This is the third annual Most Enthusiastic and Supportive Audience Member Award I have bestowed on someone as part of our Readers’ Choice Awards. The first two went to our favorite southern belle Barbara Bear and the incredibly enthusiastic guy in the front row David Tannous.
This year’s recipient is a guy you see everywhere but is very unassuming. You most likely have been ushered to your seat by Bob Hebda at Signature Theatre but that is not his only theatrical haunt. He also volunteers at Studio Theatre and for the Helen Hayes Awards. When Bob is not volunteering he is attending numerous productions at Signature Theatre, Olney Theatre Center (Board Member for eight years), Studio Theatre, The Kennedy Center, National Theatre, Adventure Theatre MTC, Round House Theatre and Folger Theatre. You can also find him working in the box office at Signature sometimes.
Bob is a native Washingtonian and has lived here his whole life. He went to Cornell for undergrad and Harvard for law school. After many years working at Freddy Mac where he was Associate General Counsel, he retired and is now enjoying his life to the fullest.
Bob’s interest in theatre goes back a ways. He first ushered and house managed at Shady Grove Music Fair in Gaithersburg as a second summer job while he was in college. A new touring show every week, with one or two name stars, like Mame with Edie Adams, Gypsy with Ann Southern and Camelot with Howard Keel. He chauffeured around stars like Johnny Carson, Jack Benny and Imogene Coca and even ran stage crew a few times (my kind of guy.)
The first production he saw at Signature was Over and Over because he wanted to see a new work by Kander and Ebb. To give you an idea of the effect theatre can have on someone, Bob started subscribing at Signature Theatre the following season.
Bob has good taste in theatre also. His favorite show is Gypsy and his favorite composer is Stephen Sondheim.
When not watching or ushering a show, Bob enjoys spending time with his nephews and nieces.
I said at the top of this piece that Bob is very unassuming. Some theatre types are very in your face. Bob always has a kind word for a performer after a show but is never pushy about it. He has a very easy-going way about him. For this reason and because of Bob’s unwavering support of our theatre community, MD Theatre Guide presents this year’s Most Enthusiastic and Supportive Audience Member Award to a class act named Bob Hebda.