For Immediate Release
Contact: Theresa M. MacNaughton,
office: 860-520-7114

Hartford Stage Announces New Board Members Elected at Annual Meeting

New Members of Stage One Also Appointed    

Hartford, CT, June 22, 2017 – Hartford Stage, under the leadership of Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts, announces its new governing board members and officers who were elected during its Annual Meeting on Tuesday, June 13. Four new Stage One members were also appointed.

“We are honored that these leaders from the Greater Hartford community have agreed to serve on our Board of Directors. The strength of our theatre is directly related to the dedicated board members who serve our organization, and we are pleased to welcome these new individuals into the Hartford Stage family,” said Michael Stotts, Managing Director.

Newly-elected members to the Hartford Stage Governing Board of Directors are Michael Johnston, Rhonda Tobin, and Elease Wright.

Michael Johnston is President and CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford (JCF), a $110MM community foundation serving the Jewish community of Greater Hartford. Michael joined the Foundation in February of 2012 after having served as CEO of the United Way of Western Connecticut.

Rhonda Tobin is Co-Chair of the Litigation Section at Robinson+Cole and a member of the firm's Managing Committee. She concentrates her practice in the areas of insurance and reinsurance coverage, insurance bad faith and extracontractual liability, directors and officers liability, professional liability, and complex commercial litigation.

Elease Wright most recently served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Aetna until her retirement in 2012. In her 30-year career with Aetna, Ms. Wright was instrumental in attracting and retaining key talent during Aetna’s difficult multi-year transition from broad-based insurer to health care leader.

Individuals returning to the Governing Board after having served as Honorary board members are Marla Byrnes, Katherine Lambert, and Allan Taylor. All three are longtime supporters of the Stage.

Marla Byrnes is a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. A resident of West Hartford, she is on the Board of Governors for Hartford Hospital and previously served on the boards of Clark University, Hartford Golf Club, and Open Hearth.

Katherine Lambert is a partner with MacDermid, Reynolds & Glissman, P.C. in Hartford, where she has a full-service commercial real estate practice.

Allan Taylor is the chair of the State Board of Education, on which he has served for 22 years. Prior to his retirement, he practiced law at Day Pitney for 37 years and for one year as the Legislative and Legal Advisor to the Hartford City Council.

In addition, Hartford Stage appointed four new members to Stage One, the young professional leadership arm of the Governing Board. They are John Doran, Rebekah Humphrey, Ariadna Khafizova, and Fredy Valencia.

John Doran is an Accounting Manager at Travelers in Hartford. He specializes in financial reporting and analysis and regulatory financial findings.

Rebekah Humphrey is an Insurance Research Assistant Vice President at Conning & Company in Hartford. She provides strategic analysis and produces reports related to the property/casualty insurance industry.

Ariadna Khafizova is a strategy and management consulting professional with over 10 years of international experience. She is currently one of the youngest Assistant Vice Presidents at The Hartford.

Fredy Valencia is currently pursuing an MBA in Digital Analytics at the University of Connecticut. He currently works in the People Analytics industry. A Hartford resident, Valencia previously served in the Marine Corps.

Officers of the Hartford Stage Governing Board who were re-elected for a one-year term are: President Sue Ann Collins, Senior Vice President and Chief Actuary at TIAA-CREF; Vice President Robert V. Lally, Founding Partner of Federman, Lally and Remis, LLC; Secretary David R. Jimenez, Partner at Jackson Lewis; and Treasurer John L. Sennott, Jr., Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Alleghany Corporation.

Michael Johnston

Rhonda Tobin

Elease Wright

Marla Byrnes

Katherine Lambert

Allan Taylor

John Doran

Rebekah Humphrey

Ariadna Khafizova

Fredy Valencia


Now in its 54th season, Hartford Stage’s mission is to enlighten, entertain, and educate by creating theatrical works of the highest caliber that have a transformative impact on audiences, the community, and its field. Led by Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts, Hartford Stage is renowned for producing innovative revivals of classics and provocative new plays and musicals – including over 70 world and American premieres – as well as offering a distinguished education program, which reaches approximately 20,000 students annually.

Since Tresnjak’s appointment in 2011, Hartford Stage has presented the world premieres of the new musical Anastasia by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens – currently on Broadway; Rear Window with Kevin Bacon; Reverberation by Matthew Lopez; Big Dance Theatre’s Man in a Case with Mikhail Baryshnikov; Breath & Imagination by Daniel Beaty; A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway, winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical by Tresnjak; and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Hartford Stage has earned many of the nation’s most prestigious awards, including the 1988 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Other national honors include Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, OBIE, and New York Critics Circle awards. Hartford Stage has produced nationally renowned titles, including the New York transfers of Enchanted April; The Orphans' Home Cycle; Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night); The Carpetbagger's Children; and Tea at Five.  

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