Mike Stoller and Corky Hale Stoller Revealed as Pasadena Playhouse's Million-Dollar 'Angel' Donors


The Pasadena Playhouse announced that Playhouse "Angels" and current Board Members Mike Stoller and Corky Hale Stoller are the anonymous donors whose one million dollar gift in May 2010 was vital to The Playhouse's emergence from bankruptcy that summer. It inspired additional substantial donations as a part of a matching fundraising campaign.

This announcement is made in conjunction with the upcoming opening of The Playhouse's production of Noël Coward's comedy Fallen Angels with the Stoller's hope that other patrons and organizations will be inspired to contribute to The Playhouse's continued efforts to bring excellence in the performing arts to its stage and the community.

"Mike and Corky's tremendous gift to The Playhouse has incredible meaning to me in profound personal and professional ways," stated Sheldon Epps, Artistic Director of The Pasadena Playhouse. "Without doubt, it inspired others to come forward to match their donation at a vitally important time. It was also a meaningful and deeply moving validation of the work of our theatre both onstage and off - not to mention a huge vote of confidence in my leadership of the company. Their support is very much at the heart of the theatre's revitalized life and our current state of good health, both artistically and fiscally. I will always be deeply grateful to this lovely and generous couple."

"Although I had met with Sheldon Epps on professional matters several years ago, it was only after reading that this wonderful theatre was to close after 93 years that we decided we couldn¹t let that happen." said Mike.

Corky added, "In addition to their wonderful productions under the supervision and artistic direction of Sheldon Epps in that beautiful landmark building, The Pasadena Playhouse invites children and students to experience theatre ­ not only from within the Pasadena community, but from other parts of the Los Angele area. And I hope that at some point the famous Pasadena Playhouse acting school could be reactivated."

The multi-talented pianist, harpist and singer Corky Hale Stoller, has performed with Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Liberace, Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé, Judy Collins, George Michael, JAmes Brown and Björk. She has appeared at The White House, the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, London's Royal Albert Hall and the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

Songwriter Mike Stoller is one half of the legendary songwriting team of Leiber & Stoller. Elvis Presley recorded more than 20 of their songs, including "Hound Dog," and "Jailhouse Rock." Two of their most memorable songs written for Peggy Lee are "I'm A Woman" and "Is That All There Is?" Among their many other hits are "Stand By Me," "Kansas City," "Yakety Yak" and "Love Potion #9." Smokey Joe's Café: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller still holds the record as the longest-running revue in Broadway history. Leiber & Stoller have been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They are recipients of the prestigious Ivor Novello Award in London and the World Soundtrack Award in Belgium. In 2009, Simon & Schuster published Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography.

Mike Stoller and Corky Hale Stoller met in the late 1960s in New York and were married in 1970. They became residents of Los Angeles in 1989. In 2010, in conjunction with their donation, they both joined The Playhouse's Board of Directors.

The Pasadena Playhouse was established in 1917 and was designated the State Theatre of California for bringing national and international renown to the state as a center for dramatic art in 1937. Built on a tradition of innovation and excellence, The Pasadena Playhouse is committed to continue to be the premiere theatrical experience in Southern California showcasing the most exciting theatrical entertainment in the state and being an amazing forum for launching new work onto the national stage. Broadway productions that originated at The Pasadena Playhouse include: Sister Act - The Musical, Baby It's You!, Looped and Mail. Unchain My Heart, The Ray Charles Musical, which premiered at The Playhouse, and the revival of Cole Porter's Can-Can which was revamped by David Lee for a 2007 Playhouse production, are scheduled to open on Broadway in the 2013-14 Season. Looped has also recently announced a US Tour, starring Valerie Harper, beginning February 2013. The Pasadena Playhouse will also present the world premiere of Sleepless in Seattle - The Musical in May 2013, prior to a Broadway transfer. For more information on The Pasadena Playhouse, visit www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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