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Stages goes Hollywood at glittery gala and after-party with upside-down champagne servers

Stages goes Hollywood at high-flying gala with champagne aerialists

Sergio Morales, from left, Vivian Wise and Peter Martino at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 after party Photo by Quy Tran.
Sergio Morales, from left, Vivian Wise and Peter Martino. Photo by © Quy Tran
Jessica Rossman, left, with Sanford and Susie Criner at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Jessica Rossman, left, with Sanford and Susie Criner. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Michael Pearce and Matt Burrus kick off the after party at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Michael Pearce and Matt Burrus kick off the after party. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Aerial champagne girl pouring at the after-party at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 Photo by Quy Tran.
Aerial acrobat entertains at the after party. Photo by © Quy Tran
Jared Lang, from left, Mauri Oliver, Vivian Wise, Michael Pearce, Sandra Porter and Matt Burrus at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Jared Lang, from left, Mauri Oliver, Vivian Wise, Michael Pearce, Sandra Porter and Matt Burrus. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Bubba McNeely and Yasmine Haddad at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015
Bubba McNeely and Yasmine Haddad. Photo by © Quy Tran
Tammie Johnson, left, and Nicole Lassiter at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Tammie Johnson, left, and Nicole Lassiter. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Rudy and Debbie Festari at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON..jpg
Rudy and Debbie Festari. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Alex Martinez, from left, Cindi Rose and Neal Hamil at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015
Alex Martinez, from left, Cindi Rose and Neal Hamil. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Margaret Alkek Williams, from left, Jim Daniel and Carolyn Farb at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Margaret Alkek Williams, from left, Jim Daniel and Carolyn Farb. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Stages Gala co-chairs Vivian Wise and Sandra Porter
Stages Gala co-chairs Vivian Wise and Sandra Porter. Photo by Fulton Davenport
Kenn McLaughlin and Tara Simon at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Kenn McLaughlin and Tara Simon. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Jim and Jo Furr, from left, and Erin and Chris Stimming at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Jim and Jo Furr, from left, and Erin and Chris Stimming. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Ericka Bagwell and Alex Klein at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015
Ericka Bagwell and Alex Klein. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
 Brendan Bourque-Sheil, Kevin Sheil, “Buster Keaton”, David Matranga at Stages Gala
 Brendan Bourque-Sheil, from left, Kevin Sheil, “Buster Keaton”, David Matrangra. Photo by Fulton Davenport
Donae Chramosta, Chau Nguyen, Mandy Kao, Miya Shay at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015
Donae Chramosta, from left, Chau Nguyen, Mandy Kao and Miya Shay. Photo by © Quy Tran
Ed Finger, from left, Brenda Jones and George Lancaster at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015
Ed Finger, from left, Brenda Jones and George Lancaster. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Fady Armanious at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Fady Armanious. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Don Mafrige Jr. and Cathy Echols at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015
Don Mafrige Jr. and Cathy Echols. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Edward Sanchez, left, and Jeff Shell at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Jeff Shell, left, and Edward Sanchez. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Beth Muecke, left, and Page Parkes at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015
Beth Muecke, left, and Page Parkes. Photo by © Fulton Davenport/PWL Studio
Sergio Morales, from left, Vivian Wise and Peter Martino at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 after party Photo by Quy Tran.
Jessica Rossman, left, with Sanford and Susie Criner at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Michael Pearce and Matt Burrus kick off the after party at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Aerial champagne girl pouring at the after-party at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 Photo by Quy Tran.
Jared Lang, from left, Mauri Oliver, Vivian Wise, Michael Pearce, Sandra Porter and Matt Burrus at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Bubba McNeely and Yasmine Haddad at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015
Tammie Johnson, left, and Nicole Lassiter at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Rudy and Debbie Festari at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON..jpg
Alex Martinez, from left, Cindi Rose and Neal Hamil at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015
Margaret Alkek Williams, from left, Jim Daniel and Carolyn Farb at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Stages Gala co-chairs Vivian Wise and Sandra Porter
Kenn McLaughlin and Tara Simon at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Jim and Jo Furr, from left, and Erin and Chris Stimming at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Ericka Bagwell and Alex Klein at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015
 Brendan Bourque-Sheil, Kevin Sheil, “Buster Keaton”, David Matranga at Stages Gala
Donae Chramosta, Chau Nguyen, Mandy Kao, Miya Shay at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015
Ed Finger, from left, Brenda Jones and George Lancaster at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015
Fady Armanious at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Don Mafrige Jr. and Cathy Echols at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015
Edward Sanchez, left, and Jeff Shell at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015 FULTON
Beth Muecke, left, and Page Parkes at the Stages Repertory Theatre Gala April 2015

The invitation to Stages Repertory Theatre's "Hollywood and Vine" Gala & Auction asked guests to wear "1920s Hollywood Glam" or black tie and most of the crowd of 250 eagerly complied. Co-chairs Sandra Porter, in a form-fitting red-carpet red gown, and Vivian Wise, in a signature pink tea length dress with marabou-embellished slippers, led the way, along with flappers Jessica Rossman, in pink fringe, and Yasmine Haddad, in red fringe.

Inspired by the upcoming Stages production of Mack and Mabel, which centers on Hollywood's golden era, cigarette girls passed popcorn and chocolate cigars at the luxurious new event space, The Astorian, where guests, including Miya Shay and Mandy Kao, were photographed on custom-designed mock movie sets. Also getting into the film spirit were Dr. Franklin Rose and wife, Cindi, both in Chaplinesque attire, Tammie Johnson and Nicole Lassiter in glamorous evening gowns, Beth Muecke sporting a lace fascinator and Page Parkes in a '20s-era pearl cap.

Stages artistic director Kenn McLaughlin welcomed the crowd and Stages board chairman George Lancaster presented the Theodore Award for Visionary Leadership to Mario Ariza, chief operating officer of Houston First, who was instrumental in the theater company's successful efforts to purchase its historic building on Allen Parkway. Brendan Bourque-Sheil touted Stages’ Young Actors Conservatory (YAC), where he trained. Bourque-Sheil wrote The Book of Maggie, which will have its world premiere at Stages next January.

Bubba McNeely and Greg Giacona, who make up the popular duo Bubba & Greg, entertained the crowd, finishing off with a soulful rendition of "Proud Mary," with backup singers/dancers Porter, Rossman and Jillian Nel.

Auction chairs Mauri Oliver and Jared Lang were excited over the frenzied bidding — all done via cell phones.  Cabrina Owlsey was top bidder for a special behind-the-scenes adventure with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas as well as a New York getaway including airfare, hotel and theater while Ericka Bagwell and Alex Klein triumphed in a bidding war for the William Loyd painting, "Heavy Flow."

As the dinner concluded, the glamorous space was transformed into an after-party venue hosted by Matt Burrus and Michael Pearce. It began with a huge confetti blast and champagne poured by aerial artists suspended upside down. Guests in pink feather boas danced the night away while cigarette girls passed out custom pink-glazed Shipley’s donut holes along with Whataburger breakfast tacos for the late-night crowd. Among the eye-catchers were J. Michael Soliz in spats, pearls and a Hollywood headdress and Cathy Echols in a tailored 1920s gangster suit and fedora.

The event raised more than $180,000.

Seen in the crowd were Vicki and Jack Rizzo, Susie and Sanford Criner, Cece and Mack Fowler, Carolyn Farb, Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel, Jonathan Blake, Sally and Philip Edmundson, Jim and Jo Furr, Vance Muse and Carl Palazzolo, Jeff Shell, Kim Padgett, Regina Garcia, Gigi Huang, Shirlee and John J. Jamail, Jr., Gary Chiles and Amy Sutton, Ted Bowen, Roland Maldonado, Edward Sanchez, and Joanna and Stephen Handel.

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