of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to honor longtime Huntington friends and supporters Linda and Brooks Zug with the Wimberly Award," says Michael Maso, Huntington Managing Director. "For many years their dedication to the Huntington and other arts organizations in Boston has been fueled by their passion for providing arts opportunities for young people."

J. David ("Dave") Wimberly began attending Huntington shows over 30 years ago. He joined the board in 1993 and served as Chairman from 1996 to 2010, playing an integral role in building the Calderwood Pavilion, where the Wimberly Theatre is named for his late wife Virginia. He is Chairman Emeritus of Frontier Capital Management, a Boston-based investment management firm he founded in 1980. A passionate theatregoer, he has seen hundreds of Huntington productions through the years. Wimberly was the inaugural gala honoree and winner of the Wimberly Award, and decades later, the Huntington is honored to present him with the first annual Encore Award for Lifetime Service.

"Dave Wimberly is a Huntington icon, whose friendship, dedication, and stalwart leadership of the Huntington were instrumental to the creation of the Calderwood Pavilion, and have had a profound and lasting impact on both the Huntington and so many other local cultural organizations," says Maso. "It is only right that we honor him with the first ever Encore Award for Lifetime Service."

For more information about the 2021 Spotlight Gala or to sponsor a table or purchase tickets, contact Special Events Manager Emma Blaxter at 617 273 1503 or

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