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Imagination Stage’s Annual Gala: TELL YOUR STORY

Imagination Stage's Annual Gala took place on April 30, 2022 at The Howard Theatre in Washington, DC.

Imagination Stage students and the Urban Nation Choir perform “Show Your Heart” by Rickey Payton. 
Photo by Noe Todorovich.

On Saturday, April 30, Imagination Stage’s Annual Gala: Tell Your Story was held at The Howard Theatre. This was the first gala to take place at the historic venue since the pandemic began. The event was chaired by Jessica Boger, Candice Tolliver Burns, Ginger Dietrich, and Tiffany Rose.

After a two-year hiatus, the Annual Gala was an energetic evening of exciting company and unique performances celebrating the stories of our young people. The evening included performances from Imagination Stage students and the Urban Nation Choir, directed by Rickey Payton; Soul in Motion African Dance and Drum, directed by Michael Friend; as well as a lively Flash Mob to end the evening featuring students, staff, and board members.

Student performers Jordan Brown (left) and Margaret Melia (right) present Gala Chairs (from left to right) Tiffany Rose, Jessica Boger, Ginger Dietrich, and Candice Tolliver Burns with bouquets. 
Photo by Noe Todorovich.

This year’s Imagine Award recipient was Cathy Bernard, who has been a key supporter and advisor to Imagination Stage since 2003 and serves on the Board of Trustees as a Vice President. Former Congresswoman and Ambassador Connie Morella, former First Lady of Montgomery County Catherine Leggett, and Imagination Stage Founder Bonnie Fogel were among those who presented her with the award and all in attendance celebrated her storied philanthropy and commitment to Montgomery County not-for-profit arts organizations.

The Imagination Stage Artist Honoree was Josh Andrés Rivera. This inaugural award recognizes an exemplary professional who can be a role model for students. Rivera can currently be seen as "Chino" in Steven Spielberg's critically acclaimed adaptation of West Side Story for Twentieth Century Studios. He is an advocate for immigrant rights and he feels passionately about organizations that empower kids, and help them amplify their voices.

Imagine Award Recipient Cathy Bernard (center) takes a picture with Imagination Stage President Emeritus Jane Fairweather (left) and Montgomery Country Councilmember Andrew Friedson (right). 
Photo by Noe Todorovich.

The elegant and theatrical event raised nearly $330,000. All funds raised support Imagination Stage’s professional theatre and arts education programs, including their ground-breaking Theatre for Change programming, which uses theatre productions and workshops to bridge cultural divides and lift up historically underrepresented voices while exploring complex social justice issues.  

You can support this vital work by texting TELLYOURSTORY to 44-321. 

Imagination Stage Maryland President-elect Kim Barnette (left)  and Founding Artistic Director Janet Stanford (right). 
Photo by Noe Todorovich.

Event Producers: Chelsey Christensen and Emma Cummings

Director: Janet Stanford

Assistant Director: Kathryn Chase Bryer

Music Director: Rickey Payton, Sr.

Choreographer: Sandra Holloway

Assistant Choreographer: Ariarna Murphy

Gala Chairs 

Jessica Boger 

Candice Tolliver Burns 

Ginger Dietrich 

Tiffany Rose 

Host Committee 

Dr. Kim Barnette 

Ashley Bronczek 

Calvin Cafritz 

Jane Cafritz 

Camille Fesche 

David Frederick 

Julianna Goldman 

Michael Gottlieb 

David Harrison 

David Hurwitz 

Melissa Hurwitz 

Benjamin Jacobs 

Gail Jacobs 

Matthew Killian 

Host Committee (cont.)

Kristin and Hanan Kivett

Sachiko Kuno 

Catherine Leggett 

Lynne Lightfoote 

Sophia Lynn 

Arnold Polinger 

Diane Polinger 

Tena Nauheim 

Margo Sadow 

Michael Sadow 

Carolyn Schugar 

Frank Schugar 

Chris Taylor 

Anna Trone 

Robert Trone





Cathy Bernard

Jessica Boger and Greg Rapawy


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Ginger and Richard Dietrich

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Diane and Arnold Polinger


Ashley and Matthew Bronczek

Jane and Calvin Cafritz

Julianna Goldman and Michael Gottlieb

Melissa and David Hurwitz

Gail and Benjamin Jacobs

Matthew Killian

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Sophia Lynn and David Frederick

Tena Nauheim and David Harrison

Margo and Michael Sadow

Carolyn and Frank Schugar

Anna and Robert Trone


Pennie and Gary Abramson

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Candice Tolliver Burns

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Lerch, Early, and Brewer

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Nancy Ordway

Malina and Mike Patel

Patricia Payne

Deborah Phillips and John Lawrence

Julie and Frank Allen Philpot

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Amber and Warren Romine

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