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Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Press Contact: Jim Torres 617.529.1670
(BOSTON) – SpeakEasy Stage Company will honor Tufts University Professor Barbara Grossman and her husband, former Massachusetts State Treasurer Steve Grossman, for their sustained and generous support of the arts at its 25th Anniversary Gala to be held Friday, April 1, from 6-9PM at the Hyatt Regency, Boston.
Massachusetts State Rep. Cory Atkins (D-Concord) will be on hand to present to the Grossman’s the company’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino Memorial Award for Inspired Support of the Arts in Boston
Barbara Grossman is a full-time faculty member in the Drama and Dance Department at Tufts University, a theater historian, voice specialist, director, and author. A presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts (1994‐1999) and the United States Holocaust Memorial Council (2000‐2005), Barbara was a member of the Museum’s Committee on Conscience until 2011. She served on the Mass Humanities board from 1992 to 1998 and has been vice chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council since 2007. She was also recently appointed to the Leadership Council for Boston Creates, a community‐wide effort to build a shared vision for Boston’s creative future.
Steve Grossman currently serves as CEO for the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), where he leads a dynamic and growing team of professionals dedicated to achieving economic prosperity in America’s inner cities. Prior to ICIC, he served as Treasurer of Massachusetts from 2011-2015. Prior to that, he served for 35 years as President of Grossman Marketing Group, a fourth-generation marketing communications firm started by his grandfather. Throughout his career, has been an active leader in many civic, philanthropic and political organizations.
“SpeakEasy Stage is pleased to honor both Barbara and Steve as true friends of both the arts and Boston artists,” said SpeakEasy Stage Company Founder and Producing Artistic Director Paul Daigneault in announcing the award.
“Throughout their many years of service, the Grossmans have advocated for and demonstrated the power of the arts to change lives and build healthy, vibrant communities,” Daigneault added. “Thus, we are excited to honor them both with the company’s own Mayor Thomas M. Menino Memorial Award, given annually for Inspired Support of the Arts in Boston.”
Tickets to SpeakEasy Stage Company’s 25th Anniversary Gala, which includes the award ceremony, will go on sale February 15. Tickets are $250 and include a cocktail reception, open bar, seated dinner, silent auction, and live performances by some of Boston’s top musical theater performers.
For more information about the gala, the public can call SpeakEasy Stage Development Associate Rebecca Miller at 617-482-3279 or visit www.SpeakEasyStage.com/gala .
Professor of Drama Barbara Wallace Grossman is a theater historian, voice specialist, director and author whose publications include Funny Woman: The Life and Times of Fanny Brice and A Spectacle of Suffering: Clara Morris on the American Stage. A presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts (1994‐1999) and the United States Holocaust Memorial Council (2000‐2005), she was a member of the Museum’s Committee on Conscience until 2011. She served on the Mass Humanities board from 1992 to 1998 and has been Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council since 2007. Recently named to the Leadership Council for Boston Creates, a community‐wide effort to build a shared vision for Boston’s creative future, she continues her long affiliation with the American Repertory Theater as a member of its Board of Advisors and recently re‐joined the Anti‐Defamation League’s New England Regional Board. She also sings regularly at Shabbat Alive services at Temple Emanuel in Newton and is a member of its Adult Choir.
In addition to being a fulltime faculty member in the Department of Drama and Dance at Tufts, Barbara is affiliated with the Judaic Studies program and the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. Chair of the Academic Awards Committee and the Graduate School of Arts and Science’s Executive Committee, she is a founding member of IMAGe (Initiative on Mass Atrocities and Genocide). She also serves on the Academic Standing and Honors Committee and the advisory boards of the Center for the Humanities and the International Letters and Visual Studies program. Inducted into the Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Tufts in 2010 in recognition of her contribution to the arts and the university community, she won the GSAS Outstanding Service Award in Spring 2015.
Barbara teaches a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses at Tufts including The American Musical, Imagining the Holocaust on Stage and Screen, Confronting Genocide on Stage and Screen, and Voice & Speech: the Art of Confident Expression, all of which she created. As a director, her dramatic work has ranged from Our Country’s Good to Our Class, The Illusion to Arcadia. Musical productions have included A Little Night Music; Parade; Company; Kiss Me, Kate; and Rent. To commemorate the centennial of the Armenian genocide in 2015, she directed Boston‐area playwright Joyce Van Dyke’s Daybreak, based on the experience of two genocide survivors.
An honors graduate of Smith College (where she majored in English, minored in Sociology, and inconceivably did no theater except Rally Day shows!), Barbara received an MFA in Directing from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts and a PhD in Drama from Tufts. After her promotion to full professor in 2010, she spent a sabbatical year studying Voice and Speech at the A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard. She and Steve are blessed to have three wonderful sons (David, Benjamin, and Joshua), two splendid daughters‐in‐law (Mary Jo and Rebecca), five extraordinary grandchildren (William, Carina, Luke, Madeleine, and Jack), and a sweet Springer Spaniel named Sally.
As CEO of ICIC, Steve leads a dynamic and growing team of professionals dedicated to achieving economic prosperity in America’s inner cities. Steve is focused on setting ICIC’s strategic direction, leading the organization through a period of rapid growth and extending ICIC’s national visibility and brand. He directs ICIC’s efforts to secure new partners and drive private sector engagement and investment.
Prior to joining ICIC, Steve was elected Treasurer of Massachusetts in 2010 and served in that position from 2011 until 2015. One of his principal achievements in that office was the creation of the Small Business Banking Partnership, a pioneering initiative that was responsible for moving almost $400 million of state deposits into community banks that used these funds to make more than 10,000 loans with a value of over $1.6 billion, with a principal focus on businesses owned by women, minorities, immigrants and veterans.
Prior to taking office, Steve served for 35 years as President of Grossman Marketing Group, a fourth-generation marketing communications firm started by his grandfather. Steve has been an active leader in many civic, philanthropic and political organizations. These positions include former board chair of Brandeis University, former national chairman of the Democratic National Committee, former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), founding board member of MassInc and life trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts. He currently chairs the advisory board of Cambridge College.
Steve graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar. He is married to Dr. Barbara Wallace Grossman, a theater historian and director, who is a professor in the Department of Drama & Dance at Tufts University and serves as vice-chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Steve and Barbara have three sons, David, Ben and Josh, and five grandchildren.
The Mayor Thomas M. Menino Memorial Award for Inspired Support of the Arts in Boston was established by SpeakEasy Stage in 2015 to honor the late mayor’s legacy and commitment to the arts in Boston. Presented posthumously to Mayor Menino and accepted by wife Angela Menino at the company’s 2015 gala, SpeakEasy Stage decided to further mark his achievement by establishing this award in his honor and presenting it annually to those who share his spirit and commitment to the arts.
Cory Atkins won the office of State Representative in the fall of 1999 in a special election. Since that time she has worked tirelessly on voters’ priorities concerning education, the environment, economic growth, local transportation, and the relationship between our communities and state government. Rep. Atkins was promoted to Chair of the Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development for the 2013-2014 legislative session. In this role, Rep. Atkins leads committee members in considering all legislative matters pertaining to tourism, arts and cultural development in the Commonwealth and promotes job creation in those industries. Prior to this position, she was the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Rules for four years.
Currently, she is working shoulder to shoulder with Common Cause to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited corporate spending on political campaigns. Through these efforts and in collaboration with her colleagues in the House and Senate the Legislature passed a resolution that she filed in the House calling on Congress to overturn Citizens United.
One of her greatest achievements so far has been passage of An Act Relative to Harassment Prevention Orders in 2010. Prior to this law, citizens of the Commonwealth could only request a restraining order against a relative or someone with whom they had a significant dating relationship. The law now allows people to obtain a restraining order against anyone who is demonstrably stalking or harassing them.
She fought for more state funding for special education, for the METCO program, and to obtain favorable rates for the School Building Assistance for her towns. She has worked closely with town officials to balance the demands of economic development, the desire to preserve open space, and the increasing financial pressures on local services. She has secured funding for Route 2 renovations and improvements.
In the 2011-2012 Legislative Session Cory Atkins has served as the House co-chair of the Caucus of Women Legislators. As co-chair she has helped the Caucus to develop relationships with legislative leadership, the Commission on the Status of Women, and other agencies and groups. In addition she and the Caucus have worked together to support a number of bills that effect women’s lives including alimony reform, equitable coverage in disability insurance, and equal pay for equal work. During her time as co-chair, the Caucus has drawn attention to women’s heart health, screened a documentary about the portrayal of women in the media, and hosted the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts.
Cory Atkins was committed to public service long before she was elected to the House. As a community activist, she has been an active member of international, national, and local organizations including the Environmental League of Massachusetts, the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, the Lowell Mayor’s Drug Task Force, the Concord Assabet and Family Services, the Domestic Violence Victims Assistance Program, Walden Woods, the League of Women Voters of Concord-Carlisle, the Fundraiser for Network for Women’s Lives, the Concord Democratic Town Committee (twenty year member and former co-chair), the Fundraiser for Concord Children’s Center, the Handel and Haydn Society, and Amnesty International.
As an instructor and lecturer, Cory Atkins taught courses at Middlesex Community College in U.S. Government and Women in Management. She has also participated as a guest commentator on Channels 2, 4, 5 and 6, and has written a political column for The Middlesex News (now the Metrowest Daily News). She attended UMass-Boston and graduated Magna Cum Laude in Political Science, prior to which she attended Burdett Business School and graduated with an Associate’s degree in Marketing Research. She is most proud of her family, and she is pleased that both of her children have bought homes in Concord and are now raising their own families there.
SpeakEasy Stage Company stages Boston premiers and champions local talent. We connect Boston audiences and artists by producing relevant, intimate, and surprising theatre. We lead a courageous, compassionate, and open-hearted theatre community that reflects the vibrance and diversity of our city. We value collaboration, excellence, responsibility, respect, inclusion, and joy.
A Boston-based nonprofit professional theater company, SpeakEasy Stage Company is the Pavilion Resident Theater for the Boston Center for the Arts and currently produces 27-30 weeks of new plays and musicals each season at the Nancy and Ed Roberts Studio Theater.
As a mission-driven organization, we exist to connect Boston audiences and artists by producing relevant, intimate, and surprising theatre.
• We are passionate about staging Boston premieres and championing local talent.
• We lead a courageous, compassionate and open-hearted theatre community, which develops local talent and reflects the vibrance and diversity of our city.
• We value collaboration, responsibility, courage, respect, inclusion, joy, and excellence.
Founded in 1992, the company has emerged as a leader in Greater Boston’s theatre community and a cornerstone of the arts and culture scene in Boston’s South End neighborhood.
SpeakEasy hosts artist forums to engage our audiences in dialogue about the important issues in our productions. Through dialogue with playwrights, directors, actors, and designers, we continue to expand the role of theater as a catalyst for conversation and for the advancement of equality, compassion, and community building
Paul Daigneault is the Producing Artistic Director and founder of SpeakEasy Stage Company. He received his BA in English and Theatre from Boston College in 1987. He subsequently studied directing with Bob Moss, founder of Off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons. While in New York City, Paul worked as the Education Coordinator and Asst. Production Manager at Second Stage Theater. It was Second Stage’s intimate setting that inspired Paul’s vision for SpeakEasy.
In 1992, Paul returned to Boston and founded SpeakEasy Stage Company to fill the need for fresh and innovative programming in Boston’s theatre community and to provide greater opportunities for Boston-area artists. He set out to demand the best from Boston artists while at the same time creating a positive work atmosphere where artists felt safe enough to put forth their best. The fulfillment of this vision is apparent in the number of artists who consistently return to SpeakEasy. Paul’s vision includes the belief that the best theatre comes from relationships and communication. He seeks to nurture Boston directors, designers, and actors by giving them the opportunity to work directly with the playwrights and composers of SpeakEasy’s mainstage shows.
This season, Paul will direct SpeakEasy’s productions of Violet and Dogfight. His directing highlights from the past five seasons at SpeakEasy include: Big Fish, Mothers & Sons, The Color Purple, In the Heights, Next to Normal; Xanadu; Nine; Body Awareness; The Great American Trailer Park Musical; [title of show]; and The Savannah Disputation. Paul’s work at The Boston Conservatory includes teaching Junior Musical Theater and the Senior Directing Emphasis. In 2014, Paul was honored with the Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence. In 2007, Paul was honored with the Boston College Arts Council’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Achievement, and in 2001-2012, served as the Rev. J. Donald Monan, S.J., Professor in Theatre Arts at Boston College.