THEATRE SCENE: Partygoers at South Coast Repertory’s 2019 “Play Your Part” Gala Step Into Theatrical Scenes
COSTA MESA, Calif. (Sept. 13, 2019)—South Coast Repertory’s “Play Your Part” Gala—the theatre’s major annual fundraiser—created an immersive, theatrical experience for Southern California theatre lovers on the evening of Sept. 7. Much to the delight of guests, Gala Chairs Steve and Laurie Duncan announced that the gala had exceeded its goal.
Following the event, Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei confirmed that the Gala had netted some $310,000 to support SCR’s artistry on stage and its award-winning education and outreach programs.
Ivers is in his first season as the SCR’s artistic director and co-leading the theatre with Tomei.
“I believe deeply in the transformative power of the arts,” he told Gala guests. “And I also believe in the transformative power of the arts for our communities and beyond—as the arts relate to our kids, our cultural literacy and to commerce. I am thrilled and honored to be here to lead the next wave of our growth at SCR—and honored to partner with Paula as we move forward.”
Dramatic red drapery and black velvet linens lined both sides of the entryway to The Westin South Coast Plaza, as guests climbed the carpeted steps to the East Galleria.
As guests entered the cocktail reception, they were delighted to have the chance to “play their part” with by stepping into six selfie stations that featured large frames placed in front of oversized, painterly photographs from some of SCR’s favorite past productions including Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, M. Butterfly, The Beard of Avon and A Christmas Carol.
Cocktail tables draped with Shimmer Thyme linens from La Tavola and exquisite arrangements by Floral Creations by Enzo also helped to set the chic ambience. Guests enjoyed champagne sponsored by Le Grand Courtâge and the signature cocktail—“Curtain Call”—a refreshing cucumber soda cocktail featuring Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Guests also indulged in incredibly tempting tray-passed hors d’oeuvres such as vegan polenta with vegetable ratatouille, miso salmon on a crostini with edamame spread and brie cheese and raspberry in phyllo.
Following the cocktail reception, guests entered the Plaza Ballroom, which featured elegant drapery along with an array of SCR costumes and draft renderings from past SCR productions. The stage, surrounded by truss and featuring the theatre’s logo, was surrounded by screens that showed images of past SCR shows. Tables were draped with laser-cut Toni Black linens from La Tavola that displayed white linens underneath—all to a stunning effect. The tables also featured Galaxy Black Glass Chargers from Signature Party Rentals and Dupionique Seaweed linens from La Tavola.
The Westin’s Executive Chef Adrian Hernández impressed the crowd with his delectable cuisine including chilled potato and leek soup and a selection of artisan breads, followed by a delicious duet of filet mignon with a peppercorn sauce and rosemary-skewered shrimp served with mashed potatoes and green beans. For a sweet finish, partygoers indulged in mini chocolate cakes garnished with a chocolate collar and raspberries.
During the festive event, theatre enthusiasts cheered to greetings from Board President Sam Tang, Managing Director Paula Tomei, Gala Chairs Laurie and Steve Duncan, and Artistic Director David Ivers.
“We’re celebrating the fact that we all play a part in making SCR one of Orange County’s most beloved cultural treasures,” said Tang.
Tomei recognized past SCR Board of Trustees presidents Wylie Atiken and Sophie Cripe, along with four former board members whose service to the theatre was deemed so exemplary that they are recognized as Emeritus Trustees—Olivia Johnson, Carl Neisser, Tom Rogers and Socorro Vasquez; and she also recognized Founding Artist Richard Doyle, the esteemed actor who joined the theatre with Founding Artistic Directors David Emmes and Martin Benson at the very beginning of the SCR story 56 years ago.
Immediately following Ivers’ remarks was a surprise two-song performance by American Mariachi musical director Cynthia Reifler Flores and musicians from her group, Mariachi Corzón de México.
Following dessert, a raffle drawing was held onstage and added an exciting element to the evening. Prize winners included Carla Furuno (and Jeff Pulchaski), who won the 18-karat yellow-gold diamond bangle from Lugano Diamonds; Diane (and Rodney) Sawyer, who won the South Coast Plaza Gift Certificate; and Wylie and Bette Aitken, who won the private Inside the Actors Studio Workshop at SCR. The winners of the two intimate dinner parties to be held at the homes of Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei were Socorro and Ernesto Vasquez, who won ‘An Evening at Chez Ivers’ and Pattie and Jon Fasola, who won ‘An Evening at Chez Tomei/Emmes’.
The celebration continued as The A-List, a 10-piece band, performed an extended set and guests drifted to and from the dance floor and out to the East Galleria, which was transformed into an intimate lounge and featured a gourmet coffee station, a sweets table donated by Gala Gift Sponsor B. Toffee and a gelato cart donated by Mangiamo Gelato Caffe. All in all, everyone agreed that it was a wildly successful evening—a spectacular celebration of the theatre they supported so generously.
Proceeds from the evening will support the theatre’s award-winning core education and outreach programs that bring the magic of live professional theatre to more than 30,000 underserved students, teachers and families throughout Orange County each year.
GALA COMMITTEE: Steve and Laurie Duncan, chairs. Committee Members: Bette Aitken, Sally Anderson, Julianne Argyros, Kathryn Cenci , Sophia Hall Cripe, Carla Furuno, Maralou Harrington, Olivia Johnson, Deirdre Kelly, Sarah McElroy, Stacey Nicholas, Talya Nevo-Hacohen, Bill Schenker, Susan Shieldkret, Tammy Tang and Elaine Weinberg.
UNDERWRITERS INCLUDE: Bette and Wylie Aitken, Sally Anderson and Tom Rogers, Julianne Argyros/The Argyros Family Foundation, Leona Aronoff-Sadacca, Denise and Keith Banning, Bob and Tammi Cluck, Sophie and Larry Cripe, Steve and& Laurie Duncan, Joan and Andy Fimiano, Carla Furuno, Michael and Janet Hards, John and Mabelle Hueston, James and Kimberly Jacobs, Olivia and Andy Johnson, Yvonne and Damien Jordan, Deirdre Kelly and Howard Privette, Ray and& Liz Kennedy, Gregory Lincoln, Talya Nevo-Hacohen and Bill Schenker, Stacey Nicholas, Sarah McElroy, Pacific Life Insurance, Michael Ray, Deborah Sassoon and Daniel Gil, Susan Shieldkret and David Dull, Olivia and Alan Slutzky, South Coast Plaza, Sam and Tammy Tang, Terry Theologides and Debora Rodriguez, Socorro and Ernesto Vasquez, Bruce and Erin Wagner, Tim and Jean Weiss, Jon Wilcox, and Dean and Estee Zipser.
ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson and led by Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei, 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. Of SCR’s more than 528 productions, one-quarter 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. scr.org.