Talk Of The Town

Stages Gala is the Talk of the Town with a glamorous Mad Men vibe at record-breaking celebration

Stages Gala is the Talk of the Town with record-breaking celebration

Tatiana Green, Debbie Festari, Melissa Mithoff at Stages Gala
Tatiana Green, Debbie Festari, Melissa Mithoff. Photo by Quy Tran
Beth Muecke, Vivian Wise at Stages Gala
Vivian Wise, Beth Muecke. Photo by Quy Tran
Tara Simon, Artistic Director Kenn McLaughlin at Stages Gala
Tara Simon, Kenn McLaughlin. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
Roseann Rogers, Vicki Rizzo, Mauri Oliver, Angela Sturm at Stages Gala
Roseann Rogers, Vicki Rizzo, Mauri Oliver, Angela Sturm. Photo by Quy Tran
Sandra Porter, Rudy Festari, Leisa Holland-Nelson at Stages Gala
Sandra Porter, Rudy Festari, Leisa Holland-Nelson. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
Carolyn Johnson, Holland Varva at Stages Gala
Carolyn Johnson and Holland Vavra performed at the Stages Gala. Photo by Quy Tran
Nancy and Jose Almovodar at Stages Gala
Nancy and Joseph Almovodar. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
Adam Haiduk, MD and William Howard at Stages Gala
Dr. Adam Haiduk and WIlliam Howard. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
Rocky Mafrige, Auction Co-Chairman Nicole Lassiter, Don Mafrige, Jr. at Stages Gala
Rocky Mafrige, Nicole Lassiter, Don Mafrige Jr. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
Duke and C.C. Ensel at Stages Gala
Duke and C.C. Ensell. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
JD Adamson, Stages Board Chairman George Lancaster at Stages Gala
J.D. Adamson, George Lancaster. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
Underwriting Chairman Jim Furr, Erin Stimming, Underwriting Chairman Jo Furr, Chris Stimming at Stages Gala
Jim Furr, Erin Stimming, Jo Furr, Chris Stimming. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
Kat Kearns at Stages Gala
Kat Kearns. Photo by Quy Tran
Stewart Zuckerbrod, Stages Founding Artistic Director Emeritus Ted Swindley, Jack Heifner at Stages Gala
Stewart Zuckerbrod, Ted Swindley, Jack Heifner. Photo by Quy Tran
Scott Miller, Edward Sanchez, Patti Murphy, Roland Maldonado, Raul Diaz at Stages Gala
Scott Miller, Edward Sanchez, Patti Murphy, Roland Maldonado, Raul Diaz. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
Entertainment Co-Chairmen Rob Rutherford and Mauney Mafrige at Stages Gala
Rob Rutherford, Mauney Mafrige. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
Jodie Eisenhardt, Tim Collins, Sarah Bray at Stages Gala
Jodie Eisenhardt, Tim Collins, Sarah Bray. Photo by Quy Tran
Leigh-Ann Laughlin, Guillermo Sierra, Auction Co-Chairman Tatiana Galitzine, Elizabeth Gregory at Stages Gala
Leigh-Ann Laughlin, Guillermo Sierra, Tatiana Galitzine, Elizabeth Gregory. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
Fred Aguilar, Kirsten Guerra, William Guerra, Edward Sanchez at Stages Gala
Dr. Fred Aguilar, Kirsten Guerra, Dr. William Guerra, Edward Sanchez. Photo by Quy Tran
Evangelina Hammonds and Council Member Robert Gallegos at Stages Gala
Evangelina Hammonds, Houston City Council member Robert Gallegos. Photo by Roswitha Vogler
Tatiana Green, Debbie Festari, Melissa Mithoff at Stages Gala
Beth Muecke, Vivian Wise at Stages Gala
Tara Simon, Artistic Director Kenn McLaughlin at Stages Gala
Roseann Rogers, Vicki Rizzo, Mauri Oliver, Angela Sturm at Stages Gala
Sandra Porter, Rudy Festari, Leisa Holland-Nelson at Stages Gala
Carolyn Johnson, Holland Varva at Stages Gala
Nancy and Jose Almovodar at Stages Gala
Adam Haiduk, MD and William Howard at Stages Gala
Rocky Mafrige, Auction Co-Chairman Nicole Lassiter, Don Mafrige, Jr. at Stages Gala
Duke and C.C. Ensel at Stages Gala
JD Adamson, Stages Board Chairman George Lancaster at Stages Gala
Underwriting Chairman Jim Furr, Erin Stimming, Underwriting Chairman Jo Furr, Chris Stimming at Stages Gala
Kat Kearns at Stages Gala
Stewart Zuckerbrod, Stages Founding Artistic Director Emeritus Ted Swindley, Jack Heifner at Stages Gala
Scott Miller, Edward Sanchez, Patti Murphy, Roland Maldonado, Raul Diaz at Stages Gala
Entertainment Co-Chairmen Rob Rutherford and Mauney Mafrige at Stages Gala
Jodie Eisenhardt, Tim Collins, Sarah Bray at Stages Gala
Leigh-Ann Laughlin, Guillermo Sierra, Auction Co-Chairman Tatiana Galitzine, Elizabeth Gregory at Stages Gala
Fred Aguilar, Kirsten Guerra, William Guerra, Edward Sanchez at Stages Gala
Evangelina Hammonds and Council Member Robert Gallegos at Stages Gala

With a musical detailing the last days of Judy Garland in 1968 currently wowing audiences at Stages Repertory Theater, organizers of the annual gala came up with the idea of staging it with a '60s "Mad Men glamour" theme. 

The gala, labeled "Talk of The Town" after the London club where Garland performed and which serves as the setting for End of the Rainbow, got Houston's fashion crowd scurrying to come up with their best '60s styles. Gala co-chair Debbie Festari wore a two-piece brocade suit and bob 'do while co-chair Mauri Oliver shone in a '60s-style black cocktail dress. Melissa Mithoff and Sandra Porter piled their hair into high bouffants and glimmered in black attire (Mithoff in a short cocktail dress, Porter in a long flowing gown). Brittany Rose channeled Jackie Onassis in a pale blue gown with above-the-elbow white gloves while Nicole Lassiter and Beth Muecke wore pillbox hats and Don Mafrige smouldered in a paisley smoking jacket.

A Memorable Event transformed the ballroom of the Astorian into a '60s-style supper club in black and silver with splashes of red and a big dance floor for an after-hours boogaloo with tunes by DJ Senega while Cordua Catering served up a hearty dinner of grilled bacon-wrapped filet mignon, achiote shirmp and mashed potatoes.

Stages performers Holland Vavra and Carolyn Johnson, who is starring as Garland in End of the Rainbow, opened the evening with a duet to "Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again" and Johnson returned to sing two classic Garland songs, "The Man That Got Away" and "Over the Rainbow."

Ted Swindley, who was instrumental in founding Stages in the damp basement of a downtown brewery in 1978, gave a brief history of the organization before presenting the Stages’ Theodore Award to Tara Simon, a long-time supporter, past board member and gala chair.

A late night crowd hung around for dancing and a breakfast of chicken and waffles along with a grown-up version of frozen slushies.  

Thrilled that the evening raised more than $300,000 — a record for the 38-year-old repertory theater — were artistic director Kenn McLaughlin, managing director Mark Folkes, board chairman George Lancaster, and supporters Jo and Jim Furr, Tatiana Galitzine, Mauney Mafrige, Rob Rutherford, and Joanna and Stephen Handel. 

Regina Garcia, Doug Naeve, Harry Bowles, Christine Kirchner, C.C. and Duke Ensell were among the high bidders for a host of auction items. Others joining in the fun were Vicki and Jack Rizzo, playwright Jack Heifner, Dr. Roland Maldonado, Patti and Don Murphy, Raul Diaz, Edward Sanchez, Vivian Wise, Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black, Tena and Tyson Faust, Annette and George Strake, Susan and Neal Hirsch, and Houston City Council member Robert Gallegos.

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