The Huntington 2024 Spotlight Gala Honors Playwright Lydia R. Diamond and Huntington Community Leaders

The event is on Monday, May 6, 2024.

By: Apr. 24, 2024
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 The Huntington has announced its annual Spotlight Gala on Monday, May 6, 2024 at the Cyclorama of the Boston Center for the Arts (539 Tremont St). The event will celebrate honorees as well as the achievements of this transformational season. The Gala supports The Huntington's artistic, education, and community initiatives and last year set an all-time record with $1.67M raised.

“The Spotlight Gala is a wonderful celebration of this creative community and a vital fundraising opportunity for The Huntington's extraordinary theatre education programs,” says Huntington Chairman of the Board Randy Peeler. “This year is particularly special as well, as we gather to honor luminary playwright Lydia R. Diamond, and longtime dedicated Huntington Trustees David and Karen Firestone and Gerry and Sherry Cohen.”

The Spotlight Gala honors five people who have made an extraordinary impact on The Huntington and the larger theatre community: Karen Firestone and Huntington Trustee David Firestone, award-winning playwright Lydia R. Diamond, and Huntington Trustees Sherryl and Gerard H. Cohen.

Wimberly Award Honorees Karen and David Firestone exemplify steadfast support and advocacy for The Huntington. As a Trustee and Chair of the Audit Committee, David oversees the organization's financial vitality. David is President and CEO of Firestone and Parson, Inc., a distinguished fine jeweler and family business. Karen is Executive Chairman of Aureus Asset Management and a regular contributor to CNBC's Half Time Report, Squawk Box, and

Encore Award Honoree Lydia R. Diamond is an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced both on and Off-Broadway and across the country. Huntington credits include Smart People, Stick Fly, The Bluest Eye, and the upcoming Toni Stone. Other Boston credits include Voyeurs de Venus at Company One, The Gift Horse at New Repertory Theatre, and Harriet Jacobs at Central Square Theater. Diamond has been a Huntington Playwrighting Fellow, a W. E. B. DuBois Institute Non-Resident Fellow at Harvard, a Sundance Playwright Lab Creative Advisor, a Radcliffe Institute Fellow, and a playwright in residence at both Steppenwolf and Arena Stage. She has an Honorary Ph.D. from Pine Manor College and an Honorary MFA from American Conservatory Theater. Lydia was a professor at Boston University for ten years and is currently on faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  

Renowned for their legacy of unparalleled generosity and support, Encore Award Honorees Sherryl and Gerard H. Cohen are known for investing in talent and people. This year, we celebrate the 11th anniversary of the “Gerard and Sherryl Cohen Awards for Excellence,” which was conceptualized by them to acknowledge two outstanding Huntington staff members annually. As Trustees, Gerry has served as Chair of the Development Committee and Sherry, a former Officer, is a member of the Executive and Donor Engagement Committees. Gerry is also the owner of Western Carriers, a nationwide fine wine and spirits storage and transportation company.

Huntington Trustee and host of WCVB Channel 5's CityLine Karen Holmes Ward will host the evening, and the event is chaired by Donald Nelson, Huntington Advisor Bobby Perino-Thompson, and Huntington Trustee Veronica Wiseman.

Longtime Huntington staffers Barbara Crowther and Joi Garron are also the winners of the 11th 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. Crowther has been a steadfast part of wardrobe run for over 10 years; Garron has quickly become an invaluable member of the marketing team as the theatre's graphic designer.

The May 6 Gala will begin with a cocktail hour at 6:30pm featuring musicians from The Band's Visit Joe LaRocca, Fabio Pirozzolo, and Mac Ritchey, followed by an auction and “Sponsor a Class” fundraiser to support The Huntington's educational programs, a delicious dinner catered by MAX Ultimate Food, and several performances by spectacular Huntington favorites, including: Singers Jennifer Apple (The Band's Visit), Aimee Doherty (A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along), Robert Saoud (The Band's Visit, Merrily We Roll Along), and Aubin Wise (Hamilton on Broadway). The band for the evening features Matt Stern (Merrily We Roll Along), who also serves as the Music Director, Matt Pantanella (Sing Street), and Kate Foss (The Band's Visit).


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