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Harman Center for the Arts
Annual Gala

On November 1, 2015 the Shakespeare Theatre Company held the Harman Center for the Arts Annual Gala under the gracious patronage of the Honorable Kim Beazley, Ambassador of Australia to the United States.

It was a privilege to honor Julie Taymor with the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre, and JM Zell Partners, Ltd. with the Sidney Harman Award for Philanthropy in the Arts. The performance Imagine: Shakespeare featured Dame Helen Mirren and pieces from opera singer Albina Shagimuratova, Joffrey Principal Dancers Fabrice Calmels and Victoria Jaiani, Broadway stars Jennifer Damiano and Tom Alan Robbins, and a surprise performance of “Circle of Life,” led by the original Rafiki from Taymor’s Broadway production of The Lion King, Tsidii Le Loka. Guests were also treated to video footage of Taymor’s masterful interpretations of Shakespearean text, introduced by past STC and Taymor collaborators Tina Benko, Sam Tsoutsouvas, and Clifton Duncan. Last but not least, our artistic and educational programs were highlighted by a musical medley from our upcoming production of Kiss Me, Kate, a video montage of STC education programs at work in our community, and a remarkable recitation of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be…” soliloquy by STC Camp Shakespeare alum Jackson de Vallance, age 12.
The vibrant atmosphere of the National Building Museum, included surrealist walls, a delectable dinner, and a special performance from the innovative MOMIX dance company. It was truly an unforgettable night that raised indispensable funds for our numerous arts education and community engagement programs.

Find event photos on our Facebook page!

For more information contact:
Moriah Lemming
Special Events Manager
202.547.3230 ext.2330

The Harman Center for the Arts Annual Gala is considered one of “Washington’s most buzzed-about galas,” and its proceeds provide indispensable funds for the Theatre’s education and outreach programs, including the annual Free For All.  Each summer, the Free For All brings three weeks of free Shakespeare to D.C.-area residents.  Since Michael Kahn founded the event in 1991, more than 600,000 people—many of whom might not otherwise possess the means to see a full-scale theatrical production—have enjoyed some of STC’s most acclaimed productions completely free of charge.

Following the spectacular array of multidisciplinary performances in Sidney Harman Hall, guests enjoy the stunning atmosphere of the National Building Museum, one of D.C.’s premier event spaces, to mingle with the stars of the evening and enjoy a gourmet dinner and dancing.


Artistic Director
Michael Kahn

Gala Leadership
Nick and Marla Allard
Jerry and Isabel Jasinowski
Anita Antenucci
Abbe David Lowell and Molly A. Meegan
Melissa Moss and Jonathan Silver

Gala Committee
Stephen Allis
Stefanie Erkiletian
Miguel and Patricia Estrada
Meg and John Hauge
Kevin and Stephani Kolevar
Stephen and Lisa Ryan
Pauline Schneider
Tom and Cathie Woteki
Suzanne and Glenn Youngkin


The Will Award will be presented to Julie Taymor for her contribution to classical theatre in America and in honor of her prolific career directing now-iconic plays, musicals, opera, and film.

Taymor—the first female Will Award recipient honored for directing—is praised by critics and audiences alike for her ambitious and imaginative interpretations of works such as Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Across the Universe, and the Broadway musical The Lion King. Her visions immerse audiences in the worlds she creates; her productions are multi-dimensional events that have enthralled audiences of all ages.

Since her undergraduate years at Oberlin, when Taymor studied mythology and folklore alongside theatre, her directorial philosophy has been to present cross-cultural adaptations without shying away from difficult subjects or challenging issues.

Taymor’s awards include direction and design Tony Awards for The Lion King, an Emmy Award for Oedipus Rex, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two Obie Awards.


Philanthropy is a core value at JM Zell. As a company, they support many local and national causes, focusing their efforts on issues ranging from arts and culture to education, health and Holocaust remembrance.

JM Zell has been a significant and generous supporter of Shakespeare Theatre Company’s programs for over a decade. Their loyal support has been essential in creating the quality productions on the stages of the Harman Center for the Arts as well as many education and community engagement programs. In addition, JM Zell has been an enormous asset thus far in the process of creating the Bard, the innovative mixed-use studio, office, and residential development that will consolidate the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production facilities, rehearsal spaces, company housing, and administrative operations.