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Blumenthal Arts
Winter 2024
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In the News
Equitable Pledges Historic Programmatic Gift
Equitable increased its pledge of support for Blumenthal Arts programming in the 2023-2024 season, a contribution that marked the largest annual corporate programmatic gift Blumenthal received to date.
For more than a decade, Equitable has been an invaluable partner of Blumenthal Arts. Starting in 2020, prior to operations shuttering due to the pandemic, Equitable and the Equitable Foundation made a steadfast commitment to supporting accessible, professional arts programming for the Charlotte region by becoming the title sponsor of the Bravo Series, which brings some of Broadway’s most popular titles to Charlotte for audiences to enjoy.
Since 2021, Equitable has also been the title sponsor of Blumenthal’s Arts Educator Network, a program dedicated to giving back to our beloved arts educators and providing a space for meaningful professional development. Members of the Arts Educator Network hear from transformative keynote speakers who present on themes related to upcoming Broadway shows, and then attend the performances at a heavily subsidized ticket price, thanks to Equitable’s support.
“Charlotte educators play a vital role in supporting students, particularly those in underserved communities,” said Jarian Kerekes, head of social impact and community engagement at Equitable. “Our support of Blumenthal’s Bravo Series enables us to give back to these hard-working educators and complements our sponsorship of Blumenthal’s Arts Educator Network, which provides professional development and networking opportunities for arts educators in Charlotte.”
“Equitable’s generous support makes a critical difference in helping us to serve our community,” said Blumenthal President and CEO Tom Gabbard. “From offering the best of Broadway shows close to home, to inspiring young people and teachers, Equitable demonstrates how deeply they care about our community. We are grateful for their partnership in helping the arts to flourish in our city.”
Andie Maloney, Blumenthal’s vice president of education, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Equitable to uplift arts education in our community. Equitable’s commitment to education aligns beautifully with Blumenthal’s mission; their incredible support allows us to serve regional teachers, providing high quality professional development, subsidized Broadway tickets, and peer networking.”
For 2023-2024, Blumenthal presented the largest Broadway season in the region, in part due to support from Equitable. The Equitable Bravo Series offered a package of six shows:
  • Beetlejuice, Dec. 26-31, 2023
  • Peter Pan, March 5-10, 2024
  • Hadestown, May 7-12, 2024
  • Mamma Mia!, June 18-23, 2024
  • Disney’s The Lion King, Aug. 8-Sept. 8, 2024
  • Clue, Oct. 8-13, 2024.
The Arts Educator Network serves educators within any arts discipline from Charlotte area schools and colleges via digital and in-person professional development sessions. This collective of teachers and professors also has the opportunity to take advantage of networking at social events that may include pre-show workshops and discounted show tickets. ◼
John Giannuzzi recognized as
a ‘Most Admired CEO’
Blumenthal Arts’ board of trustees chair John Giannuzzi, senior partner of Deloitte & Touche LLP, was named a 2023 honoree in the Charlotte Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO Awards.
The Charlotte Business Journal recognizes local executives who are the faces of their companies, leading them through challenges and triumphs. With strong vision in the workplace and commitment to community, they create an impact in the greater Charlotte area that extends far beyond the boardroom.
The 2023 program, its sixth year, selected 29 honorees across more than a dozen industry categories.
Giannuzzi joined the audit, consulting, tax and advisory service firm Deloitte in 2002. He recently announced he is retiring in June 2024. Please join us in congratulating him on his stellar 40-plus-year accounting career. ◼
John Giannuzzi
New Online Talent directory Goes Live
In the fall of 2023, Blumenthal Arts launched Made in CLT, a directory and free service that makes it easy to find and hire talented creatives in the area. Made in CLT has a diverse range of local talent, from muralists to musicians to photographers, and more!
Blumenthal takes no profit from Made in CLT and launched the service to help creatives find work. With so many diverse and rich offerings in Charlotte’s artistic community, the public is encouraged to browse the regularly updated directory.
For more about Made in CLT and to browse the database, visit ◼
Thalberg launches branding podcast series
Marisa Thalberg, Blumenthal Arts’ marketing & community relations chair and the chief marketing and communications officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, launched a new, bi-weekly podcast this past summer called “Brand New.”
“Brand New” shifts from the interview format of most business, marketing and media podcasts and instead invites listeners in on a lively conversation between two of the marketing industry’s most dynamic and well-connected leaders: Marisa Thalberg and Steven Wolfe Pereira. The C-suite co-hosts, who also are close friends, tackle trending topics in the world of technology, entertainment, advertising, media and marketing, particularly through the lens of brands and the people powering them.

Geared for industry insiders – from senior executives to those first working their way up the ladder – Thalberg and Wolfe Pereira’s professional and personal relationship, along with their unique insights and camaraderie, distinguish “Brand New” as an industry must-listen series.
“Steven and I have had such varied experiences spanning startups to Fortune 50 companies, and what we both share is a passion and love for this industry,” said Thalberg.
All episodes of season one of “Brand New” are available to stream now wherever you get your podcasts. ◼
The 10th annual Blumenthal Arts High School Musical Theater Awards culminated Sunday, May 21, 2023, at a gala award celebration where winners in 15 categories were announced and nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress and Wells Fargo Best Musical performed live onstage at Belk Theater. The Blumey Awards were presented by Wells Fargo.
From left, Best Actress winner Katie Ruttenberg and Best Actor winner Lance Toppin.
North Lincoln High School won the Tier 1 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award* for its production of Anastasia. Central Academy of Technology and Arts won the Tier 2 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award** for its production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Katie Ruttenberg from Central Academy of Technology and Arts won Best Actress for her portrayal of Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar. Lance Toppin from Charlotte Country Day School won Best Actor for his portrayal of Nick Bottom in Something Rotten.
Winners in additional categories
  • Best Supporting Actress: Natalie Hough as Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar – Central Academy of Technology and Arts.
  • Best Supporting Actor: Josh Moraja as Wickersham/Schmitz/Yertle in Seussical – Weddington High School.
  • Best Featured Performer: Lana Patel as King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar – Central Academy of Technology and Arts.
  • Best Overall Direction: Central Academy of Technology and Arts – Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • Best Ensemble/Chorus: Central Academy of Technology and Arts – Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • Best Choreography Execution: Central Academy of Technology and Arts – Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • Best Student Orchestra: Central Academy of Technology and Arts – Jesus Christ Superstar.
  • Best Student Costume: Designer Mallory Caballero for Jesus Christ Superstar – Central Academy of Technology and Arts.
  • Best Student Set Designer: Hannah Cook for Jesus Christ Superstar – Central Academy of Technology and Arts.
  • Best Student Stage Manager: Margo Smith for Jesus Christ Superstar – Central Academy of Technology and Arts.
  • Best Student Critic: Aminah Imran – West Cabarrus High School.
In June, Ruttenberg and Toppin went on to represent The Blumey Awards at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as the Jimmy Awards®, where they each made their Broadway debuts in the iconic Minskoff Theatre after a week of training with industry professionals.
The 2024 Blumey Awards ceremony transforms Belk Theater Sunday, May 26, 2024.
*Musical production budget of under $10,000. **Musical production budget of $10,000 and greater.