Rita Moreno proved she could party like a rock star, even at age 82, when she took over the Hotel ZaZa ballroom for the Houston Arts Alliance inaugural dinner fundraiser. The spotlight was on the singer/dancer/actress as she presented A Life in Words and Music, a 45-minute capsule of her life and career.
Moreno was the perfect star to launch the HAA series as her arts advocacy has included serving on the National Endowment for the Arts, as a commissioner for the President’s White House Fellowships and as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
In his remarks, HAA president and CEO Jonathan Glus paid tribute to Moreno as well as to dinner chair Philamena Baird, honorary chair Margaret Alkek Williams and to Fabené Welch, who was named HAA's first emeritus board member. Welch was recognized for her roles as a founding board member of HAA, as vice chair and as board chair.
HAA leadership among the 300 guests in the intimate setting were HAA board chair Marc Melcher and a wealth of board members including Michael Cordúa, Leigh Smith, David Wuthrich, Minnette Boesel, Denise DuBard, Shannon Buggs, Lynda Transier and Greg Ortale.
The party throng included an interesting mix such as City Council members Steve Costello and Brenda Stardig, Chevron's Joni Baird, Houston Symphony CEO Mark Hanson, Music Doing Good president Marie Bosarge and executive director David LaDuca, State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, Museum of Fine Arts Houston director Gary Tinterow, philanthropist Trini Mendenhall, Hines' George Lancaster, Society for the Performing Arts executive director June Christensen and publicist Alton LaDay.