Was it soap? Were they cookies? What on earth were those cellophane-wrapped blue party favors so neatly arranged at each table for Theatre Under the Stars "Moonlight Serenade" gala at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts?
It all became clear as daylight when Broadway celeb and UH graduate Sally Mayes intoned a song written by the Four Bitchin' Babes Friday night. Let's just say this cabaret version of "Viagra in the Waters" was quite uplifting.
It was quite the memorable star studded soiree for the 45-year-old organization, which called on illustrious friends with a local connection to entertain atop an elevated theater in the round on the stage of Sarofim Hall. While guests dined against a full moon backdrop twinkling with stars, Brent Spiner, better known as Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, whipped up a delightful "I Got Rhythm." American actor and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Bruce Norris, whose Clybourne Park was presented in January at the Alley Theatre, chatted about his endeavors. Tickling the ivories was Brad Ellis, whom the 400-plus party-goers recognized as the pianist from Glee.
Cullen made an impression when he and Mayes first met. He was wearing a leotard. As a straight man in theater, in her words, he was very much like catnip.
And the dapper Brett Cullen — you may remember him from Apollo 13, Something to Talk About and The Dark Knight Rises — who knew he had such lovely vocals? Standing tall at 6-foot, 2-inches, Cullen made an impression when he and Mayes, both pupils of Cecil Pickett, first met. He was wearing a leotard. As a straight man in theater, in her words, he was very much like catnip.
Taking a bow for the fundraiser were chairs Amy and Rob Pierce and Melissa Edwards, who decided to go high tech this year with the silent auction and big board programmed on special iPods. The bidding, which contributed $615,000 to the piggy bank, may have ended way before midnight, but the lively sounds of the Richard Brown Orchestra rallied the black-tie flock onto the dance floor.
In the company of TUTS president and CEO John Breckenridge and artistic director Bruce Lumpkin and wife Michelle were ￼￼￼￼Helen and Jim Shaffer, Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniels, Alley Theatre's Dean Gladden, UH School of Theatre and Dance director Steven Wallace, Sandy and Randy Stilley, Elise and Jeff Cross, Molly and Jim Crownover, Marissa and Dr. J.C. Morgan, Stephanie and Bill Swingle and David Chambers.
About those happy blue pills? Sugary sweets to take home.