April 15, 2008

It's a Party!


(BOSTON) – Academy Award-winning theatre and film star Olympia Dukakis (best known for her work on the films “Moonstruck” and “Steel Magnolias,” the play “Rose,” and the acclaimed TV miniseries “Tales of the City”) will host the Huntington Theatre Company’s 2008 “Spotlight Spectacular!” gala benefit on Monday, May 5, 2008 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel and Towers.

Proceeds from “Spotlight Spectacular!” support the Huntington’s programs, including its award-winning youth, education, and community outreach initiatives. Last year the event raised more than $700,000.

This year’s event honors Huntington Trustee Carol Deane and her husband Disque, who have been loyal patrons and supporters of the company for many years. The Deanes will receive The Wimberly Award, the Huntington’s highest honor -- named for long-time Board Chairman J. David Wimberly and presented to those who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the company.

Chaired by Huntington Trustee Kristine Scoon and her husband Davey, “Spotlight Spectacular!” features an elegant cocktail reception where guests can bid on unique and interesting silent auction items while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and mingling with high-profile VIPs, including stars of recent and upcoming Huntington productions. A seated dinner, live auction, and entertainment by the Huntington’s special friends follow the reception.

An online auction, now open on www.huntington.cmarket.com, allows Huntington patrons and friends to bid on exciting auction items prior to the event. Among the items are Red Sox/Yankees tickets, the video game “Rock Band,” a tour of the “America's Test Kitchen” set, dinners at Boston’s best restaurants, golf outings, theatre tickets, and much more.

“Spotlight Spectacular!” tickets sold out last year. Table prices range from $7,500 to $25,000. this year and individual tickets are $500 and $1,500. For more information about the event, to sponsor a table, or to purchase tickets, contact Michelle Williams at (617) 273-1536 or MWilliams@huntingtontheatre.bu.edu.


Olympia Dukakis became a household name and sought-after film actress when she turned in an Oscar-winning performance as a sardonic mother in the 1987 romantic comedy “Moonstruck.” But she had been a staple on the New York theatre scene since her Broadway debut in 1961. Her virtuosity from cutting-edge comedy to stark tragedy has kept her in high demand for the past 30 years as of one of Hollywood's top character actors.

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Dukakis majored in physical therapy at Boston University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree. During her fledgling actor days she supported herself as a physical therapist. She returned to B.U. later and received a Master of Fine Arts degree.

Dukakis made her Broadway debut as an understudy in "The Aspern Papers" at age 30. After marrying Yugoslav-American actor Louis Zorich, the New York-based couple co-founded The Whole Theatre Company in Montclair, New Jersey, and ran it for 15 years. She scored theater triumphs in "A Man's a Man", for which she won an OBIE Award in 1962, and made an impact in productions of "The Cherry Orchard," "Mother Courage," "Six Character in Search of an Author," "The Rose Tattoo," "The Seagull"; "The Marriage of Bette and Boo" (OBIE Award) and many performances of the title role in "Hecuba".

Dukakis’ scene-stealing work in the Broadway comedy "Social Security" (1986) caught director Norman Jewison's eye and earned her the “Moonstruck” role in 1987. In addition to the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress that year, “Moostruck” earned Dukakis awards from the New York Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics, and the Golden Globes. Dukakis began landing high-profile roles in “Steel Magnolias” (1989), “The Cemetery Club” (1993), “Mr. Holland's Opus” (1995) and many more. On TV, she broke ground with her portrayal of the sympathetic transgender landlady in the epic miniseries "Tales of the City" (1993) and its sequel, “More Tales of the City” (which earned her an Emmy Award nomination).

In 2007 Dukakis revived her solo turn in the play "Rose" (2000), which earned her an Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Award nomination.

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