After a Decade of Service, Mahaiwe Founder Lola Jaffe Cedes Board Chair

Mahaiwe founder Lola Jaffe at the 2010 Gala (photo Seth Rogovoy)

Mahaiwe founder Lola Jaffe at the 2010 Gala (photo Seth Rogovoy)

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – It’s the end of an era – and the beginning of a new one – as Lola Jaffe, who founded the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center ten years ago and has served as board chair ever since, has stepped down from her position. Jaffe, who has been a tireless champion of the performing arts in the Berkshires and elsewhere, and who is widely credited – and rightly so – with seeing through the reincarnation of the hundred-plus-year-old former vaudeville house and movie theater to its rebirth into a buzzing, multi-disciplinary, award-winning hub of performing arts, film, and educational offerings, will continue to serve on the board as founding chair, while Maggie Buchwald succeeds her as chair. Also elected to the board’s executive committee last week were Alan S. Jaffe and Jane Iredale as vice chairs, Herb Abelow as treasurer, and Stacey Allegrone-Lewis as clerk.

“The Mahaiwe’s leadership team, including the board, staff, and executive director Beryl Jolly, is rock solid,” said Jaffe, who took over the Mahaiwe after years of neglect and decrepitude and oversaw its transformation into a beautifully restored jewel-box of a theater. “I have every confidence that the Mahaiwe will continue to evolve and thrive with their support.  When I founded the Mahaiwe as a non-profit organization in December 2002, it was really to share a joy of the performing arts with the community on a year-round basis, beyond the busy summer months.  It was important to me and our board of directors that residents and visitors of all ages have the opportunity to experience music, dance, theater, opera, films, and educational programs together, in this landmark theater, after it was beautifully restored with the generosity of many friends and supporters.

“I am honored to take the reins from Lola Jaffe,” said Buchwald. “Having served on the board since 2004 and as its vice chair for the past four years, I look forward to building on her founding vision and helping this wonderful performing arts center grow and flourish in the future.”

“It will be a pleasure to work closely with Maggie and the rest of the executive committee as well as continuing the strong ties we all have with Lola, as together our board and staff build an even stronger and more dynamic Mahaiwe for our community,” noted executive director Jolly.


“It has been a thrill to share the laughter, song, and smiles with thousands of audience members over the past decade,” said Jaffe, “and I look forward to celebrating many future events with Maggie, Beryl, the leadership team, and our community for many years to come.”

Based in North Egremont and New York City, Maggie Buchwald is a retired fundraising consultant who counseled nonprofit institutions in board development, major gift solicitation, capital campaigns, and strategic planning. During her career, she held senior positions at some of New York’s major cultural and educational institutions, including American Ballet Theatre, Thirteen/WNET, and the New York University Medical Center. She is past president of Women in Development, New York, and a graduate of Cornell University.

Alan S. Jaffe (no relation to Lola Jaffe) retired in 2005 as the chairman and managing partner of Proskauer Rose LLP, a 750-attorney firm with 12 domestic and international offices. While he has counseled clients in a variety of industries, a significant portion of his time was concentrated in the entertainment industry where he represented many of New York’s premiere institutions, including The Broadway League (formerly The League of American Theatres and Producers), Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the New York City Ballet, the New York City Opera, and Lincoln Center Theatre, among others. He has served on the Mahaiwe board since 2009 and lives in North Egremont and New York City.

Jane Iredale is the president and founder of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, a full line of natural makeup that she developed with world-renowned plastic surgeons and dermatologists. Prior to forming her cosmetics company in 1994, her background had been in film, theater, and television. Among many others, she worked with Francis Ford Coppola on The Outsiders, Steven Spielberg on The Color Purple, and all major television networks, including the BBC. Through her own production company, she produced over 50 programs for PBS and HBO. She has served on the Mahaiwe board since 2004 and lives in Great Barrington.

Herb Abelow’s career on Wall Street spanned 44 years, during which time he was also active in the non-profit and community sector, starting the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and serving on the boards of the Edith Wharton Restoration and Lenox Library, among others. Currently a resident of Mill River, he is treasurer of the New Marlborough Village Association and the New Marlborough Historical Society, and past chair of the Southern Berkshire Regional School Committee. He has served on the Mahaiwe board since 2009.

Great Barrington resident Stacy Allegrone-Lewis, a principal and CFO of the Allegrone Companies, joined the Mahaiwe board in early 2012.  Allegrone Companies is a fourth generation family operated and vertically integrated construction manager, general contractor and developer.  With a focus and expertise in masonry preservation and historic restoration, Allegrone performed the multi-phase restoration of the Mahaiwe Theater beginning in 2002 when Ms. Allegrone-Lewis returned to the Berkshires to join the companies and manage the project.  She developed a unique connection to the theater as a result.  An engineering graduate of Tufts University, she, her husband Joe, and two young children reside a short distance from the theater steps.


About the Mahaiwe


Located in downtown Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is the year-round presenter of world-class music, dance, theater, classic films, “Live in HD” broadcasts, and arts education programs for the southern Berkshires and neighboring regions. The intimate jewel box of a theater opened in 1905 and has been in continuous operation for over 100 years. In 2005, the theater experienced a renaissance as a beautifully restored 681-seat venue to offer a broad range of cultural and community events. For tickets and information, visit Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center or call 413.528.0100.






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