TO BE HONORED WITH
2009 STAGESOURCE THEATRE HERO AWARD
Presentation to Be Made at the Elliot Norton Awards on Monday, May 11, 2009
(Boston, MA) – The StageSource Board of Directors has named long-time arts and entertainment reporter Joyce Kulhawik as the recipient of the 2009 StageSource Theatre Hero Award. The Theatre Hero Award is being presented to Ms. Kulhawik for her service, inspiration and role as a champion to Boston area theatres and the arts.
Ms. Kulhawik joined WBZ-TV in 1978, and in 1981 she became the station’s arts and entertainment reporter covering all aspects of art, entertainment and pop culture until 2008. Over her entire career with WBZ, she remained a champion of local arts organizations and continued to carve out time for reports on area theatre, dance, and music even as trends in reporting shifted more in the direction of movie and celebrity reports.
“Joyce’s engaging previews, thoughtful reviews, her participation in the Eliot Norton awards, and institutional coverage have all played a part in helping the theatre community grow,” notes StageSource Executive Director Jeff Poulos.
“Coverage by Joyce is a rite of passage and a moment of arrival for an arts organization in the Boston area. She is a proud public voice for the arts in our region. Her reporting consistently covers the arts with fairness, integrity and grace and her interviews with new artists or the most seasoned professionals are always respectful, insightful and revealing. I am thrilled we are able to recognize Joyce for her great work over her career,” notes StageSource Board chair David Colfer.
StageSource Board member Janet Bailey, a consultant specializing in services to organizations in the arts and nonprofit sectors, remarks,
“Sometimes we forget what a crucial role the media plays in the growth and development of a vibrant arts community. The media landscape for the future is very uncertain, and we really have no idea what arts journalism will look like in the years to come. So, it’s appropriate at this juncture to recognize one of the individuals whose contributions have been so important.”
“Joyce Kulhawik is a class act,” shares Spiro Veloudos, Producing Artistic Director of Lyric Stage Company and a StageSource Board member. “Her support of the local arts scene, especially theatre, came at a time when the city's culture was changing from imported works from New York to the now-dominant locally produced productions.” Veloudos notes, “We have come a long way since the early 80's and the argument can be made that Joyce was the catalyst.”
Biography of Joyce Kulhawik
Joyce Kulhawik, arts and entertainment critic, has been an integral part of the region’s cultural landscape since 1978. Kulhawik has been instrumental in focusing attention on local artists and events, as well as covering all aspects of Broadway and Hollywood. Paul Newman, Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and Barbara Streisand are among the many entertainment luminaries she has interviewed for WBZ-TV. Kulhawik is a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and serves on the selection committee for The Elliot Norton Awards, Boston’s local theater awards.
Kulhawik was co-host of the weekly nationally syndicated movie review program “Hot Ticket” with veteran movie critic Leonard Maltin, and during the 1999-2000 television season, she was a continuing co-host on “Roger Ebert & The Movies,” the popular nationally syndicated film review program.
A three-time cancer survivor, Kulhawik was called upon to testify before Congress on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of The National Cancer Act. Since 1983 she has served as the Honorary Chairperson for the American Cancer Society’s “Daffodil Days,” helping to raise millions of dollars in the Society’s largest statewide spring fundraising event. The American Cancer Society has honored Kulhawik with its National Bronze Medal Award for her work. Kulhawik accepted the 1994 Gilda Radner Award from the Wellness Community in Greater Boston “for engendering inspiration in cancer patients via her own valiant fight with the disease.”
In 2008 Kulhawik received The Emerson College Award of Distinction. She was also recognized by the Boston City Council with a special resolution in honor of her 30-year career reporting on arts and entertainment in the Boston area, and her commitment to raising cancer awareness. Kulhawik was also named a member of the Boston/New England Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Silver Circle. This honor is given to distinguished individuals who have made significant contributions to television over the course of at least 25 years. In the spring of 2007, she was also inducted into the MCC Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Kulhawik received the Community Spirit Award at the 2006 New England Women’s Leadership Awards, the longest running event in Boston honoring the achievements of women.
In May 2002, Kulhawik received an Honorary Doctorate in Communications from her alma mater, Simmons College in Boston. Kulhawik also received a 2001 Boston/New England Emmy Award for WBZ-TV 's Outstanding Team Coverage of Ground Zero. Kulhawik also starred in the WBZ-TV Emmy award-winning promotion “The Look” for Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.
In 1994 the Berklee College of Music honored Kulhawik for her many contributions to the Boston arts community by establishing a $25,000 newly endowed scholarship in her name, in perpetuity. In 1995 the Lyric Stage Company honored Kulhawik with their Arts Support Award. In 1990 she was the recipient of The Boston Theatre District Award, which is presented annually to a Bostonian who has made a significant contribution to the stage, screen, and/or television. Previous recipients include Lee Remick, Bette Davis, Ray Bolger, Jane Curtin, and Jane Alexander. Additionally, Kulhawik was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by her high school, The Academy of Our Lady of Mercy, Lauralton Hall, in 1982.
Kulhawik joined WBZ-TV in 1978 as an associate producer and tipster for “Evening Magazine.” In 1981 she became the station’s arts and entertainment reporter covering all aspects of art, entertainment and pop culture and played a key role in the public service campaign, “You Gotta Have Arts!” As part of the campaign, Kulhawik hosted the station’s Emmy Award-winning “You Gotta Have Arts!” magazine program during its one year run, as well as three specials, the first of which received an Emmy Award in 1982. She also presented “Arts Breaks,” sixty-second spots featuring local artists, museums, and cultural events. From 1982 through 1985 Kulhawik served as co-anchor of the station’s “Live on 4” newscast.
Kulhawik received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English & Secondary Education from Simmons College in 1974. One of the top two graduating seniors at Simmons, Kulhawik received the prestigious Crown Zellerbach Award and a full fellowship from the University of Vermont, where she received her MAT in English/Education in 1977. She taught English at Brookline High School from 1976 through 1978 and at the Boston Architectural Center from 1977 through 1979.
A talented musician, Kulhawik plays the piano and has sung professionally. She was the soloist and organist for seven years at her parish church in her home state of Connecticut. She resides with her husband and daughter in the Greater Boston Area.
Nominees were put forth by over individuals from the Greater Boston theatre community for the 2009 Theatre Hero Award. The recipient is determined by the StageSource Board of Directors, currently comprised of 28 leaders of the theatre community representing theatre artists, audiences and producing organizations. The award is presented each year to “an exceptional member of the Greater Boston theatre community who has demonstrated a history of service and commitment to the community through leadership, support, inspiration, innovation and promotion of the art of theatre throughout the region.”
Presentation of the award will take place on Monday, May 11, 2009 at the Elliot Norton Awards at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge. Past Theatre Hero Award recipients have included Jack Welch, former Managing Director of Baker’s Plays (2000), Kate Snodgrass, Artistic Director of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (2001), Wheelock Family Theatre (2002), Spiro Veloudos, Producing Artistic Director, Lyric Stage Company of Boston (2003), Jacqui Parker, Artistic Director, Our Place Theatre Project (2004), Scott Edmiston, director and long-time StageSource board member (2005), Susan Gassett, co-founder and Artistic Director of City Stage (2006), James Spruill, co-founder of New African Company and longtime Associate Professor of Boston University (2007), and SpeakEasy Stage Company (2008). Information about the Elliot Norton Awards can be found at http://ss-bsrg-dev.ten24web.com/programs-and-events/elliot-norton-awards/ . Tickets for the Elliot Norton Awards may be purchased at the Harvard Box Office by calling 617.496.2222 or visit www.boxoffice.harvard.edu.