Friday, December 18, 2015

Meet Playhouse supporter Stephen Corman

By Charlie Nork
Individual Giving Manager

Stephen Corman (right) with Associate Artist Annie Keefe
at the 2015 Something Wonderful! gala.
When Stephen Corman retired after nearly 30 years at IBM, he started a second career – this time as a volunteer and philanthropist.  He has served as a Legislative Ambassador for the American Cancer Society, receiving its Courage Award, and runs the Prostate Cancer Education Forum at Greenwich Hospital, where he is also an oncology volunteer.  He took time from his busy schedule to explain why the arts – and Westport Country Playhouse – are quickly becoming just as important to him.

How did you first become involved with Westport Country Playhouse?
After attending the Playhouse for a number of years, we decided to help keep such great local theater stay afloat by not only attending, but by helping to sponsor its continuance.

2015 Woodward Internship class.
You've been a great supporter this year, including making a contribution to sponsor a Woodward Internship position next season. Why did you chose to support the Intern program?

I have made great friends at the Playhouse over the past year, and was introduced to a number of wonderful young people who were interning for the summer. But, even more so, I learned that a number of the people on the current staff were interns in the past. Since they are doing such a good job, I wanted to give more young people the same opportunity. Who knows? It may be the beginning of a long career for some of them. I decided to specifically fund the Development intern because it is a gift that can also give back. My intent is not only a financial commitment, but I also plan to take a hands-on role in helping develop this person.

You attended the Something Wonderful! gala this year, and purchased an item at the auction. How was your experience at the gala, and what item did you win?

The gala was fun. The glitz was fun. The performance was top notch and as good or better than a Hollywood Academy Award ceremony. I bid on an absolutely gorgeous kinetic sculpture. It was lit up on the lawn and swaying beautifully in the slightest breeze. It looked so good there that even after I won it, I decided to let it stay at the Playhouse through the duration of the season for others to enjoy. It now sits on my lawn and is different every time I look at it and changes constantly as the breezes blow.

Nationally recognized artist Drew Klotz,
with kinetic sculpture, "Red Moons,"
which Stephen won at the 2015 gala auction.
You've also pledged to make a legacy gift through your estate. Can you please talk about the gift you decided to make, and why you wanted to join the Langner Society?

I visited my sculpture four times while it was on the Playhouse lawn. Talking to the staff, I learned that many stated that they were going to miss it when I took it home. It looked so good there that I decided to change my will to bring it back to the Playhouse after I am gone. I am also making plans to continue supporting the Playhouse long after I am gone - in perpetuity, if possible.

Why do you give to the Playhouse?

I was reminded of the "family" nature of my relationship with the Playhouse by the many, many staff members who greeted me with a warm hug and words of affection recently at the Script in Hand reading of The Last Night of Ballyhoo. I have become more involved than just being a subscriber or even a donor. They say charity begins at home. What can be better than supporting members of your family?

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