ROSWELL -- The Roswell-based private Leitalift Foundation hosted an awards dinner Nov. 10 at Naylor Hall to honor the foundation’s partners in theatre and the arts.
The Naylor ballroom took on a theatrical theme with displays from the Georgia Ensemble Theatre, the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern and the all-women’s Synchronicity troop in Atlanta.
The founders and nationally acclaimed GET Artistic Director Bob Farley and Managing Director Anita Farley were surprised when Zachary Henderson, vice president and creative director of Leitalift, presented the couple with a special award. The unique crystal award, designed by master glassblower Thom Lillie, was inscribed “Bob and Anita Farley, Visionary Leaders of Live Theatre – Past, Present and Future.”
The surprised couple came to the podium with teary eyes to thank the room full of theatrical stars, university leaders and representatives of the Porter Academy and Jacob’s Ladder, all foundation guests for the annual awards dinner.
After appearances by actresses from Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Shakespeare Tavern and the Synchronicity Group, another surprise award was given.
Edith Ivey (Johnson) accepted the 2010 award for Visionary Superstar of Stage, Screen and Television – Tribute to her Past, Present and Future.
Henderson then narrated a video presentation that took the audience through the career of this remarkable actress, beginning with her New York roles in TV soaps, portrayals of Indian Princess SummerFallWinterSpring on the classic Howdy Doody children’s show, as well as numerous roles on the TV series “In The Heat of the Night.”
Ivey’s many movie parts culminated in her most recent and unforgettable portrayal of Brad Pitt’s music teacher in the film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” And she has appeared in local theater, including the Georgia Ensemble Theatre.
Luminaries from the theatrical world told of her work that earned Ivey a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors’ Guild. Ivey lives in Roswell, where she is active in the Roswell Presbyterian Church and serves as the Leitalift Foundation vice president for scholarships.
The Leitalift Foundation donated the 100-plus acres to the city, valued at more than $20 million, to become the Leita Thompson Memorial Park, named for its founder.
The foundation, in addition to grants to support interns in theater and the arts, awards scholarships to deserving working women in colleges and universities in Georgia and to special needs schools, including The Porter Academy and Jacob’s Ladder.