It’s not every day that Oscar and Tony Award winners, senators and legendary actors come together to pay their respects. It’s not every day that a theater bears your name.

Both of these things (and more) happened last night, Friday, November 4 at the Ridgefield Playhouse.

Community members, celebrities and government officials attended last night’s sold-out Playhouse Gala featuring Broadway legend Bernadette Peters. But it was our own legend, Allison Stockel, who played.

Ridgefield Playhouse General Manager Ashley Paltauf said it best when talking about Stockel’s powerful impact. “Since 2004, you have left an impressive impact on the Playhouse by hosting more than 1,000 films on screen, showing 265 Arts in Education performances, introducing 115,000 students and teachers to live theater and offering more than 3 000 live performances and inviting more than two million customers nationwide. the community.”

And, from this day forward, when those patrons enter the Ridgefield Playhouse and enter the theater, they will arrive at the Allison Stockel Theater.

Board Chairman Michael Shinall broke the big news. “As she steps down as CEO, the Playhouse will never leave her. In fact, to honor her and to always remember her immense contributions, it is my great honor, on behalf of the Board of Directors , to announce that this theater in which you are located, within The Ridgefield Playhouse, will hereafter be named The Allison Theater of Stockel.

Oscar-winning Broadway composer Alan Menken and four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein, who have both performed at the Ridgefield Playhouse on several occasions, took to the stage and paid tribute to Stockel with heartfelt stories, humor and tons of gratitude.

Oscar-nominated actor Chazz Palminteri and Grammy winner and four-time EMMY nominee Paul Shaffer were also on hand to pay their respects to Stockel.

Proclamations and words of appreciation came from first coach Rudy Marconi and Senator Richard Blumenthal.

And…so much love came through our community, and Stockel’s friends and family, who all turned out in droves to celebrate this hero of the arts, left an indelible mark.

For twenty-two years, Stockel has dedicated his life to the success of The Ridgefield Playhouse. Never take a salary. It was December 2000 when Stockel moved to Ridgefield – her son was only 6 months old and her daughter 2½. She immediately began volunteering at the Playhouse, taking on a leadership role soon after. Stockel is a builder who created the Mecca of the arts.

From now on, she will make time to be with her children and her supportive husband, Jon. Thanks to Stockel, The Ridgefield Playhouse is posed for even more grandeur.

After weathering a pandemic and a multimillion-dollar fundraising campaign that created an all-new lobby expansion, backstage upgrades and in-theatre audio improvements, Stockel is stepping down as executive director of the Ridgefield Playhouse, confident in the Playhouse and its strong leadership.

General Manager Ashley Paltauf and Artistic Director Jared Shahid share 15 years between them as employees of Playhouse and will co-lead the venue assuming the roles of General Manager of Operations and Development (Paltauf) and General Manager of Talent and marketing (Shahid) .

The future is bright for The Ridgefield Playhouse and The Allison Stockel Theatre, which lives indoors.

A special thank you to the gala committee and co-chairs Lori Berisford and Patti Ross as well as restaurant sponsors Bernard’s, Gallo and TerraSole.

For more information about The Ridgefield Playhouse and to see the concert and performance lineup, go to www.ridgefieldplayhouse.org or call the box office (203) 438-5795.

The Ridgefield Playhouse is a non-profit performing arts center located at 80 East Ridge, parallel to Main Street, Ridgefield, CT and is committed to keeping the arts alive and accessible to all.

Follow on social media: @RidgefieldPlayhouse Twitter: @RPlayhouse Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ridgefieldplayhouse/