Academy of Music 155th Anniversary Concert and Ball


Major movers and shakers in Philadelphia’s economy were among the 1500 supporters at Saturday night’s 155th Anniversary Academy of Music Concert and Ball, including (left to right) Ron and Rachelle Kaiserman, Robert and Caroline Zuritsky, and Renee and Joe Zuritsky.

— by Bonnie Squires

Philadelphia’s premier white-tie event took place at the historic Academy of Music, preceded by receptions and dinner at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue.

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s 155th Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball featured the debut on the Academy of Music stage of. Music Director Designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin , with special guests multiple Grammy Award®-winners singer/pianist Diana Krall and cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Tipping its hat once again to the first Academy concert, the program was a mix of popular and classical music, just as the 1857 opening concert was.

Jazz performer Krall surprised the audience by calling back on stage her friend and collaborator, Yo-Yo Ma, to the delight of everyone.

More after the jump.


Terese Casey, wife of Senator Bob Casey, and Felice Wiener

Yannick also had the Philadanco dancers, reflecting the rainbow of colores which lit the stage and columns of the Academy, perform to the strains of the orchestra.  A surprise finish was the appearance of the Society Hill Dancers, dressed in formal attire of the 1850s, doing a waltz.

The Jewish community was among 1500 supporters of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Academy of Music, an historic monument to music, opera and dance. The Gala evening began with a pre-concert dinner. Guests could choose from two exciting offerings this year: the President’s Cocktail Party and Dinner at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue, or a Dine Around option, which allows patrons to dine at selected restaurants along the Avenue of the Arts, or on their own. In a nod to the Academy’s early years, and in a unique departure from recent history, both the Anniversary Concert and the Academy Ball were held entirely within the Academy of Music. A “symphony in three movements,” this unique evening gave attendees the chance to celebrate the “Grand Old Lady of Locust Street” within her very walls.

Public officials attending the evening included Governor and Mrs. Tom Corbett, Senator and Mrs. Bob Casey, a number of city and state officials, and corporate, cultural, arts organizations and philanthropic foundation leaders.


Christina and John Saler

The gala was co-chaired by Joanna McNeil Lewis, president and CEO of the Academy of Music,  and John R. Saler, chairman of Stradley and Ronon’s Government Affairs Practice Group, who also serves on the board of the Philadelphia Orchestra.


Corbetts greet Richard Worley, chairman of the Philadelphia Orchestra, with Joanna McNeil Lewis and John Saler, co-chairs of the Academy of Music Concert and Ball, in the background.

In the receiving line with the co-chairs and the Corbetts were Richard Worley, chairman of the Philadelphia Orchestra board of trustees, and Allison Vulgamore, CEO of the Orchestra.

The energy of Yannick, the Orchestra, the guest artists and the dancers enthralled the audience.  And the impressive program journal, reflecting the support of various segments of the community, was the parting gift as people finally left the Academy balls, held in various sections of the Grand Old Lady of Broad Street.

Photos credit: Bonnie Squires.


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Sandy and David Marshall, with Dianne and Jeff Rotwitt Scott and Lynne Mason with friends Pat and Rob Schaffer Harmelin Group

Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 35th Anniversary Dazzles Audience


(left to right) Ken Kaiserman, long-time Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) board member and past president, was congratulated on his being honored at the 35th anniversary gala by Mayor Michael Nutter and CBS3’s Pat Ciarrocchi, who served as auction host.

— by Bonnie Squires

The Philadelphia Theatre Company (PTC) dazzled hundreds of supporters with its 35th Anniversary celebration Gala, honoring long-time board member Kenneth S. Kaiserman of Kaiserman Company, Inc., and PTC Producing Artistic Director Sara Garonzik on Monday, June 6 at 6PM in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt at the Bellevue.  Governor Ed Rendell served as master of ceremonies, and his son Jesse beamed approvingly from the first table down front.

In addition to the honorees, Rendell praised Suzanne and Ralph Roberts, and Carl Dranoff, the developer of Symphony House, which houses the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, the permanent home of the Philadelphia Theatre Company.

The evening featured appearances by multiple Tony- and Emmy-award-winner Tyne Daly, star of  the upcoming revival of Terrence McNally’s Master Class on Broadway; Broadway and film star Kathleen Turner, who starred in PTC’s world premiere of Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins; Tony Award-winner and frequent PTC performer John Glover; Quentin Darrington, star of the recent revival of Ragtime; and the glorious voice of Alexandra Silber.  

More after the jump.


 (left to right) Jesse Rendell joined Paula Cohen, Richard Green, chairman of Firstrust Bank, and Tim Abell, president of Firstrust Bank, for the festivities at the Bellevue Stratford-Park Hyatt.

A highlight of the Gala was the announcement of the establishment of the Terrence McNally New Play Award presented by Philadelphia Theatre Company annually starting in 2012 in honor of great American playwright, Terrence McNally. McNally  took to the stage to explain that the award recipient will be a playwright who has written a full-length work that celebrates the transformative power of art. Philadelphia Theatre Company premiered Master Class and Golden Age, two of McNally’s works that capture the spirit of this award, which consists of a cash prize for the playwright as well as development support from PTC.


(left to right) Jeffrey Riesenbach, Rachel Hancock, CBS3’s Pat Ciarrocchi, and Cookie and Jerry Riesenbach, Esq., were delighted with the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 35th anniversary gala, especially since Jerry is a past president of the PTC board and both Cookie and Jerry served on the gala committee.

Sara Garonzik, Producing Artistic Director, has directed and produced for Philadelphia Theatre Company since 1982, and introduced more than 140 world or regional premieres of major new American plays and musicals to Philadelphia. Sara is listed in “Who’s Who of American Women” and was named one of Business Philadelphia’s and Philadelphia Magazine’s “People to Watch.” She currently serves as a Board Member of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, as President of the Board of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and on the Advisory Board of PlayPenn, a new play development organization.


(left to right) Howard and Phyllis Fischer; Ron Kaiserman; and Bernie Brownstein, joined the hundreds of supporters at the PTC 35th anniversary gala.

Kenneth S. Kaiserman has served on Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Board of Directors for 34 years, and chaired PTC’s Capital Campaign to build the Suzanne Roberts Theatre. Ken is also a Board Member of Brandeis University, Friends of Rittenhouse Square, North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia. Ken is President of Kaiserman Company, Inc., a real estate development firm which owns and operates commercial and multi-residential property in the tri-state region.


Ralph and Suzanne Roberts were delighted with the support expressed for the Philadelphia Theatre Company and its permanent home at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

Co-chaired by Brigitte F. Daniel, Carol Saline and Paul Rathblott, the Gala combines an entertainment-filled evening and an opportunity to bid on tokens of affection including romantic get-aways, candlelight dinners for two at some of the area’s finest restaurants, one-of-a-kind experiences, jewelry, crafts, and VIP tickets to sports and cultural events.

Founded in 1974, Philadelphia Theatre Company is a leading regional theater company whose mission is to produce, develop and present entertaining and imaginative contemporary theater focused on the American experience that both ignites the intellect and touches the soul.  By developing new work through commissions, readings and workshops PTC generates projects that have a national impact and reach broad regional audiences.  Under the leadership of Sara Garonzik as PTC’s Producing Artistic Director since 1982, PTC supports the work of a growing body of diverse dramatists and takes pride in being a home to scores of nationally recognized artists who have participated in more than 130 world and Philadelphia premieres.  PTC has received 45 Barrymore Awards and 147 nominations.  In October 2007, PTC moved into a home of its own, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre on Center City Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, solidifying the Company’s status as a major player on the American theater scene.  In October 2010, Kathleen Nolan joined PTC as its Interim Managing Director.

Photo Credit: Bonnie Squires