The audience laughed. They cried. And they delivered standing ovations as the stars of "Deborah Duncan & Diane Schuur Unplugged" did their thing on stage at Zilkha Hall in the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.
The benefit for the Mission of Yahweh raised more than $120,000 for homeless women and children while raising Duncan's profile from KHOU Channel 11 talk show host to songbird (but we knew that already) and now to comedienne. This was her first run at stand-up comedy and by all accounts, she was a pro. Duncan entertained with songs including "At Last" and "Put a Little Love in Your Heart." When Grammy Award-winner Schuur left her piano to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" a cappella, she drew approving gasps and then tears from the full house.
Serving as emcees for the show were Sue and Lester Smith, the award-winning ballroom dancers who did a turn on stage to their theme song, "I Will Survive." They were introduced by Warner Roberts, a longtime supporter of the Mission of Yahweh.
The evening that began with cocktails and concluded with a post-concert cocktail reception for big donors was chaired by Stephanie Perkins, Alicia Smith and Jenee Stefanakis.
This stepping out of the comfort zone into comedy for Duncan was orchestrated by Paul-David Van Atta, who served as creator, producer and director.
Among those standing up for the stars were Lucinda and Javier Loya, Monica and Juan Alonso, Luba and Alan Bigman, Tena Lundquist Faust and Tyson Faust, Ericka Bagwell and Alex Klein, Anne Carl, Kim Moody, Joanne and Bill Crassas, Mary Ann and David McKeithan and Pam Lockard with Ron Sterlekar.