HB Studio, the New York nonprofit theater and acting studio, feted custom furniture makers Avery Boardman and Carlyle on December 7 at a benefit dinner at City Winery in New York. Sophie Donelson, editor in chief of House Beautiful, and actor Victor Slezak co-chaired the event, which also honored theater and film actor Alfred Molina and celebrated HB Studio’s 70th anniversary.
Event co-chair Sophie Donelson
Dinner event chairs Joseph de Matteo, Darren de Matteo, Drea de Matteo and Alexander Dinelaris were joined by notable guests including Tyne Daly, Helen Gallagher, Rita Gardner, Sheldon and Margery Harnick, Judd Hirsch, Brian Murray, Rochelle Oliver, Stephen Root, David Saint and Gus Solomons Jr.
Donna, Drea and Joseph de Matteo
Ted Brunetti and Leslie and Victor Slezak
Dennis Scully and Sophie Donelson
Guests enjoyed a video presentation by filmmaker Shannon Taggart featuring appearances from HB alumni and friends, followed by presentation of the HB Award for Business Leadership to Avery Boardman and Carlyle, and the HB Award for Artistic Excellence to Molina. The award for Avery Boardman and Carlyle honored the company’s commitment to handmade craftsmanship. HB president emeritus Richard Mawe, who presented the award, said, “HB Studio would not be the same today without the longstanding support and participation of Avery Boardman and Carlyle, Al de Matteo, and the de Matteo family.”
"We are honored to receive HB Studio’s inaugural Business Leadership Award," shared Avery Boardman and Carlyle president Dennis Scully. “The generous spirit of our founder, Albert de Matteo, lives on in our company culture today and this recognition reminds us of that. Al’s appreciation for the work of the artist, whether a performer onstage or a furniture maker in his shop, is at the heart of what we do every day.”
The close relationship between HB Studio and Avery Boardman and Carlyle began in the 1960s. Joseph de Matteo, son of Avery Boardman and Carlyle founder Albert de Matteo, shared with EAL: “AB and Carlyle were my father’s two businesses, which he started and which were the recipients of his creative and business energies over the span of his career. HB Studio served that same purpose for my mother. She had all of her work created and produced there, and began to teach there.” De Matteo would provide upholstery, furniture and financial contributions to the theater studio. “My father spent a lot of time there and had a lot of exposure to this creative element, more than you would normally see in the furniture industry. It influenced him.”
HB students at the 1940s film noir after-party
Edward Morehouse, faculty, and David Saint, director and alum
Avery Boardman and Carlyle CEO Darren de Matteo shares, “With a foot in both doors for some 45 years, the unifying factor to me is integrity, in drama and in design. Both institutions have always upheld the quality standards necessary to contribute to the betterment of the human condition. HB has never taken commercial shortcuts at the expense of the artists’ integrity and neither has AB,” continued de Matteo. “Quality, craft and people are at the heart of both our products!”
The event raised nearly $90,000 to help fund scholarships for students, professional artist services and opportunities, exploratory performance projects and developing new work. Previous honorees include Katie Finneran, Tony Walton, Lee Grant, Amanda Peet, David Hyde Pierce, Eric Bentley, Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, Fritz Weaver and Austin Pendleton.