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Glee star in the house

Happy blue pills, celebrities and hunky catnip come together in Houston to serenade TUTS

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TUTS gala April 2013 Brad Ellis, Sally Mayes, Bruce Norris, Brett Cullen, Amy Pierce, Brent Spiner and Amy Pierce and Rob Pierce
Brad Ellis, from left, Sally Mayes, Bruce Norris, Brett Cullen, Melissa Edwards, Brent Spiner and Amy and Rob Pierce Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Sharon Montgomery and Sally Mayes
Sharon Montgomery, left, and Sally Mayes Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel
Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Robert Davenport and Leisa Holland-Nelson
Robert Davenport and Leisa Holland-Nelson Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Tom Pradel and Julia Pradel
Tom and Julia Pradel Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Gala chairs Melissa Edwards and Rob Pierce and Amy Pierce
Melissa Edwards, left, with Rob and Amy Pierce Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Chairs Rob Pierce and Amy Pierce
Rob and Amy Pierce Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Sandy Stilley and Randy Stilley
Sandy and Randy Stilley Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Judge Bonnie Hellums and Carel Smith
Bonnie Hellums and Carel Smith Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Jeff Cross and Elise Cross
Jeff and Elise Cross Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Heather Snyder and Dan D’Armond
Heather Snyder and Dan D’Armond Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Gala performers Brett Cullen and Sally Mayes
Brett Cullen and Sally Mayes Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Gala Entertainers Brent Spiner and Bruce Norris
Brent Spiner, left, and Bruce Norris Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Gala entertainer Brent Spiner (best known as android Lieutenant Commander Data in the television series “Star Trek- The Next Generation” and Hector Villarreal
Brent Spiner, left, and Hector Villarreal Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Gala Chair Amy Pierce with Jim Crownover and Molly Crownover
Amy Pierce, left, with Jim and Molly Crownover Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Dr. J. C. Morgan and Marissa Morgan
Dr. J.C. and Marissa Morgan Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Brad Ellis (the pianist from Glee) Gala Chair Melissa Edwards and TUTS Chairman of the Board Steve Burkett
Brad Ellis, from left Melissa Edwards and Steve Burkett Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Bill Swingle and Stephanie Swingle
Bill and Stephanie Swingle Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS Artistic Director Bruce Lumpkin and Michelle Lumpkin
Bruce and Michelle Lumpkin Photo by Kim Coffman
TUTS gala April 2013 Brad Ellis, Sally Mayes, Bruce Norris, Brett Cullen, Amy Pierce, Brent Spiner and Amy Pierce and Rob Pierce
TUTS gala April 2013 Sharon Montgomery and Sally Mayes
TUTS gala April 2013 Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel
TUTS gala April 2013 Robert Davenport and Leisa Holland-Nelson
TUTS gala April 2013 Tom Pradel and Julia Pradel
TUTS gala April 2013 Gala chairs Melissa Edwards and Rob Pierce and Amy Pierce
TUTS gala April 2013 Chairs Rob Pierce and Amy Pierce
TUTS gala April 2013 Sandy Stilley and Randy Stilley
TUTS gala April 2013 Judge Bonnie Hellums and Carel Smith
TUTS gala April 2013 Jeff Cross and Elise Cross
TUTS gala April 2013 Heather Snyder and Dan D’Armond
TUTS gala April 2013 Gala performers Brett Cullen and Sally Mayes
TUTS gala April 2013 Gala Entertainers Brent Spiner and Bruce Norris
TUTS gala April 2013 Gala entertainer Brent Spiner (best known as android Lieutenant Commander Data in the television series “Star Trek- The Next Generation” and Hector Villarreal
TUTS gala April 2013 Gala Chair Amy Pierce with Jim Crownover and Molly Crownover
TUTS gala April 2013 Dr. J. C. Morgan and Marissa Morgan
TUTS gala April 2013 Brad Ellis (the pianist from Glee) Gala Chair Melissa Edwards and TUTS Chairman of the Board Steve Burkett
TUTS gala April 2013 Bill Swingle and Stephanie Swingle
TUTS Artistic Director Bruce Lumpkin and Michelle Lumpkin

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.

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