It was the '80s all over again at the Petroleum Club in downtown Houston as Stages Repertory Theatre played off the theme of its upcoming production of Xanadu to host a wild gala that had everyone channeling Olivia Newton John and dancing to hits by Def Leopard and Michael Jackson.
Event chairs Dr. Roland Maldonado and Edward Sanchez pulled out all the stops, with a three-part evening that included cocktails and a silent auction, with such items as the opportunity to dine with Bette Midler later this month in Houston or travel to Las Vegas to see Newton John in concert, a delectable filet mignon dinner and songs from the musical performed by Ivy Castle, Cameron Bautsch and Mark Ivy, and an after-party featuring The Space Rockers and Glo-Glo Dancers in fluorescent attire.
The evening ended with an appearance by musical artist Jonathan Luke and a Xanadu-inspired performance by aerialists from VauLt Aerial Arts.
Guests were encouraged to dress “Xanafabulous” and Beth Muecke shimmered in a silver and marabou tutu frock by Courreges that she purchased in Paris decades ago while Tootsies fashion director Fady Armanious sported gold lame shorts with his tux jacket and Maldonado sparkled in a glittery tux jacket that Rudi Festari custom made for him.
But it was Brenda Jones' lucky evening as she purchased one of the last tickets and came up the winner of a $4,500 diamond.
Playing with the Xanadu theme, in which muses visit Earth to inspire others to pursue their dreams and desires, a bevy of Houston muses were introduced to the crowd: Muecke, Jana Fant, Carolyn Farb, Debra Grierson, Mauney Mafrige, Aimee Marsh, Patti Murphy and Jessica Rossman. Stages past board president Cindy Langham was also honored for her contributions.
Another cause for celebration: Stages producing director Kenn McLaughlin announced that, with a grant from the Sterling-Turner Foundation, the company has raised the $1.4 million needed to purchase its historic building on Allen Parkway.
In another innovative fundraising technique, called "Bubbles & Baubles," 100 guests each purchased a $100 raffle ticket, with a chance to win a diamond valued at $4,500 from Houston Jewelry's Rex and Maggie Solomon. Each participant received a champagne glass with a boxed jewel — most were cubic zirconia. But it was Brenda Jones's lucky evening as she purchased one of the last tickets and came up the winner. Everyone with a champagne glass received endless refills throughout the night.
Joining in the fun were silent auction chairs Mauri Oliver and Sandra Porter, Scott Miller, Jonathan Tinkle, who was the high bidder on dinner with Midler, Cabrina and Steven Owsley, Eloise Frischkorn, Melza and Ted Barr, Gary Wind, Stages board chairman George Lancaster, Gordon Bethune, Gracie and Bob Cavnar, Tena and Tyson Faust, Don Mafridge, Rachel and Don Hooper, Scott Brogan, Gary Chiles and Amy Sutton, Harry Bowles, Courtney Zubowski, and Janet and Harvin Moore.
The Stages production of Xanadu will open May 21 and run through June 29.