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2010 Spotlight Spectacular honors Kenny Leon and Bank of America, Jasmine Guy performs


The Huntington Theatre Company will honor Broadway director Kenny Leon and Bank of America, the organization’s Education and Access Partner, this Sunday, April 25, 2010 at its Spotlight Spectacular! annual gala benefit. Leon and Bank of America will receive The Wimberly Award, the Huntington’s highest honor.

Leon’s relationship with the Huntington dates back to 1993 and includes seven productions, most recently September 2009’s acclaimed Fences and February/March 2010’s record-breaking Stick Fly. He will open a Broadway production of August Wilson’s Fences starring Academy Award winner Denzel Washington and Tony Award winner Viola Davis on Monday, April 26. Bank of America’s generous and longstanding investment in the Huntington supports the organization’s nationally recognized, award-winning programs that reach more than 20,000 students and adults annually through unique education and accessibility programs.

Held at the Sheraton Boston Hotel and Towers, the event raises money to support the programs of the Huntington, including its award-winning Youth, Education, and Community initiatives. It will feature entertainment by Broadway and television star Jasmine Guy, best known for her roles as Whitley on The Cosby Show spin-off A Different World, as well as Velma Kelly in Chicago and Rizzo in Grease on Broadway, and music by three-time Boston Music Award-winning band Eye 2 Eye, named Boston’s Best Band by the Improper Bostonian.

Chaired by Huntington Trustee Carol Deane and Huntington Overseer Bryan Rafanelli, Spotlight Spectacular! 2010 will feature an elegant cocktail reception, a silent auction filled with unique and exciting items, a seated dinner, live auction, entertainment, and dancing.

An online auction, now open at www.huntingtontheatre.org/auction, allows Huntington patrons and friends to bid on items prior to the event. Online and Silent auction items include Red Sox/Yankees tickets, a cocktail reception for 30 on the set of America’s Test Kitchen, the opportunity to serve as a Boston Celtics Ball Boy/Ball Girl, Beer for a Year from Samuel Adams Brewery, and much more. The “live” auction at the event will feature a VIP trip to the Tony Awards with private jet to New York, a “walk-on” role in an upcoming a feature film, a Red Sox Executive Suite for 22, and a private meal prepared by Chef Barbara Lynch in the winner’s home. The gala will also offer the opportunity for guests to “Sponsor-a-Class” for the Huntington’s Student Matinee Series.

The 2009 Spotlight Spectacular! raised more than $650,000 and sold out. A limited number of tables and tickets are still available to this year’s event. Table prices range from $7,500 to $25,000; individual tickets are $500 and $1,500. For more information about the event, to sponsor a table, or to purchase tickets, contact Michelle Cicerano at 617 273-1536 or MCicerano@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu.

Jasmine Guy is a celebrated actress, dancer, singer, producer/director, lecturer, and arts and social services advocate who has distinguished herself as a true contemporary artist with appearances on stage, screen, and television. For the past two years, Ms. Guy has been involved with Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company in Atlanta, Georgia, where she starred in Blues For an Alabama Sky and Miss Evers’ Boys and directed for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. One of Atlanta’s busiest directors, Ms. Guy also developed and stars in Raisin’ Cane, a one-woman musical/spoken word stage celebration of the Harlem Renaissance. Later this year, she will co-star in the world premiere of Pearl Cleage’s new play The Nacirema Society Requests …, a joint production of Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre and the Alabama Shakespeare Company.

Ms. Guy began her career as a dancer for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center prior to her star-making portrayal of Whitley Gilbert in The Cosby Show spin-off A Different World. She won six consecutive NAACP Image Awards for the role, as well as for directing and writing for the series. Her film credits include Spike Lee’s School Daze and Harlem Nights with Eddie Murphy. She has performed on Broadway in Leader of the Pack, The Wiz, Grease, and Chicago. Television credits include two seasons on the Showtime series Dead Like Me, with Mandy Patinkin, Melrose Place, NYPD Blue, Touched by an Angel, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Living Single, and Any Day Now. Ms. Guy is also the celebrated author of the book Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary, for which she received an NAACP Image Award nomination. She lives in Atlanta with her daughter, Imani.

Compiled from the press release courtesy of the Huntington Theatre Company (website | profile | tag archive).

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