Long Wharf Theatre honored two longtime staffers, a former chair of the Board of Trustees, and a local business with the theatre's Founder's Award.
The Founders Awards were given on Monday, May 7 at the theatre's 2012-13 season announcement event. Jerry Pecoraro and Keith Hyatte, longtime theatre staffers, Dr. Jerry Meyer, a member of the Board of Trustees and the HB Group, Inc. were recognized.
The Founders Award was created to acknowledge organizations, businesses and individuals who have made long term outstanding contributions to Long Wharf Theatre. The theatre's founders were known for their commitment and dedication and the award seeks to honor those who mirror those same qualities.
"One of the hallmarks of a true theatre professional is commitment and devotion. In different ways, each individual's service has made an indelible impact on Long Wharf Theatre, whether through the art on stage or in the careful and diligent administration of the institution. Long Wharf Theatre could not have grown to what it is now and continue its success without people like these. We are in their debt," said Charles Kingsley, chair of the Board of Trustees.
Keith Hyatte has worked at Long Wharf Theatre since 1974, serving as the charge scenic artist – the person responsible for painting sets and backdrops. "Keith is one of the most gifted scenic artists working in regional theatre and is largely responsible for the extraordinary transformation of our space from show to show," said Managing Director Joshua Borenstein.
Jerome Pecoraro began his service at Long Wharf Theatre in 1976, serving currently as the business manager. He is the longest serving full-time employee in the theatre's history. "Jerry is an army of one in the business office, our institutional memory and a true jack of all trades … and he knows where all the bodies are buried," Borenstein said.
"We wanted to recognize their extraordinary tenure and contribution to the theatre. Both men are 100 percent committed to our work," said Borenstein.
Dr. Jerry Meyer served for 20 years on the Board of Trustees, including two terms as chair. His contribution as a friend and advocate of the institution are nonpareil. "He's passionate and he has so much enthusiasm and quite a bit of moxie. He has the biggest heart in the world. These things have made him a tremendous fundraiser and advocate for the work we do," said Borenstein.
"Jerry Meyer's impact on this institution is unquantifiable," said Gordon Edelstein, Long Wharf Theatre's artistic director. "His financial, emotional, and spiritual contributions to this theatre are profound and everlasting."
HB Group, Inc., based in North Haven, is one of the unsung heroes of Long Wharf Theatre's production department. Their contributions of audiovisual equipment for both events, like the yearly Gala, and productions, such as Agnes Under the Big Top. "Theatre is such a visual experience that use of projections and will often make or break the experience for the audience. HB Group's staff understand the unique nature of the theatre, and has been generous with their time and expertise," said Borenstein.
In addition, the theatre presented Gabriel Kahane, musician and composer of this season's hit musical February House, the Claire Tow Emerging Artist Award. This cash award is given to an artist who has displayed tremendous promise in the early stage of their career. Previous winners have been playwrights Julia Cho and Noah Haidle, actress Mirielle Enos, and director Evan Cabnet.