Boston University College of Fine Arts Announces Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Musical Theatre Fund

in Alumni, CFA, CFA Newsmakers, Theatre
June 9th, 2014

2014 Tony Award for Best New Musical: Producers Stewart F. Lane (’73) & Bonnie Comley, A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder photo credit: Rob Rich

2014 Tony Award for Best New Musical:
Producers Stewart F. Lane (’73) & Bonnie Comley,
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
photo credit: Rob Rich


Year-long Celebration Planned to Honor Lane and Comley, $1 Million-Plus Lifetime Donors of BU, and the Launch of a Musical Theatre Track

Boston, MA – Boston University College of Fine Arts is pleased to announce the Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Musical Theatre Fund, a generous commitment from the Tony Award winners to launch a new musical theatre track within the School of Theatre, and to endow a new musical theatre curriculum in perpetuity at the College.

Stewart F. Lane (’73), Co-Chair of The College of Fine Arts Campaign and member of the College of Fine Arts Dean’s Advisory Board, and Bonnie Comley are long-time supporters of the College of Fine Arts. When combined with previous gifts, the endowment for the Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Musical Theatre Fund moves the couple into the ranks of $1 million-plus lifetime donors of Boston University.

BU College of Fine Arts is celebrating the gift and the generosity of Lane and Comley, two of the most prominent Broadway producers in American theatre today, through a series of special events planned throughout the 2014-2015 academic year.

“It fills us with enormous pride and satisfaction to provide the resources needed to create this new program for BU School of Theatre,” said Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley. “It’s an honor to impact the students’ growth and development as artists, and this enhancement in musical theatre studies will only make for more versatile actors and more possibilities for them in the field. We look forward to seeing the students and the program develop.

“We are very proud and honored to count Stewart Lane and Bonnie Comley loyal champions of the College of Fine Arts,” says Benjamín Juárez, Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Boston University. “They are truly passionate about the craft and about supporting young artists preparing for the profession. It is in this spirit of innovation that the Lane-Comley Musical Theatre Fund will help CFA to provide a more in-depth experience in this area of theatre and open up new opportunities for our students.”

Six-time Tony winner Mr. Lane and three-time Tony winner Ms. Comley collectively produced more than 40 Broadway productions, taking home the 2014 Tony Award for “Best Musical” for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder at last night’s ceremony. BU College of Fine Arts plans to celebrate the Broadway producers and their generous gift with a series of events starting this fall.

The first in the series of celebrations will coincide with New Repertory Theatre’s October 2014 production of Assassins directed by Jim Petosa at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA. This production by New Rep, a member of the BU School of Theatre Professional Theatre Initiative, features BU alumni in its acting company and design team. Petosa, Artistic Director of New Rep and Director of BU School of Theatre, will also host a symposium to explore American Musical Theatre, an event that will be open to both students and the general public.

BU College of Fine Arts continues the celebration with an event planned in December 2014 to coincide with the opening of the BU School of Theatre’s first musical since reception of the gift. A revival of the Galt McDermott musical adaptation of the classic Saroyan novel, The Human Comedy, opens in December at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts.

The celebration concludes in March 2015 when BU School of Theatre seniors travel to New York for Theatre Showcase, an annual event, funded in part by The Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Fund for Theatre Artist Development, which invites members of the professional theatre community to experience the work of the School of Theatre’s graduating MFA and BFA students.

In recent years, the School of Theatre has heightened the profile of the literature, history, practices, skills, and artistic opportunities of the musical theatre form within the School by offering a sequence of four courses in the form and producing a musical every other academic year. Through the Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Musical Theatre Fund, the School of Theatre will have the needed resources to provide a more comprehensive and enhanced program allowing students to experience specific-training in this area of theatre and complementing the School’s intensive acting education.

“We are so proud of Stewart and Bonnie’s many accomplishments in the Broadway arena,” says Petosa. “Their life-long commitment to the musical theatre form is now extended to the training of future generations of theatre artists through their legacy gift to the Boston University School of Theatre. Our ability to educate has been exponentially enhanced by this generous gift.”

With the gift the School of Theatre will consolidate and leverage the progress of recent years by offering an elective track in musical theatre as an option for both acting and theatre arts majors. This track will use elective credits that are required for both programs and is slated to begin in fall 2015. The fund will support the hiring of an additional adjunct faculty member, and the production of a large-scale musical as part of the School of Theatre’s annual programming.

The commitment, which will be paid over time, will provide seed money for the new initiative in musical theatre, and to establish the Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Musical Theatre Fund to provide annual support for the musical theatre track and assure its future at the School of Theatre.

Generous supporters of the arts, both at BU and other colleges and universities, Stewart F. Lane has been honored as one of Boston University’s most distinguished alumni, and the pair has a distinctive philanthropic profile of striking sparks, and planting the seeds. In recent years, the couple launched The Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Fund for Theatre Artist Development to support CFA’s annual Senior Showcase in New York City and renovated the historic Studio 210 black box space at the Boston University Theatre on Huntington Avenue, now named Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley Studio 210 Theatre.

About Stewart F. Lane (B.F.A. ’73) and Bonnie Comley Co-Chair of The College of Fine Arts Campaign
Six-time Tony winner Mr. Lane and three-time Tony winner Ms. Comley collectively produced more than 40 Broadway productions including War Horse and Rome and Juliet. Stewart is the President of Theatre Venture, Inc. and President and Founder of Broadway HD. Lane and Comley received the 2013 Olivier Award for Best Musical for Irving Berlin’s Top Hat. Lane is also the owner and operator of The Palace Theatre in New York City. In 2002 he was awarded the Boston University Distinguished Alumni Award and he serves on the BU College of Fine Arts Dean’s Advisory Board. They reside in New York with their three children.

Lane and Comley’s production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, up for ten Tony Awards at last night’s ceremony, led the 2014 Tony Awards with more nominations than any other production. Nominations included: Best Musical; Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical (Jefferson Mays and Bryce Pinkham); Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Lauren Worsham); Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Alexander Dodge); Best Costume Design of a Musical (Linda Cho); Best Direction of a Musical (Darko Tresnjak); Best Orchestrations (Jonathan Tunick); Best Book of a Musical; and Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre.