Welcome to our Donor Spotlight. Here we will regularly introduce one of our donors and let them tell you why they donate and how The Broad Stage plays a role in their life.


Len Lipman began supporting The Broad Stage even before there was a building. Today, he generously underwrites our Family Circle programs that provide access to performances on our stages for thirty local families. 
Tell us briefly about yourself
I’m a UCLA and UCSF Medical School graduate. I practiced as an endocrinologist in Redondo Beach and Torrance for 36 years, but happily moved back to Santa Monica after my retirement in 2005. Performing arts have always been a major part of my life, as an audience member and a supporter. I was a photographer and board member for the Aman Folk ensemble, centered at UCLA, in the 1970s. Since my retirement, I have been a community educator for Los Angeles Opera, my passion.
How did you get involved with The Broad Stage?
My significant other, Judy Raffel, was a supporter of the forerunner to The Broad Stage, The Madison Project, when I first met her about 15 years ago. She was excited by the concept of a local theater planning to present high-quality programming.  I came along with her to some of the earliest meetings in which the initial plans for The Broad Stage were being considered and I was quickly sucked into the venture.
What is it about The Broad Stage that brings you back again and again?
First of all, location, location, location. We can drive there in 10 minutes and park right outside the entrance door. But just as important is the overall quality of offerings presented in this wonderfully intimate setting. We “take a chance” on a lot of performances at The Broad Stage, often of groups with whom we have no familiarity at all, because it’s so easy to do. We have rarely been disappointed and have actually been surprisingly thrilled by a number of them, many of which we would never have attended if they had been held elsewhere. We also love the definite family feeling of The Broad Stage, created by all of the management staff. There is a comfortable vibe that makes us feel like a part of a community, rather than just anonymous audience members.
What is the impact that The Broad Stage has had on your life? 
My musical life was built around classical music performances in the past. But there’s been a definite broadening of my interest in many other formats because they’re so available now and I’m much more willing to try them out. A good example is the extraordinary jazz pianist Hiromi—a musician whom we had never heard of and probably never would have seen elsewhere, but because she was performing at The Broad Stage, we went to see her and were bowled over by her playing (more than once now).
Why do you donate to The Broad Stage?
The Broad Stage clearly has a very strong feeling of responsibility to bring cultural events to the entire community, and to support education in the arts in Santa Monica. Dale Franzen, founding director, asked me to help her in this regard by underwriting the Family Circle program in which children and their family members receive free tickets to selected shows. They also participate in activities related to the show, meet the artists and are provided a meal. At times, transportation is also provided. Under the leadership of Ilaan Mazzini, the program has been enormously successful, last season serving 33 active families as well as alumni. It's often their and/or their children’s first encounter with live performance, which makes a deep impression on the future generation. I’m thrilled with how this program has developed and am delighted to continue to help underwrite it.
Which TBS shows have been the most memorable for you?
There are so many, besides Hiromi whom I mentioned above. We subscribe every year to the National Geographic Live series and find the photography and adventures to be captivating. The opera singer recitals sponsored by Jamie Rigler present the world’s great opera stars in a small, intimate setting. Many dance programs such as Twyla Tharp. Arturo Sandoval’s Big Band. LAPL ALOUD programs with Garrison Keillor. Others too numerous to list.
The Broad Stage is a unique venue unlike anything else in this huge metropolitan area of Los Angeles County. This is not only because of the amazing extent of its programming in a small venue, but also its emphasis on building a community, its support of arts education and promotion of the importance of the Arts in the lives of all of us makes me proud to be a part of this wonderful venture.



Maria Giribaldi with Victoria SussmanVictoria Sussman, a long-time friend and generous supporter, speaks of her affection for The Broad Stage as her “home away from home.”
(Pictured: Victoria, at right, with friend Maria Giribaldi)

Tell us briefly about yourself.
I was born and raised in Westchester, near LAX, during the 1950s. It was a great time to be a kid—free to roller skate, bike ride, play hide-n-seek until 5:00 when it was time to go in for dinner. In 1951, I started kindergarten (my mother swears I told her she could go home now), and finished up in 2003 after teaching ESL for 33 years with LAUSD. Most of my ESL students were from Mexico, which sent me to Santa Monica College to study Mexican Art History and Spanish. From there, I started traveling in the 1980s to Mexico—by plane, bus, taxi, horse and burro. And collecting folk art on the way. My house is a mini-museum of Mexican ceramics, tin work, prints, toys, retablos, textiles, wooden masks, straw work, baskets, photos, religious artifacts, Oaxacan carved animals and jewelry. These days, I enjoy the opera and ballet at The Music Center. But, The Broad Stage has become my second home, feeding my need for drama, music of all kinds, dance and some jaw-dropping surprises.
How did you get involved with The Broad Stage?
About ten years ago, a mailer arrived in my mailbox, completely unexpected, from a new theater in Santa Monica: The Broad Stage. My friend Maria Giribaldi and I attended two or three performances that first year and were hoping for more great offerings in the future. And did we get them—by the dozens. I loved to pour over the pre-season literature—choosing a variety of shows with familiar and unfamiliar performers. Maria and I found our place in Row L seats 10 and 11. Home away from home. The staff and theatergoers always seem glad to be there—anticipating something wonderful to come. And it always does.
What is it about The Broad Stage that brings you back again and again?
The Broad Stage is an intimate setting with 500 seats. It is lovely to look at, all that blonde wood. Comfortable seats with a clear view of the stage—no opera glasses needed. The performers seem so glad to be in Santa Monica with us! And they give us their best. They dress up in tuxedos and evening gowns, they play the piano the whole evening without sheet music. They sing folk ballads with just a guitar or opera with an orchestra of 75 musicians behind them.

I love to be welcomed at the front door by friends. (Home again.) Over the years, there have been wonderful parties at private homes, restaurants, The Broad Stage offices, the theater lobby and patio. We have been invited to meet and greet the performers and share a glass of wine. Wherever we go, we feel welcome and appreciated.
What is the impact that The Broad Stage has had on your life?
The Broad Stage has provided me with a place to go for quality live entertainment. (Besides, it’s close to home and comes with a VIP parking pass.) I have seen and heard things that I never knew about and would never have known about if not for The Broad Stage. I watch a lot of TCM and read The New Yorker, but there comes a time when you need to get out of the house and go into the real world with live people. I’ve kept a series of scrapbooks with performers’ photos and biographies so I have a reminder of all the great experiences I’ve had at The Broad Stage. I can still hear Vittorio Grigolo’s powerful voice. I can smell the bacon frying as Helen Hunt reminds us of our mortality in “Our Town.” I can relive the thrill of seeing Diavolo’s acrobats survive another performance.
Why do you donate to The Broad Stage?
At first, I donated to The Broad Stage in small amounts, as so many donors do. It had never occurred to me that I could become a “mini philanthropist,” but I realized it would be a fine use for a portion of the legacy my mother left me. Also, selfishly, I wanted to help keep the theater open and thriving. In addition, The Broad Stage runs an outreach program for students. Exposure to talented professional people is the best kind of education. The Broad Stage offers entertainment for families and kids—variety, fun and affordable. As a retired teacher, I realize the need and importance for students to see something new, exciting, stimulating. We have to hope that they will become the future audience for many theaters wherever they may live.
Which Broad Stage shows have been the most memorable for you?
MICHELLE DORRANCE – This woman gave me such a thrill. I have loved tap dancing forever, but only seen it in old films. She reminded me of the great dancer from the 1930s, Buddy Ebsen, with his long legs and loose limbed style.
HIROMI – Who knew a petite young woman would play the piano keys with one hand, pluck the piano’s strings with the other, all the while standing at the keyboard and stomping her feet!
OUR TOWN (THORNTON WILDER) is America’s autobiography. Helen Hunt, as our guide, introduces us to the townspeople and in them we see ourselves.
All the many OPERA SINGERS who have come to share and celebrate great singing, to elevate our emotions, to gift us the beauty of music and great stories of love and tragedy.
ROSANNE CASH writes and sings great American narrative stories that tug at your heartstrings with their tales of struggle and hardship.
BEETHOVEN, BAGELS & BANTER has provided me with the most intense musical experiences I’ve ever had. It is pure magic how notes on a page become out-loud sounds that thrill and amaze.



Leslie Pam and Ann PetersenAnn Petersen, underwriter of our blackbox @ the edye series, talks about how she and her husband Leslie Pam became involved with The Broad Stage and why they enjoy supporting our theater on the Westside.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

I grew up in Santa Barbara and upon graduating from university I promptly decided to move to the Big City of Los Angeles, much to my mother’s chagrin.  It was not long before I found myself working at Arthur Janov’s Primal Institute where I met and married Leslie Pam, the Associate Director of the Institute. Eventually we went into private practice together and had quite an exciting career conducting workshops at Esalen Institute and even becoming radio talk show hosts on KMPC with a show called “Sex and Relationships”.  After more than forty years as a therapist, I love my work more than ever as I find it a privilege to help others.  I have always had a great love of the arts, especially dance of all forms, classical music, jazz, blues as well as opera. It is such a pleasure to be able to support the arts in a meaningful way.

How did you get involved with The Broad Stage?

Leslie joined the Board of the Los Angeles Opera in 1986 at its inception and then we met Dale and Don Franzen who we connected with right away.  Piedad Robertson and Dale Franzen joined forces to create The Broad Stage and of course Dale (if you know Dale, you know that she is quite the networker) came to me for support of the project and I gladly participated from the very beginning in bringing The Broad Stage to fruition.  I knew that it would be a spectacular addition to the Westside.

What is it about The Broad Stage that brings you back again and again?

I love the architectural beauty of The Broad Stage, its size and the outstanding, unusual programming that it offers.  The venue is so accessible and inviting.  It feels like a family atmosphere - it is possible to know everyone else involved at every level from patrons to the staff.

What is the impact that The Broad Stage has had on your life?

The Broad Stage and Jane Deknatel, in particular, have collaborated with me in bringing programs that I believe in to the stage.  I supported SPEAK which paired Katak, an ancient Indian dance, together with modern tap dance to create a magical dance experience melding the east and the west together in an unforgettable evening.  This year I met with Jane to hear what was coming up that I might be able to support and she mentioned blackbox @ the edye with the Reverend Shawn Amos. It sounded wonderful and I was so excited to support this incredible series and will continue to do so next year as well.

Why do you donate to The Broad Stage?

I donate to The Broad Stage because I want to make sure that this very special venue continues to be able to provide the varied and exceptional programming that it does for years to come.

Which TBS shows have been the most memorable for you?

SPEAK was very special for me as is blackbox.  I also enjoy the opera, jazz and dance series as well.


BJ Dockweiler and Frank StiefelBJ Dockweiler and Frank Stiefel, donors since the inception of The Broad Stage, have a conversation about how they became involved and why the theater is important to them.
BJ: In 1993 we moved to Santa Monica with our daughters Hannah and Sofie. The plan was to stay “for a year or two” so that Frank could work at his company’s LA office and ease up on the New York/LA commute.
Frank: I’m a born and bred stickball hitting New Yorker. BJ made clear at the beginning of our LA stay that she was not interested in moving anywhere. While walking our dog one night we discovered that we each had been wondering about making this short-term move permanent.
How did you get involved with The Broad Stage?
Frank: I was the President of the Santa Monica College Foundation Board when Dr. Piedad Robertson (SMC President) had the vision to convert the Madison elementary school into a world-class stage and cultural center. I thought she was nuts.
BJ: We held the first fundraisers in our home. At one event Dustin Hoffman announced “The Madison Project” to the press. At another, we had a Valentines Day fashion show and celebrity poetry reading. Years later I was thrilled to be on the committee that planned the opening night gala.
What is it about The Broad Stage that brings you back again and again?
Frank: For me it’s the surprises. Because The Broad Stage is local and easy we’ll try things as disparate as a National Geographic lecture to a concert by Pussy Riot.
BJ: I can’t tell you how often we’ve been home at 6 PM and decided at the last minute to attend a Broad Stage event we know nothing about. At times its intellectually stimulating at other times we’re stomping to the music and dancing in the aisles.

What is the impact that The Broad Stage has had on your life?
Frank: At the age of 63 I began making documentaries. I’ve made two films, INGELORE, a portrait of my mother, was honored by the Museum of Modern Art, The International Documentary Association and The Berlin Film Festival. HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405 won an Oscar in 2018.  Both films premiered at The Broad Stage… It’s my lucky charm.
BJ: We’ve introduced The Broad Stage to friends from all over LA and all over the world. They envy that this jewel is in our back yard.
Why do you donate to The Broad Stage?
Frank: While The Broad Stage is an asset to every student at the college and it brings the community together, I have a purely selfish reason for supporting it.  We can attend a gorgeous, world-class entertainment and cultural complex without giving one moment’s thought to how I’m going to beat the traffic.
BJ: You don’t want to sit next to Frank in traffic.
Which Broad Stage shows have been the most memorable?
Anna Deavere Smith
Madeleine Peyroux
blackbox @ the edye
Tao Drum Heart
Vaud and the Villains
Trial By Jury
Artist Talks
Nat Geo Live
Our Town



Kay PattisonKay Pattison, long-time donor of The Broad Stage, walks us through her most cherished memories at The Broad Stage.
I was born in Anderson, Indiana on a sunny Sunday morning in July, or so I have been told. I started tap dancing when I was 5, then schooling for the requisite number of years, then Goodman School of Theater where I earned a BFA aka (Better Forget About It).  Then out into the real world but still tap dancing. I have three sons, four grandchildren and five great grandchildren, and have been known to dress up like Harpo Marx.
Highlights of my life include meeting and holding an actual conversation with Frank Lloyd Wright and sharing an elevator ride with Eleanor Roosevelt. Ms. Roosevelt said "Hello, I see you are dressed for the weather today".  It was raining and I had on a raincoat, rain hat, and carried a yellow umbrella.  Eleanor had none of the above but a car was waiting for her at the curb. The elevator was located in the Carnegie building and I mean the Deli not the Hall.
It began with a vote…a resounding YES on a 2004 bond issue to build a Performing Arts Center on the grounds of Madison School. What an exciting project. Over the next four years I watched and waited expectantly. Finally, October 2008 the doors opened, I walked in, and the magic happened.
My ten years as a Broad Stage member is a mosaic of moments that still live in my “mind’s eye”:
The mournful wail of Denis O’Hare as he began his journey through “An Iliad”. It was so shattering and real that the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and that happens a lot at The Broad Stage.
Mikhail Baryshnikov in “Man in a Case” falling down the stairs gracefully and elegantly in what seemed to be slow motion.
Seven Fingers and their “Cuisine and Confessions”.  Who knew baking banana bread could be so much fun.
The night I was chosen to hand a bouquet of flowers to Angela Gheorghiu.  She beamed her enchanting smile at me, although she had to reach so far down to accept them I feared she might fall off the stage.  (Biographical note:  I am short).
Vittorio Grigolo finishing an aria prone on the floor.Kay Pattison at The Broad Stage
The brilliant Michelle Dorrance, always pushing the boundaries of tap dancing.
The night Zap Mama came down from the stage and invited me to dance with her.
How Yuval Ron lifted my spirits and had me dancing in the aisle to his joyful music. Not to forget the whirling Dervish.
A theater piece called “Every Brilliant Thing” moved me and  now everyday I look for those ordinary things that make life worth living…. coffee and a  chocolate croissant, the hummingbird outside my window, all the shades of green in the world, children playing,  and getting dressed up to go The Broad Stage.
I have experienced joy and sorrow sitting in the audience, sometimes on the same evening.  I am so pleased that The Broad Stage is a part of my life and I am part of the life of The Broad Stage.
-Kay Pattison
Donor of The Broad Stage


Kara Fox and Steve KassKara Fox and Steve Kass, donors of The Broad Stage, are siblings and Santa Monica residents.

Steve’s education, holding degrees in law and business, led him to a career as an investment banker. In 1989 Steve became a member of the Board of Directors of the City of Hope National Cancer Center.  He served as the Medical Center Co-Chair from 1991-1993 and presently serves as Board Emeritus. From 1999-2000 he served as Co-Chair of the Los Angeles District Attorneys Crime Prevention Foundation.  Steve has one son, Jason, who is a lawyer working in Los Angeles.
Kara co-founded Glamour Project in 2008 with Evvy Shapero. Glamour Project serves disenfranchised women who have been abused, neglected and denied life’s gift of kindness.  For more than 35 years Kara meshed her passion for photography with her desire to introduce people to a wide range of artists by serving as Photo Editor of NEWORLD literary review, an electronic magazine.  Her son, J.T. practices law in Los Angeles and her daughter, Jenifer is founder of a blog, The Evolista. (You can follow Kara on Instagram @infinitelyolive)

How did you get involved with The Broad Stage?

Our father loved music, particularly opera. He used to take us to the opera and theatre in New York passing on his love of the performing arts on to us. Whether it be music, dance or improv, the programming at The Broad Stage is perfect for us. We love it all! Each performance is unique, refreshing, entertaining and most of all…a rekindled memory of our father.

What is it about The Broad Stage that brings you back again and again?

To keep the support from the public alive The Broad Stage must offer variety and enjoyment.  Music, film, the spoken word…the variety of performing arts at The Broad Stage is unique to Los Angeles. There is something for everyone.  The smile from enjoyment is what we cherish most.  There is never an evening at The Broad Stage where we do not leave the show with a smile and a common thought, “I hope The Broad Stage will bring this back next season.”  Where else but here does the ease of parking and friendliness of the staff co-exist? Where else but here are you welcomed by someone with a smile letting you know that The Broad Stage is happy we are there?

What is the impact that The Broad Stage has had on your life?

With more challenges and complexity in our everyday lives the more we value a place where we can go to relax, enjoy and smile.  An evening at The Broad Stage makes the day a joy no matter how long that day may have been.

Why do you donate to The Broad Stage?

In this crazy mixed-up world, we all need to make the effort and take the time to have happy moments. We feel it is important to support the arts as they serve to bring us all together in such a positive way. They give us something wonderful to share…experiences to reflect on.  When at The Broad Stage we feel that there is one aspect of life that we all share, one language we all speak, and one emotion that is welcomed by everyone…Happiness.  The Broad Stage never fails to deliver happiness.

Which TBS shows have been the most memorable for you?

Our favorites include:
SPEAK: TAP & KATHAK UNITE, was extraordinarily powerful, using sound and movement to meld cultures together. We were so sorry when the show ended.
BORN FOR THIS: The Bebe Winans Story
IMPRO THEATRE, from Jane Austin Unscripted to the Twilight Zone we have seen most and still we are in awe at how this group can turn a simple word into an evening of magic.

But do not be influenced by us; you will find your own favorites…at The Broad Stage!

                - Kara Fox and Steve Kass
                  Donors of The Broad Stage



Adrienne ForstAdrienne Forst is a TBS donor, volunteer and Chair of the Members Circle.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles long before there were freeways, when Sepulveda and Sunset Boulevards had fields of poinsettias, and Barrington Avenue in Brentwood had a series of small sheep ranches. I attended UCLA and taught elementary school music classes. My three children were also born and raised in Los Angeles but have moved away. My daughter lives in North Yorkshire, England and my two boys live in Orange County. I have a 10 year old grandson and a 23 year old granddaughter who currently lives in New York.

How did you get involved with The Broad Stage?

My very good friend, Barbara Herman, first introduced me to The Broad Stage. She knew how much I love chamber music and insisted I come to a Sunday morning performance of Beethoven, Bagels and Banter. That was the bait that got me involved with the amazing programs that happen at The Broad Stage. Fortunately, I love all music…except hard rock…and found that I was attending more and more performances. From there I decided I wanted to learn more about the programs, events and how I could do to help. 

What is it about The Broad Stage that brings you back again and again?

What brings me back over and over is the variety of programming. I've always loved opera and classical music, which there is plenty of, and when I started to attend the Jazz & Blues series, I discovered I love jazz more than I thought. I found that being a member gave me insight to everything that is presented at The Broad Stage. I also love Broad Fest which allows families to participate in art and music, free of charge, once during the year. I've attended two of these events and realize how valuable it is to the community. Without the arts, our children's lives are not complete.

What is the impact that The Broad Stage has had on your life?

I know that there is a program for me to attend almost every month of the year and sometimes twice a month, depending upon my schedule. Because of the intimacy of The Edye and the wonderful medium-sized main stage, I feel a part of every one of the performances. You also can see that the staff recognizes the regular patrons providing the feeling of inclusion. It’s that feeling of family that makes attending the theater a real pleasure.

Why do you donate to The Broad Stage?

Certainly, I support many worthy causes. But donating to The Broad Stage has become my main focus. The monies donated each year are supplying the community with much-needed quality entertainment and children across Los Angeles County with educational programs. This is my way of making sure programs like this continue to exist for future generations.

Which TBS shows have been the most memorable for you?

This year I really enjoyed the 10th Season Celebration event featuring Josh Groban. Dance Theater of Harlem was also a highlight for me. My favorites are always going to be classical music, whether it's a fabulous soloist, a terrific orchestra, a marvelous opera performance or even a great ballet company. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the 2018-2019 season and seasons to come, knowing that there will always be great programs to attend.

                - Adrienne Forst
                  Chair of the Members Circle
If you would like to learn more about our Membership program and how you can become a donor click here