A Night to Remember!
Harry Dietzler, Founder and Executive Artistic Director of the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center and Founder and Executive Director of Upper Darby Summer Stage, received the “Lifetime Achievement Award.” The award was presented at the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Philadelphia Theatre on October 3, 2011.
The festive ceremony took place at the Walnut Street Theater where the “who’s who” of the local theater community gathered to recognize outstanding technicians, costume designers, actors, actresses, choreographers, music directors, directors and producers.
The Master of Ceremonies was 6ABC’s Rick Williams, the Red Carpet Celebrity Host was Kate Shindle (former Miss America), Mayor Michael Nutter was a presenter, and playwright Terrence McNally was honored with the “Distinguished Artist Award.” It was a star-studded evening, indeed!
Summer Stage alum, Tina Fey, wrote a personal letter nominating Harry for the Lifetime Achievement Award. “Harry Dietzler is the irreplaceable heart of the Summer Stage program,” said Tina in the letter. “Harry Dietzler and Upper Darby Summer Stage may be Pennsylvania’s best kept secret. I invite you to ruin that.”
Harry Dietzler received the award after a stirring introduction by Arden Theater founders and directors, Terrence J. Nolen and Amy Murphy, who – by the way – met at Summer Stage and who are now married (to one another!).
While introducing Harry, Terry said, “The mission of Summer Stage comes directly from Harry’s heart and spirit. His goal is to build the self esteem of every kid, whether on stage, back stage, in the box office, the business office, or usher. Every Summer Stager knows there is a place where they belong and that they can make a difference.”
After the ceremony the attendees were treated to a reception at the Ballroom at the Ben Franklin House. Summer Stage staff members, alumni, many founding alumni, and members of the Dietzler family attended the ceremony and later mingled at the reception.
There are few people in the Philadelphia region who have made as great an impact on the lives of young people as Harry Dietzler. In addition to establishing Summer Stage in 1976, Harry founded the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center, the Greater Philadelphia Cappies (Critics and Awards Program) and the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation.
Harry Dietzler, we are proud of you and all you have accomplished! You have made our community a better place for our children and our families. Congratulations on the “Lifetime Achievement Award!”