Paul Myers, Tom Rogers, Sally Anderson and Jack Jakubowski
On the evening of Saturday, Sept. 16, SCR’s “Let’s Play” Gala got underway as guests stepped through a dramatic arch and climbed the steps to The Westin South Coast Plaza, where they were greeted with giant “Let’s Play” letters on the stairs. An atmosphere of fantastical wonder and whimsy awaited guests at the cocktail reception, where designer Angela Balogh Calin created a sense of playfulness with her fanciful and colorful vignettes featuring costumes and props pulled from select SCR productions.
Immediately preceding the Gala, patron-level supporters attend a special pre-Gala reception, with champagne sponsored by Le Grand Courtâge. The Patron Champagne Reception kicked off at 5:30 p.m., and the event offered an exclusive opportunity for guests to meet evening’s featured performer, Allison Case.
This year’s celebration attracted more than 200 theatre enthusiasts who mingled throughout the crowd, greeting old friends, meeting new ones and snapping “selfies” with the theatrical vignettes containing costumes and props. Partygoers enjoyed the sounds of solo saxophonist Vaughn Fahie while indulging in delicious cocktails and mouthwatering hors d’oeuvres such as petite grilled lamb chops with balsamic glaze and saffron-poached shrimp with cilantro dipping sauce. The “His” and “Hers” signature cocktails also delighted the crowd—“The Leading Lady” and "The Heartthrob" both featured Official Vodka Sponsor Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
During the cocktail reception, guests were also invited to “play” an entertaining game, where they were given cards and had to match images from past SCR productions with costumes or props displayed in the East Galleria. This was a great way for guests to interact and enjoy the various theatrical vignettes that highlighted a handful of SCR’s past productions. Guests also had a chance to purchase raffle tickets during the reception, and the drawing took place during dessert. The prize winners included Samuel Tang, who won the “Playing with the Bard: “A Shakespearean Acting Experience and Private Dinner at SCR;” Joel Slutzky, who won the David Yurman Oceanica Collection Necklace; and Harold Andrews, who won the Chloé $1,000 Shopping Voucher and Leather Wallet.
Guests entered the ballroom to the sounds of Dallas & Doll and enjoyed some dancing before dinner. With beautiful drapery surrounding the ballroom and a white dance floor located in the center of the room, the stunning space also featured two large screens on either side of the stage, which played guests’ selfies and photos throughout the evening in our social media feed.
Partygoers indulged in tantalizing cuisine including lobster fennel salad, as well as a duet of roasted tenderloin with cabernet reduction and orange-ginger glazed salmon with purple mashed potatoes and seasonal roasted vegetables. For a sweet finish, a “theatrical trio” tempted taste buds with a miniature chocolate ganache cake topped with a white chocolate butterfly, a miniature New York cheesecake and a multicolored chocolate cup filled with fresh berries.
During the festive event, guests dined, danced and cheered greetings from Board President Alan Slutzky, Artistic Director Marc Masterson, Managing Director Paula Tomei and Gala Chairs Talya Nevo-Hacohen and Bill Schenker, who announced that the event was projected to raise $300,000 for SCR’s artistic and education programs.
Guest star Allison Case—a graduate of SCR’s Theatre Conservatory who has appeared on Broadway in Hair, Mamma Mia and Matilda—enchanted partygoers with some of her favorite songs, including hits from the New York shows in which she appeared. After Case’s performance, Dallas & Doll returned for an extended dance set.
The celebration continued as guests drifted to and from the dance floor to the East Galleria, which was transformed into an intimate lounge and featured a gourmet coffee station, a sweets table by ‘Lette Macarons and a gelato cart provided by Mangiamo Gelato Caffe. All in all, everyone agreed that the evening was a successful, whimsical party with panache—a playfully theatrical soiree in celebration of the theatre they supported so generously.
We’d like to extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to everyone who joined us over the weekend at the Gala. All proceeds will support the theatre’s award-winning core education and outreach programs that bring the magic of live professional theatre to more than 24,000 underserved students, teachers and families throughout Orange County each year.
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