THEATRE SCENE: South Coast Repertory's 2017 "Let's Play" Gala—A Party with Panache!
COSTA MESA, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2017)—South Coast Repertory’s “Let’s Play” Gala created an evening of whimsy and wonder for southern California theatre lovers and raised an estimated $300,000 to support the theatre’s artistry on stage and its education and outreach programs.
The Westin South Coast Plaza’s East Galleria and Ballroom were transformed for the Saturday, Sept. 16, event, dazzling more than 200 guests with fanciful and colorful vignettes featuring costumes and props pulled from select SCR productions. After being greeted by Gala Chairs Talya Nevo-Hacohen and Bill Schenker, Board of Trustees Chair Alan Slutzky, Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Managing Director Paula Tomei, gala-goers snapped selfies with the various costumes and props and had a final chance to purchase raffle tickets for an additional way to support the theatre.
The raffle drawing 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.
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 signature cocktails also delighted the crowd—“The Leading Lady” and “The Heartthrob” both featured official vodka sponsor Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
Guests entered the ballroom to the sounds of the band 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 displayed production photos from SCR shows interspersed with guests’ selfies and other event photos throughout the evening.
The tantalizing menu included lobster fennel salad with cucumber and grape tomatoes and a citrus vinaigrette, 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.
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’s appeared. After Case’s performance, Dallas & Doll returned for an extended dance set.
The celebration continued as guests drifted between the dance floor and 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 Coffee.
Other evening sponsors included Le Grand Courtâge Champagne, Sabra Health Care REIT, Inc., Wells Fargo and South Coast Plaza.
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.
The Gala Committee members include Bette Aitken, Sally Anderson, Julianne Argyros, Kathryn Cenci, Barbara Cline, Sophia Hall Cripe, Paul Gadbut, Maralou Harrington, Sue Hecht, Olivia Johnson, Shannon Kennedy, Tracy Kirwan, Richele Lowery, Sarah McElroy, Carole Meltzer, Stacey Nicholas, Jeanne Pepper, Susan Shieldkret-Dull and Jane Taylor.
ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theatre, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers. One-quarter of SCR’s 525 productions have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio. www.scr.org