The 2024 Annual Gala

Celebrating the Women Who Made Imagination Stage

May 10, 2024 – May 10, 2024
Age Range

Hosted at The National Museum of Women in the Arts

Event Time: 7:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Imagine Award Recipient: Janet Stanford, Founding Artistic Director

Gala Chairs: Ashley Bronczek and Michelle Johnstone

The 2024 Annual Gala is a "Mamma Mia!" themed, cocktail-style party with live, musical performances celebrating the many women who have made Imagination Stage.


We are proud to present the Imagine Award to our Founding Artistic Director, Janet Stanford, honoring her 30 years of extraordinary leadership, dedication, and artistry on behalf of our region's young people.


After the performances, Imagine Award presentation, and auction, get ready to channel your inner Dancing Queen and groove all night to hits from your favorite musicals, the 70s, and more!



2024 Imagine Award Recipient 

Janet Stanford


Janet Stanford is a theatre artist dedicated to opening hearts, inspiring minds, and igniting imaginations.  Along with Imagination Stage’s Founder, Bonnie Fogel, Janet grew a small arts academy into a nationally prominent Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) and Youth Development institution with an annual budget of $6M, housed in a 42,000 sf purpose-built arts center in downtown Bethesda, MD. Over the past three decades, Janet has heightened the profile of professional theatre for young people by commissioning 50 new works, adopting an Actors’ Equity contract, and successfully advocating for the inclusion of TYA productions in the Helen Hayes Awards. Janet has brought many distinguished playwrights to the theatre, including David S. Craig (Canada) and Charles Way (UK), as well as Americans Karen Zacarias, Joan Cushing, Eric Coble, Barry Kornhauser, and Psalmayene 24. Under her leadership, the theatre has created educational plays for teens about biotechnology as well as social justice topics, including youth migration and racial profiling. She introduced Theatre for the Very Young to the USA and has co-produced and co-commissioned with other top TYA theatres in this country and abroad. Janet has traveled on grants from South America to Europe and Asia in search of new partners and inspiration for IStage programs. She has twice been nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Best Director and has written several plays for children, including The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, Aladdin’s Luck, and Mother Goose. She is the 2017 winner of the Harold Oaks Award for Innovation in Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA).

Host Committee

Raya Bakalov

Sylvia Thomas Ballinger

Kim W. Barnette, PhD

Jill Bruno

Kristin & John Cecchi

Charlie Crowley 

Christina Cuomo Diver

Missy Edwards

Julianna Goldman

Dawn Halfaker

David & Melissa Hurwitz

Louisa Imperiale

Jen Kavounas

Jenna & Patrick Lanier

Sara Lange

Jaime & Greg Marcus

Catherine Nguyen

Nicolle Rippeon

Betsy Williams

Heather Guay Yoo


2024 Gala Sponsors



Ashley & Matthew Bronczek




Jason Najjoum

Diane and Arnold Polinger


Dr. and Mr. Kim & Corey Barnette

Julianna Goldman & Michael Gottlieb

Dawn Halfaker & Dabney Clifton

Michelle & Alexander Johnstone

Kristin & Hanan Kivett

Lanier Landscapes 


Jan Donohoe McNamara & Charles McNamara

Ridgewells Catering

Nicolle Rippeon 

Robert, Anna, & Sophia Trone


681 Marketing Studio

Raya Bakalov & Max Johnson

Jill Bruno

Kristin & John Cecchi

Charlie Crowley 

Charles DeShazer, MD & Sylvia Thomas Ballinger

Christina Cuomo Diver

Missy Edwards

Bonnie Fogel

David & Melissa Hurwitz

Louisa Imperiale

Jen Kavounas

Sara & Chris Lange

Jaime & Greg Marcus

CBrian Kowalski & Catherine Nguyen

Petroleum Marketing Group, Inc

Carolyn & Frank Schugar

Betsy Williams


Signey Adams

Mara Bralove & Ari Fisher

Raquel Carson

Chelsey Christensen & John Groth

Circle of Friends

John & Ann Davis

Greg Enloe

Foley & Lardner LLP

Barbara J. and Thomas Gottschalk

McLean School

Nancy Ordway

Katie & Mehdi Pirzadeh

The Honorable Lily Qi & Phil Peng

Julie and Frank Allen Philpot


Margo & Michael Sadow

Janet Stanford & Leo Stone

Talapatra Family

Yasemin Washington & Khari Brown

Maya Weil

Maura & Jim White

Heather Guay Yoo

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