Huntington Theatre Company presented their annual Spotlight Spectacular Gala virtually on the Huntington’s Facebook and YouTube channels on June 15.
Watch the video of the gala below.
In an effort to assure the safety of gala attendants while gathering to celebrate the honorees, the Huntington decided to transform this year’s Spotlight Spectacular to a virtual event. Trustee and civic leader Sandra O. Moose and Tony Award winner and Huntington alumnus Ruben Santiago-Hudson (American Gangster, Selma, ABC’s “Castle”) were honored with the Wimberly Award at the 2020 Spotlight Spectacular. The event was co-hosted by WCVB’s host of “CityLine” and Director of Public Affairs and Community Services, Karen Holmes Ward and Joyce Kulhawik, Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist and President of the Boston Theater Critics Association. This year’s Spotlight Spectacular Chairs are Ann Merrifield and Wayne Davis.
Emmy Award winner Keith David (Seven Guitars at the Huntington, There’s Something About Mary, Crash), Tony Award-nominee Kate Baldwin (Hello Dolly!, Big Fish, Finian’s Rainbow), Tony Award winner Santino Fontana (Tootsie, Disney feature film Frozen, CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), and award-winning actress, R&B singer Marva Hicks (The Lion King, Caroline or Change, Motown The Musical) and Lily Santiago-Hudson performed at this year’s gala.
Tony and Obie Award-winning director, actor, and writer Ruben Santiago-Hudson appeared in Huntington productions of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean and Seven Guitars. Both productions transferred to Broadway, the latter earning Santiago-Hudson the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. In a career that spans over four decades, Santiago-Hudson has starred in a number of films including American Gangster, Shaft, Devil’s Advocate, and Selma. His television credits include Showtime’s “Billions,” ABC’S “Castle,” and “The West Wing.” Santiago-Hudson wrote, executive produced, and co-starred in the HBO film Lackawanna Blues based on his OBIE and Helen Hayes Award-winning play. The movie received honors including Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe, NAACP Image Awards, The Christopher Award and the Humanitas Prize. He directed the recent Broadway production of August Wilson’s Jitney which garnered several awards for Outstanding Revival including the Tony Award and six Tony nominations. Santiago-Hudson recently adapted Wilson’s play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for the screen. The film, which is produced by Denzel Washington and will be released later this year on Netflix, is directed by George C. Wolfe, starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman.
“Ruben Santiago-Hudson is an essential American theatre artist, an accomplished and prize-winning actor, director, writer and musician,” says Huntington Managing Director Michael Maso. “He demonstrates every day how talent, commitment and compassion can serve as a model for life as an artist. I was introduced to Ruben in 1995 by two giants, director Lloyd Richards and playwright August Wilson, when Ruben originated his Tony Award-winning role of Canewell in August Wilsons’s Seven Guitars, moving Huntington audiences along with an extraordinary cast including Viola Davis and Keith David. It is a privilege to be able to celebrate his career at this year’s Spotlight Spectacular while he is still at the height of his creative powers.”
Sandra (Sandy) O. Moose is a deeply respected leader and has made her mark on the business and philanthropic sectors of Boston and beyond. She has been a dedicated member of the Huntington’s board for over 16 years and has received many professional and personal accolades over her distinguished career. Sandy has been a trailblazer for women in the consulting industry, being the first woman hired and the first woman to become Partner/Senior Managing Partner as well as Leader of the New York Office for 10 years and Chair of the East Coast region at the Boston Consulting Group. After her formal career, Sandy has served as a leader on corporate and non-profit boards. Locally, she was President of the Board of Trustees at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Chair of the Boston Public Library Foundation; Chair of Natixis Advisor and Loomis Sayles Funds. She was also the first Lead Director of Verizon Communications, Inc. and the first woman Chair of the Board of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Corporate Governance from the National Association of Corporate Directors in New England in 2018.
“Sandy Moose has brought mentorship and leadership to our organization, and she has the ability to shape vision in a powerful way,” says Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois. “She has introduced many amazing people into our orbit, while she herself remains one of our brightest stars. Her late partner Eric Birch will be greatly missed as her co-pilot in her love of theatre. Sandy always has a family with us, because we just love her so much.”
Ticket buyers and sponsors will be given access to a VIP experience including a custom party box and an exclusive Zoom cocktail reception with Huntington artists and guests. The Huntington’s festive annual event raises funds to support the Huntington’s programs, including its award-winning youth, education, and community initiatives that reach more than 30,000 annually. The 2019 Spotlight Spectacular honored Huntington Theatre Company Board Chairman David Epstein, Education Committee Chair Betsy Banks Epstein, and Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Peter DuBois. The event raised over $1,000,000 and was attended by over 400 guests.
The Gerard & Sherryl Cohen Award for Excellence will be given to two Huntington staff members who consistently go above and beyond in their contribution to the company: Graphic Designer Lauren Calder and Calderwood Pavilion House Electrician Taylor Ness. Guests will also have the opportunity to “raise a paddle” during the virtual event to support the Huntington’s education programs and other initiatives for our region’s youth. For more information on the event please visit huntingtontheatre.org/support/gala.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.
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