Hillbarn’s Lee Foster in spotlight

Lee Foster is a woman of vision. The former executive director of Hillbarn Theatre recently received the theater’s 20th annual Bravo award, which recognizes individuals who make significant contributions to the arts in San Mateo County.

Foster, who headed up the theater for a decade and still serves on its board of directors, received the honor last week at a special ceremony in Hillsborough.

She said, “You create a world class team to do great work. A relationship develops between the theater, community and audience. And you use all resources available to help that vision come true.”

When Foster came on board, she was just what the struggling community theater company needed. Using knowledge gained while studying for a master’s degree in business at the University of San Francisco, she and the board developed a strategic plan.

First was a capital campaign to replace a worn roof. Next, she hired artistic director Toni Tomei. She also co-founded the children’s conservatory and formed bonds with Peninsula civic leaders and local business clubs.

Foster, whodidn’t take a salary the first five years, was successful. Ticket sales increased more than 250 percent.

“Hillbarn is a place we can all come together and share our talents of all ages and do great works,” Foster said.

The Foster City resident also received the Foster City Honors Award in 2003 and the Diamond Awards from San Mateo County’s partner ArtShare in 2005.

Upon leaving Hillbarn, she joined the Junior Statesmen Foundation, a nonprofit high school civics organization, where she serves as senior director of marketing and development.

Take ‘Snapshots’

The West Coast premiere of the musical “Snapshots” opens TheatreWorks’ 39th season in Mountain View. Both book author David Stern and composer Stephen Schwartz are in residence at the theater, working alongside director Robert Kelley.

Stern and Michael Sheeman approached Schwartz — best known for “Wicked” and “Godspell” — about creating a new musical using some of his past hits. Schwartz rewrote some songs for the show, which features musical arrangements by Steve Orich.

The plot revolves around Sue and Dan, whose 30-year relationship and marriage are in crisis. As Sue finds an old scrapbook of photos, they begin to examine the various stages of their lives.

New songs include “Snapshots” and “Making Good;” old songs are “Popular” from “Wicked,” “Corner of the Sky” from “Pippin” and “All Good Gifts” from “Godspell.”

Beth DeVries, who plays Sue, makes her first appearance with TheatreWorks. She recently performed the role in the world premiere at Village Theatre in Seattle. Also debuting locally is Broadway actor Ray Wills as Dan.

Molly Bell, Michael Marcotte, Courtney Stokes and Brian Crum round out the cast. The show runs through July 13. Performances are Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 and 7 p.m.

The Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts is located at 500 Castro St. Tickets are $26 to $64. Call (650) 903-6000 or visit theatreworks.org.

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