Stages Starstruck Gala

Stages 'Starstruck' Gala combines Hollywood drama with red carpet glamour

Stages 'Starstruck' Gala combines high drama and red carpet glamour

Managing Director Mark Folkes, Gala Chairs Jim and Jo Furr, Artistic Director Kenn McLaughlin at Stages Gala 2017
Stages managing director Mark Folkes, Stages Gala chairs Jim and Jo Furr, Stages artistic director Kenn McLaughlin. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Actor Emily Neves as Marie Antoinette, Sandra Porter at Stages Gala 2017
Marie Antoninette (actress Emily Neves) lets Sandra Porter eat cake. Photo by Quy Tran
Guillermo Sierra and Princess Tatiana Galitzine at Stages Gala 2017
Guillermo Sierra and Princess Tatiana Galitzine. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Megan Bailey, Fady Armanious, Vivian Wise, Christian Miranda at Stages Gala 2017
Megan Bailey, Fady Armanious, Vivian Wise, Christian Miranda. Photo by Quy Tran
Patti Murphy and Debbie Festari at Stages Gala 2017
Patti Murphy, Debbie Festari. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Shamika and Melvin Johnson at Stages Gala 2017
Shamika and Melvin Johnson. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Performer Kelley Peters and Theodore Award recipient Ted Swindley at Stages Gala 2017
Kelley Peters, Ted Swindley. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Stages Gala 2017  Elaine and Ray Messer
Elaine and Ray Messer. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Vicki Rizzo and Mauri Oliver at Stages Gala 2017
Vicki Rizzo, Mauri Oliver. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Leisa Holland Nelson, Myrtle Jones at Stages Gala 2017
Leisa Holland Nelson, Myrtle Jones. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Stages Gala 2017 Jessica Rossman, Gordon Bethune
Jessica Rossman and Gordon Bethune. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Philip Edmundson, Beth Tilney, Sally Edmundson, Schuyler Tilney at Stages Gala 2017
Philip Edumndson, Beth Tilney, Sally Edumundson, Schuyler Tilney. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Rebekah Johnson, Milton Townsend at Stages Gala 2017
Rebekah Johnson, Milton Townsend. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
James and Niki Lassiter at Stages Gala 2017
James and Nicole Lassiter. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Brad Thien, Cindy Langham, Jane and Dick Schmitt at Stages Gala 2017
 Brad Thien, Cindy Langham, Jane and Dick Schmitt. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Raquel Fatiuk and Beth Muecke at Stages Gala 2017
Raquel Fatiuk, Beth Muecke. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Ron Rand, Duke Ensell, C.C. Ensell, Demi Rand at Stages Gala 2017
Ron Rand, Duke Ensell, C.C. Ensell, Demi Rand. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Dr. Roland Maldonado, Carolyn Farb at Stages Gala 2017
Dr. Roland Maldonado, Carolyn Farb. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Managing Director Mark Folkes, Gala Chairs Jim and Jo Furr, Artistic Director Kenn McLaughlin at Stages Gala 2017
Actor Emily Neves as Marie Antoinette, Sandra Porter at Stages Gala 2017
Guillermo Sierra and Princess Tatiana Galitzine at Stages Gala 2017
Megan Bailey, Fady Armanious, Vivian Wise, Christian Miranda at Stages Gala 2017
Patti Murphy and Debbie Festari at Stages Gala 2017
Shamika and Melvin Johnson at Stages Gala 2017
Performer Kelley Peters and Theodore Award recipient Ted Swindley at Stages Gala 2017
Stages Gala 2017  Elaine and Ray Messer
Vicki Rizzo and Mauri Oliver at Stages Gala 2017
Leisa Holland Nelson, Myrtle Jones at Stages Gala 2017
Stages Gala 2017 Jessica Rossman, Gordon Bethune
Philip Edmundson, Beth Tilney, Sally Edmundson, Schuyler Tilney at Stages Gala 2017
Rebekah Johnson, Milton Townsend at Stages Gala 2017
James and Niki Lassiter at Stages Gala 2017
Brad Thien, Cindy Langham, Jane and Dick Schmitt at Stages Gala 2017
Raquel Fatiuk and Beth Muecke at Stages Gala 2017
Ron Rand, Duke Ensell, C.C. Ensell, Demi Rand at Stages Gala 2017
Dr. Roland Maldonado, Carolyn Farb at Stages Gala 2017

There was lots of Hollywood red carpet glamour at the 2017 Stages Repertory Theatre Gala as many guests took the "Starstruck" theme to heart. Women wore dramatic form-fitting gowns, accessorized with long opera gloves and dazzling jewels, while some men wore metallic brocade tuxedos. And if that wasn't enough dazzle, colorful capes and costumes were available for those who wanted to glam up even more and trip the night fantastic on the dance floor.

Environment designer Lisa Pope-Westerman draped the classic columned venue with curtains and purple lighting, while characters from storied Stages productions, ranging from Marie Antoinette to The Great American Trailer Park Musical, posed with guests in a stage tableau at one end of the long event space.

Following a high-energy cocktail hour with silent bidding, guests dined on duck confit with truffled asparagus spears, braised beef short ribs, and assorted desserts, catered by Jackson and Company.

Stages board member and longtime actress Sally Edmundson presented the company's Theodore Award for Visionary Leadership to "the man who set all of this in motion," as she saluted Ted Swindley, who founded Stages in 1978 as a home for new and progressive theater. "The power of dreamers and the passion of Houston is here tonight. Let us always look to the future for more great work," she said.

Swindley left Houston in 1990 but "his DNA remains the cornerstone and the spirit of Stages," Edmundson said. Swindley recently returned to make the city his home again, so it seemed the right time to honor him. Singer Kelley Peters surprised Swindley with musical selections from his hit musical Always...Patsy Clinewhich will return to Stages this summer in celebration of the theater’s upcoming 40th anniversary.

After dinner, guests filled the dance floor to groove to high-energy hits from the Jordan Kahn Orchestra, which even inspired a conga line.

Event chairs Jo and Jim Furr were elated that the gala was the biggest fundraiser in Stages' 39-year history, bringing in more than $382,000. Stages artistic director Kenn McLaughlin and managing director Mark Folkes also welcomed the crowd and thanked them for their support.

Enjoying the evening were underwriting chairs Elaine and Ray Messer, auction chair Ellyn Wulfe and auction committee members C.C. Ensell, Alexis Rogers, Mary Elizabeth Sand, and Helen Schaffer.

Also seen in the crowd were Vicki Rizzo, Mauri Oliver, Vivian Wise, Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin, Debbie and Rudy Festari, Jessica Rossman and Gordon Bethune, Susie and Sanford Criner, Carolyn Farb, Leisa Holland Nelson, Myrtle Jones, Princess Tatiana Galitzine and Guillermo Sierra, Sandra Porter, George Lancaster, Jane and Dick Schmitt, Bart Truxillo, Mary Hooper, and Beth Muecke.