Those who attended ESCAPE Family Resource Center's "Emerald City . . . There's No Place Like Home" dinner at Tony's on Sunday night will probably never again think of the restaurant in the same way. What with wicked and good witches, wizards and several Dorothys cavorting through, this social Xanadu morphed into a rollicking land of Oz.
The 33rd annual celebrity waiter dinner was chaired, as has been tradition throughout, by Joan Schnitzer-Levy and Gerald Franklin and brought in $320,000 for the center's efforts at preventing child abuse and neglect.
While the chairs played it straight, many of the 300 guests abided the dress code that called for "Emerald Green" or "Anything Oz." Consider Judge Bonnie Hellums who arrived as Glinda the Good while her husband, family law attorney and former NFL linebacker Carel Stith, came as the scarecrow. Releasing their inner wicked witches were foodie radio host Cleverley Stone and Mix 96.5 afternoon host Chad Pitt.
Rounding up more than 30 celebrity servers was celeb chair and ESCAPE board member Kim Padgett. Her crew included astronaut Walt Cunningham, Lynn Wyatt, KHOU Channel 11 sports anchor Bob Allen, KPRC radio host Michael Garfield, KTRK Channel 13 reports Miya Shay and Sonia Azad, stylist Todd Ramos, 95.7 FM morning show hosts Sarah Pepper, P.K. and Ivan make-up artist Edward Sanchez as a very convincing wizard.
More than 30 celebrity servers squeezed those dollars from the pockets of dinner guests including Irvin Levy, Melissa and Doug Schnitzer, Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin, Regina Rogers, Frann Lichtenstein, Julie and Stephen Durham, Peggy and Kerry Mazoch, Sandra and Steve Rhoden and ESCAPE board chair Dennis Price.