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Berkeley Rep’s OVATION gala

Saturday, April 13, 2024
The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco


Thank you to our supporters for joining us to celebrate the transformative power of storytelling. It was an extraordinary evening which paid tribute to our esteemed honorees, Michael Mayer and Peggy & Yogen Dalal, for their dedication to the arts and American theatre, featured a sneak peek of the world premiere musical Galileo, and helped to raise a staggering $821,000 in support of Berkeley Rep’s artistic and education programs.

We also want to extend our thanks to the evening’s incredible performers Raúl Esparza, John Gallagher, Jr., Jeremy Kushnier, Christian Magby, Madalynn Mathews, and Erica Sweany for their mesmerizing talent.

Your commitment to Berkeley Rep and the arts community at large is truly inspiring. Thank you for being a vital part of our journey and for helping us continue to illuminate hearts and minds through the power of theatre.

Visit the 2024 OVATION gallery to view photos from the evening by Drew Altizer Photography


OVATION gala featured performers

Raúl Esparza's headshot


Broadway: Leap of Faith, Arcadia, Speed-the-Plow, The Homecoming, Company, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Taboo, Cabaret, The Rocky Horror Show. Off-Broadway: Seared, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Normal Heart, Comedians, tick, tick... BOOM! ENCORES!: Anyone Can Whistle, The Cradle Will Rock, Road Show, Oliver! Kennedy Center: Chess, 2002 Sondheim Celebration: Sunday in the Park with George and Merrily We Roll Along. National Tour: Evita (20th Anniversary Tour). Television: A Murder at the End of the World, Candy, Dopesick, Law & Order: SVU, Hannibal, The Path, Bojack Horseman, Pushing Daisies. Four-time Tony Award nominee and recipient of the OBIE, two New York Outer Critics Awards, the Barrymore, the LA Ovation Award, the Jose Ferrer Award, three Drama Desk Awards, and the Theater World Award.

John Gallagher, Jr.'s headshot


John won a 2007 Tony Award for his role in the ground-breaking rock musical Spring Awakening. Other Broadway credits include Long Day’s Journey into Night, Jerusalem, Green Day’s American Idiot, and Rabbit Hole. Off-Broadway credits include Farragut North, Port Authority, and Kimberly Akimbo. He starred in Aaron Sorkin’s HBO drama series The Newsroom, as well as the acclaimed miniseries Olive Kitteridge. He has appeared in such films as Underwater, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Hush, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Short Term 12, Margaret, and Pieces of April. John’s two albums of original music, Six Day Hurricane and 8th and Jane, are both available to stream online.


Photo by Daniel King

Jeremy Kushnier's headshot


Jeremy is over the sun and moon to be making his Berkley Rep debut. Broadway: Rent (Roger), Jersey Boys (Tommy DeVito), Footloose (Ren), Paramour (AJ), Head over Heels (Basilius). TV: The Good Wife, Person of Interest, and Nurse Jackie. Film: The Idea of Manhood. Jeremy has two independent albums available wherever you stream music. @jeremykushnier

Christian Magby's headshot


Christian is thrilled to be making his Berkeley Rep debut. Recent theatre credits include Beauty and the Beast (City Springs Theatre), Christmas in Connecticut (Pioneer Theater Company). He also worked as an actor/music director: A Christmas Carol (Alliance Theatre), In the Heights (Aurora Theatre), Freaky Friday (Horizon Theatre Company), Once on This Island (Georgia Ensemble Theatre), among others. Film/TV credits include the Oscar nominated feature One Night in Miami, two seasons on CW’s The Flash and a recurring on CW’s Legacies. As a composer, his musicals Mother of God and The Incredible Book Eating Boy (Alliance Theatre) both received world premieres in 2022. Proud alum of SCAD and the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta. IG: @christianmagby

Madalynn Mathews' headshot


Berkeley Repertory Theatre debut. Madalynn has recently been seen at Lincoln Center in The Mabel Mercer Foundation’s cabaret convention ’23, ’22. She works in the music scene playing all original music at venues such as The Bitter End and performing with her jazz band in various clubs. She recently finished her first feature film, Cart Pushers (Vincent D’Allessandro). From the Mabel Mercer Foundation, she received the Julie Wilson Award endowment ’23. Attended Mason Gross School of Arts at Rutgers University for acting. Professional Performing Arts High School (PPAS NYC) for musical theater.

OVATION gala honorees

Michael Mayer's headshot


Michael Mayer (Director). Currently Off-Broadway: revival Little Shop of Horrors. Broadway: The Neil Diamond Musical, A Beautiful Noise. Other Broadway highlights: revival of Funny Girl, starring Lea Michele, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Spring Awakening, American Idiot (also co-author), Thoroughly Modern Millie, Side Man, A View from the Bridge, Everyday Rapture, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Triumph of Love. National Tours: Angels in America, Millie, Spring Awakening, Idiot, Hedwig, Charlie Brown. London: a record-breaking West End run of Funny Girl and UK tour, Spring Awakening, Millie, Idiot, Side Man, Marnie at the ENO. Film: Single All the Way, The Seagull, Flicka, A Home at the End of the World.


Michael directed the original musicals American Idiot and Swept Away at Berkeley Rep. He returns this spring with the world premiere musical Galileo.


Photo by Brigitte Lacombe

Yogen & Peggy Dalal's headshots


Yogen and his wife Peggy live in Palo Alto. He is on the board of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Past board services include the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, TheatreWorks, and KQED. Both he and Peggy are members of Impact Partners, an organization that funds independent documentaries on pressing social issues. In 2010 he co-founded and seed funded Glooko, a company focused on creating a unified software platform for diabetes outcomes management, and currently serves on its board. He retired from Mayfield Fund in 2015 after 25 years as a venture capitalist. Prior to Mayfield, he was a founding member of two startups, Claris and Metaphor. He was an original member of the Star and Ethernet development teams at Xerox, and a co-author of the Internet’s TCP Specification in 1974 while a PhD student at Stanford.


Peggy Dalal spends much of her time in her ceramics studio enjoying her craft. She is on the board of the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco and served on the board of TheatreWorks. She previously chaired the board of Avenidas, a non-profit that helps Bay Area mid-Peninsula seniors live well, learn, and maintain their independence, and is associated with a number of community organizations in Palo Alto. She was at Apple from 1979 to 1986 working on the marketing of the Apple II and Mac. She lives in Palo Alto with her husband Yogen and they have two married children in their mid 30s.


Yogen and Peggy are the lead supporters of the Musical Theatre Development Fund at Berkeley Rep.

OVATION gala live auction packages

Ready for a meal you’ll never forget? Be our guest as Berkeley Rep opens our storied scene shop exclusively for your party of 10. Your dining companions for the evening will be none other than two-time Academy Award-winner Tom Hanks and Berkeley Rep Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer.


An East Bay native and noted fan of Berkeley Rep, Tom Hanks is among the most well-respected actors of all time. Upon receiving his 2014 Kennedy Center Honor, the Center noted, “Tom Hanks is the ‘everyman’ whose portrayals make us reconsider our own moral choices. Watching him on screen, we think about what we would do — and have done.” Oprah Winfrey said, “And that’s why we all love you so much. We recognize ourselves in your characters.” From legendary performances in Forrest Gump to Saving Private Ryan to Toy Story, Hanks’ characters will live on for generations to come.


Berkeley Rep’s scene shop in West Berkeley is where all sets, costumes, and props are made for every Berkeley Rep production. Opened in 2011, the scene shop is 39,000 square feet with soaring ceilings — enough to paint full-sized backdrops for the Broadway-size Roda Theatre. Scenery from Berkeley Rep favorites like Swept Away, Ain’t Too Proud, Goddess, Angels in America, and much more, were all created here.


Date will be determined based on Mr. Hanks’ availability within the next 12 months.


Value: Priceless

Embark on the voyage of a lifetime aboard The World, Residences at Sea — the epitome of luxury travel and exploration. As the winner of this exclusive auction lot, you and up to three guests will set sail on a 13-night adventure unlike any other, traversing the azure waters from Las Palmas, Canary Islands to Cadiz, Spain from April 7 through April 20, 2025.


Your journey begins amidst the enchanting landscapes of the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago renowned for its rugged volcanic terrain and breathtaking beaches of black and white sands. From there, prepare to be whisked away on a voyage of discovery and indulgence aboard the world’s largest privately owned residential yacht.


Throughout your 13-night odyssey, luxuriate in the unparalleled comfort of a two-bedroom, two-bath, 1400 square foot apartment designed to exceed the highest standards of elegance and sophistication. Whether you’re unwinding in the spacious living quarters or soaking in the panoramic views from your private balcony, every moment aboard The World promises to be a testament to refined living at sea.


Indulge your palate with culinary delights from around the globe at The World’s six restaurants, each offering a diverse array of gourmet cuisines crafted by world-class chefs. With an award-winning wine list boasting over 1,200 labels from 22 countries and a wine cellar housing 15,000 bottles, every meal is a symphony of flavors and aromas sure to awaken the senses.


Stay active and invigorated with access to the state-of-the-art Fitness Center, complete with onboard personal trainers to cater to your wellness needs. Engage with world-renowned lecturers who will enrich your journey with insights and knowledge or pamper yourself with a rejuvenating treatment at The World Spa & Wellness Center.


For those seeking a bit of friendly competition, The World boasts the only full-size, regulation tennis court at sea — a unique opportunity to perfect your serve while surrounded by the boundless beauty of the ocean.


Bid for the chance to embark on this extraordinary 13-night voyage aboard The World, where luxury knows no bounds and every moment is a celebration of the finer things in life. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience the pinnacle of luxury travel and exploration on the world’s most prestigious residential yacht.


This offer is for Ship passage only. The second bedroom is an interior room.


Value: $62,400

Donated by: Robin & Rich Edwards

Experience the pinnacle of culinary excellence with our exclusive live auction item: a year of Michelin-starred dining in the Bay Area. Indulge in the finest epicurean experiences with dinner for two at 12 prestigious restaurants, each adorned with coveted Michelin stars.


Your journey begins at Acquerello, where Italian elegance meets innovative flavors in a two-star setting. From there, venture to Angler for sustainable seafood and wood-fired delights. Gary Danko awaits, promising culinary mastery and impeccable service in an esteemed Michelin-starred atmosphere.


Continue your culinary adventure at Lazy Bear, where two-star communal dining meets avant-garde cuisine. Madcap invites you to savor inventive dishes in a setting that celebrates culinary artistry in Marin County. At Mister Jiu’s, modern Chinese cuisine takes center stage, offering a fusion of bold flavors and innovative creations.


Nari beckons with inventive Thai dishes, while San Ho Won showcases the art of Korean barbecue. SingleThread transports you to the bountiful fields of Sonoma County with a three-star farm-to-table tasting menu. Sorrel celebrates Northern California cuisine with rustic elegance and modern flair.


State Bird Provisions invites you to enjoy small plates bursting with flavor in a lively setting. Conclude your culinary odyssey at The Village Pub, where classic American fare meets contemporary sophistication in lush Woodside.


Bid for a chance to embark on this extraordinary culinary journey, where each meal promises to tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to indulge in a year of Michelin-starred dining excellence in the Bay Area.


Value: $7,500

Donated by: Berkeley Rep Board of Trustees

Escape to the heart of Sonoma wine country with our exclusive live auction package, offering a luxurious getaway filled with gourmet dining and exceptional wine experiences.


Your adventure begins with a two-night stay in a King room at the enchanting Montage in Healdsburg, a serene retreat nestled among picturesque vineyards. Immerse yourself in the warmth of hospitality and the beauty of wine country charm as you relax and rejuvenate in this idyllic setting.


Indulge in a sumptuous dinner at the Montage’s signature restaurant, Hazel Hill, where culinary excellence meets the freshest local ingredients. Savor every moment as you delight in an unforgettable dining experience that showcases the essence of Sonoma’s culinary landscape.


But the highlight of your journey awaits with a Pizza & Winemaker dinner hosted by Tongue Dancer & LANDO Wines. Step into the intimate craftsman home of Tongue Dancer proprietor James and Kerry MacPhail, where quaint comfort meets exceptional wine craftsmanship. Plus, invite your friends along as this intimate dinner seats four guests.


Tongue Dancer Wines, under the expert guidance of winemaker James and his wife Kerry, has been crafting exceptional wines for over a decade. Experience the passion and precision that goes into every bottle as you enjoy a family-style meal paired with their finest Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.


The dinner also includes LANDO Wines, a sought-after producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. Indulge in the luxury of limited production wines as Sam & Jennifer Lando share their acclaimed creations, known for their elegance and complexity.


But the wine adventures don’t end there. Experience two West Sonoma gems. First, an Estate Vineyard Immersion at Flowers Winery, where you and three guests will be treated to an elevated food and wine experience on the West Sonoma Coast. From a vineyard walk to a visit from the Chef, immerse yourself in the essence of Sonoma’s terroir. Next up at Peay Vineyards, a private vineyard walk perched high above the Pacific Ocean with winegrower, Nick Peay, followed by a tasting of 6 wines including library wines paired with local cheeses.


Finally, elevate your tasting journey with a Flagship Tasting for four at Alpha Omega Collective tasting room in Healdsburg. Discover the artistry and craftsmanship behind Alpha Omega’s acclaimed wines as you sample their flagship offerings in an intimate setting.


Bid for the chance to indulge in this extraordinary wine country getaway, where luxury accommodations, gourmet dining, and exceptional wine experiences await. Don’t miss this opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime in the heart of Sonoma’s wine country paradise.


Value: $11,650

Donated by: Sunstone Hotel Investors, Alpha Omega Collective, Flowers Vineyards & Winery, LANDO Wines, Peay Vineyards, Tongue Dancer Wines

Let your inner Broadway Baby shine! This unforgettable four-night NYC getaway for two people will make you the ultimate theatre insider. Stay in luxury at the Sofitel New York, the official hotel partner of the Tony Awards, in the heart of the theatre district. Marvel at the talent onstage from your premium house seats at three Broadway shows. Revel in private, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to get to know the theatre makers who bring to life what you see onstage, all of whom are part of the Berkeley Rep artistic family. And fly the friendly skies with included roundtrip economy airfare for two.


Tony Award-nominated director Leigh Silverman recently helmed Harry Clarke at Berkeley Rep, now running in London. She will open David Henry Hwang’s Yellow Face on Broadway this Fall. You’ll dine with Leigh at the Broadway haunt West Bank Cafe pre-show.


Rachel Hauck is a Tony Award-winning scenic designer who has designed sets for Berkeley Rep favorites like Swept Away and the upcoming Galileo. Her Tony-winning designs for Anaïs Mitchell’s Hadestown made her one of the most in-demand designers working today. You’ll see Hadestown with Rachel, and after the show, grab drinks together and ask her your most pressing scenic design questions.


Tony Award-winning director and Ovation Gala Honoree Michael Mayer is known for bringing to life some of the most daring and exciting musicals in the history of the American Theatre. His work includes Spring Awakening, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and for Berkeley Rep, American Idiot, Swept Away, and the upcoming Galileo. You’ll be Michael’s guests for dinner before you enjoy one of his groundbreaking shows.


Sofitel New York dates are subject to availability. Productions and artist availability are subject to change based on timing and schedules. In the event of a schedule change, Berkeley Rep will make every effort to find a suitable alternative.


Value: Priceless

Donated by: Sofitel NYC, Chris Doane

Berkeley Rep Sustaining Advisor Felicia Woytak and her husband Steve Rasmussen welcome you and three of your friends for a wine lover’s experience at their historic Palisades Vineyard property in Calistoga. Stay just steps away from the pool in your private guesthouse. Enjoy pre-release Palisades Canyon wines, share dinner with Felicia and Steve and enjoy strolling through their vineyard or hiking on their beautiful 796-acre property.


Palisades Canyon is a little bit of heaven tucked into a narrow canyon at the foot of the magnificent Palisades cliffs in Napa Valley just east of the town of Calistoga comprised of almost 800 acres of beautiful vineyards with expansive hiking opportunities.


Felicia and Steve will give you an up-close-and-personal tour of their historic and organic vineyard and will share with you their love of the grape. You can also get close and personal with their goats and regal llama, Marquee. Hike miles of trails around the property or just relax poolside, steps away from your guesthouse. The real treat of your stay will be dinner with Felicia and Steve where they will share wines with you from their new to-be-released wine brand — Palisades Canyon. Over dinner, you will learn what is involved in launching their new wine brand made by one of Napa Valley top young winemakers — Graeme MacDonald. Graeme’s own 2018 MacDonald Cabernet Sauvignon was ranked the Best Napa Valley Cabernet for that vintage by Wine Spectator.


It promises to be a spectacular weekend, with great food, wine, and friends!


Value: $7,500

Donated by: Felicia Woytak & Steve Rasmussen, Palisades Canyon Wines

Greg Quiroga's headshot


Greg Quiroga is our auctioneer, and he hopes you have as much fun as he does during the auction. Greg loves his work, loves people, and loves being the conduit for your generosity. He has been conducting fundraising auctions for nonprofit organizations across the United States since 2004. Greg always brings a fiery combination of passion, humor, and heartfelt engagement to the stage and firmly believes that helping charities achieve their missions is his calling in life. He founded Stellar Fundraising Auctions ( in 2014, and currently leads a team of seven fundraising auctioneers working with over 100 nonprofits, schools, foundations, arts organizations, and charities to help raise tens of millions of dollars a year. Greg and his wife run Stellar together and live in San Francisco with their son, Ryder.


Stellar Fundraising Auctions

Questions? Interested in supporting our next OVATION gala? Please contact

Special thanks to our OVATION gala sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Robin & Rich Edwards
Jill & Steve Fugaro
Bruce Golden & Michelle Mercer
Daniel F. Goodman
Marcia Grand
The Strauch Kulhanjian Family
Gail & Arne Wagner

Silver Sponsors

Christopher Doane & Dr. Neil Shorstein
Sudha Pennathur & Ed Messerly
Kelli & Steffan Tomlinson

Amazon Peet's Coffee

Bronze Sponsors

Stephen & Susan Chamberlin
Yogen & Peggy Dalal
William Espey & Margaret Hart Edwards
Kerry Francis & John Jimerson
Melinda Haag & Chuck Fanning
Scott & Sherry Haber
Dr. George Jacob
Melanie Maier
Sandra & Ross McCandless
Leonard X & Arlene B. Rosenberg
Dennis & Becca Ryan / Stan Hoffman
Audrey & Robert Sockolov
Barbara Tomber
Steve & Linda Wolan

AT&T Bank of Marin

District Homes The Republic of Tea

In-Kind Sponsors

Covenant Wines
Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant

Ovation Gala Committee

Jill Fugaro | Co-Chair
Sudha Pennathur | Co-Chair

Anna Bellomo
Robin & Rich Edwards
Sandra Eggers
Sandra McCandless
Todd Rubin
Barbara Tomber
Gail Wagner

Honorary Committee

Narsai & Venus David
Marcia Grand, in memory of Richard Grand
Jack & Betty Schafer
Audrey & Robert Sockolov
Michael & Sue Steinberg
Jean Strunsky, and in memory of Michael Strunsky

Photo by Drew Altizer Photography

(l to r) Erica Sweany, Christian Magby, Jeremy Kushnier, Madalynn Mathews, and Raúl Esparza perform at OVATION

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