WHILE HOWARD HEAD IS recuperating from bypass surgery Friday evening, his wife Martha will address a black-tie crowd of Center Stage board members and benefactors gathered to dedicate a new performance space named in the couple's honor.
Head is scheduled to enter Johns Hopkins Hospital today and to undergo surgery tomorrow. The procedure "is not an emergency," according to Inez Foley, Head's personal secretary of 29 years. "In order to schedule everything he wants to do, it seemed opportune that he go in now."
Head, the 76-year-old inventor of the metal Head ski and the oversized Prince tennis racket, has been a member of Center Stage's board of trustees since 1964. He has also served as vice president and chairman of the board.
As part of a National Endowment of the Arts challenge grant, the Heads contributed more than $600,000 to the theater's $3.5 million endowment fund in 1984.
Head and his wife also pledged $1 million to the current $13-million Campaign for Center Stage.
Last fall, when the new theater's name was announced, Katharine B. Gust, president of the Center Stage board of trustees, said of Head, "Center Stage has been extremely fortunate to have had Howard Head's participation over the past 27 years. His willingness to step in at many critical moments of our history has allowed Center Stage to expand and flourish."
At Friday night's gala, according to Foley, Martha Head will review the Heads' long association with Center Stage. She will speak of the theater's growth, laud the fourth-floor performance space's innovative, movable seating system and note that they "are proud their name has been chosen as a designation for a remarkable new space."
The new stage officially opens Feb. 20 with the world premiere of "The Heliotrope Bouquet by Scott Joplin and Louis Chauvin," by Eric Overmyer.