"Believe in something larger than yourself. ... Get involved in the big ideas of your time." - Barbara Bush
LOWELL - Nancy L. Donahue, honorary chair of the Friends of the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and gala co-Chairs Ann Kazer and Tom Larkin on June 2 welcomed more than 200 patrons to the Friends' 39th Anniversary Gala, honoring U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas and MRT's John Levicki, held at UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center.
Congresswoman Tsongas, who is always humble and quite personable, received the Donahue Community Leadership Award, named for Donahue who is also founder of the MRT. This award honors an individual or organization who has contributed extraordinary effort, resources and spirit to partnering with MRT as a leader in the Lowell community.
The late John Levicki, who passed away in April, was MRT's assistant house manager. He was posthumously presented with the Paul Tsongas Award, created by MRT in 1993 "to single out remarkable citizens who have provided distinctive leadership for both Merrimack Repertory Theatre and the larger Community." The award is named in recognition of Paul Tsongas' standard-setting generosity and vision, and honors the MRT's belief that, in Paul's words, "There is common purpose, shared and inescapable."
John was a beloved presence at the theater. In addition to volunteering as an usher and helping to run the front house at MRT, he was also active in the Lowell cultural-arts community.
Theater buffs listened to live music by The Real Cool Cats, energetic and compassionate mistress of ceremonies and auctioneer Julia Brothers ("Silent Sky"), and outstanding performances by MRT actors Charissa Bertels ("My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend") and Kristen Mengelkoch ("The Villains' Supper Club"), while dining on an exquisite menu.
MRT takes a bow for raising $110,000 for its signature education programs, student matinees and Young Company program. Those programs serve more than 6,000 youths in Lowell and the Merrimack Valley. BRAVO!
To learn more, visit www.mrt.org/education.
Happy Father's Day to all the amazing dads!