America's Oldest · Founded 1808

Walnut Street Theatre Annual Gala 2024


We are proud to announce our 2024 Gala theme: Producing Legends, celebrating Arts Education Accessibility and the Legends of America’s Oldest Theatre. Tickets now available to purchase online! For more information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact the Development Office at 215-574-3580
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The Edwin Forrest Award

The Edwin Forrest Award was established in 1990 to recognize the long-term, significant contribution to American theatre by an individual or organization. It was named in honor of actor Edwin Forrest (1802-1872), a native Philadelphian often described as America's first great tragedian. Forrest made his stage debut in 1820 in the Walnut Street Theatre production of John Hume's tragedy, Douglas.

Forrest encouraged the development of a truly American theatre that would reflect the tenets of the new republic. He commissioned playwrights to create new works in which he and other American actors could perform. As a final testament to his commitment to the theatre, he endowed his home to be used by indigent actors.

Our 2024 Edwin Forrest Award Recipients

Rick Dougherty

Richard “Rick” Dougherty first came to the Walnut Street Theatre in 1974 and has been working in the theatre’s box office ever since. Known for his positive personality, humility, and college banners hanging behind him in the box office, Rick is one of the first and friendliest faces patrons see when they enter our theatre. In 2024, Rick celebrates his 50th year working at the Walnut Street Theatre Box Office!

Rick calls Delaware County home, but was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1953, and still holds Baltimore close to his heart. Rick attended grade school at Saint Joseph in Collingdale, Pennsylvania, Most Precious Blood in Baltimore, and Holy Spirit in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania. He attended Monsignor Bonner High School for boys and graduated in 1972. He continued his studies at Mercyhurst College in Erie Pennsylvania and Temple University. Rick was married to his wonderful wife Patricia of Northeast Philadelphia at Saint Bartholomew’s Church in Philadelphia in 1975. Together, they have sons Edward and Christopher, and are grandparents to Mary, Molly, Wesley, and Philomena.

Rick joined the box office union IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, in the early 1970s and has worked at performing arts venues all over the city of Philadelphia. One of his favorite memories from this time was watching the Flyers win the Stanley Cup in what was then called the Spectrum Box Office. Upon arriving at the Walnut’s box office, Rick had the good fortune of working with Frank Brzozowski, who taught him everything about becoming a Theatre Treasurer. Rick has many fond memories made at the Walnut, but his favorite may be when the theatre was able to open after the pandemic – it made him realize just how much he missed the Walnut. Rick has met so many wonderful staff and artists over the years that it would be impossible to name them all, but Rick would be remiss to not mention his friend and colleague Tom Brzozowski who has been with the theatre in the box office with him for over 30 years. He also would like to mention his great friend Angelia Evans, and the late Len Karabell and Sally Weida. He thinks of them often. Rick also thanks and appreciates Bernard Havard and Mark Sylvester for all their kindness over these many years.

Robert and Louise Harman

Robert “Bob” and Louise Harman have been supporters, advocates, and audience members of the Walnut Street Theatre for over 20 years. They were first attracted to the Walnut’s mission of outreach in Philadelphia and other area schools to provide students exposure to the arts, and over time have grown to love the theatre and the engaged and kind people who guide and work at the theatre.

Robert L.B. Harman was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1954. When he was 4 months old, he and his family moved to Philadelphia and in 1955, they moved to Levittown, Pennsylvania. He attended Pennsbury School District until he graduated high school in 1972. Bob was active in the Boy Scouts growing up and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He attended Mansfield State College (Now Mansfield State University), graduating in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. In 1984, he graduated from LaSalle College (Now LaSalle University) with a master’s degree in business administration. In 1976 Bob’s banking career began at the Morrisville Bank. In 2000, he left the bank to start his own business, New Frontier Risk Solutions, Inc., which specializes in consulting on bank operations and security. He retired from banking in 2015.

Louise Harman was raised in the Village of Fallsington, Bucks County, where her family has lived for nearly 100 years. Louise’s sister Cheryl and her family continue the tradition by living in their grandparents’ home. Louise went through the Pennsbury School District, and then pursued a degree in Accounting from Rider University. She received her MBA from La Salle University. Louise is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Pennsylvania. After several years in public accounting, Louise joined the Pennwalt Corporation in Philadelphia. She began there in the Internal Audit department and progressed to other financial positions, before moving to Human Resources to oversee the financial aspects of HR. After a career spanning 40 years, Louise retired in 2021.

Bob and Louise have lived in Buck County, Pennsylvania their entire lives, and are celebrating 42 years of marriage this year. They have a common love of traveling, although no matter what, they love returning home to Bucks County. They are especially proud of their two children, daughter Christina and son Blair, who both reside in New York City pursuing careers in advertising and finance, respectively. Bob and Louise’s history of giving back to their community is beyond expansive. They especially are drawn to organizations that are advocates for education, history, the arts, and land and historical places preservation in Bucks County and Philadelphia. They both contribute their time to multiple organizations in addition to the Walnut Street Theatre. Bob has served as the President of the board of Historic Fallsington, Inc., for over 40 years, and Louise was recently appointed their Treasurer. Louise is also the long-time Treasurer of the Pennsbury Scholarship Foundation. Bob additionally serves on the boards of the Washington Crossing Council Boy Scouts of America, as well as the Walnut Street Theatre as their Treasurer.