encore! encore!

Kinder HSPVA salutes home-grown Hollywood star in drive-in celebration

Kinder HSPVA salutes home-grown Hollywood star in drive-in celebration

Justin Simien
Justin Simien, who attended HSPVA, is the event's Distinguished Alum.  Justin Simien/Facebook

Houston’s marquee performing arts high school will showcase its top talent — and a major industry name — in a socially distanced celebration.

Encore at the Drive-In, which takes place Tuesday, March 30, will feature live and virtual performances by standout students at the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, as well as a presentation by rising Hollywood star Justin Simien, the filmmaker, actor, and author behind the film and series Dear White People, Bad Hair, and the upcoming Lando Calrissian Star Wars series on Disney+

Simien, HSPVA class of 2001 in theater,  is heralded as this year’s Distinguished Alum.

The event, a 15-year tradition normally known as the Encore Luncheon, will be held at the MoonStruck Drive-In (100 Bringhurst St.). Rather than the usual luncheon tables and tickets, guests will purchase parking spaces for their party and can socialize in a masked, outdoor setting — or enjoy the show from their car. Underwriters will have access to an outdoor VIP picnic lounge with additional goodies and seating, per an announcement.

Doors open at 6:45 pm and the program begins at 7:15 pm. Drive-in tickets start at $500, with options going from there to $25,000, with up to five cars at capacity. This year’s event is chaired by M. Kaye DeWaltWinell Herron, and Lauren Anderson.

Anderson, widely acclaimed one of the nation’s most accomplished ballet dancers, is a current Kinder HSPVA parent (jazz), and notably, her father was HSPVA’s first assistant principal.

DeWalt’s three children graduated from the school’s jazz program; she serves on HSPVA’s Friends Board of Directors. Herron is well-known locally and statewide as a supporter of arts and education and is H-E-B’s group vice president of public affairs, diversity and environmental affairs.

Each year, the Encore event raises funds for art supplies, state-of-the-art technology, specialized teachers, and other essential materials to meet HSPVA’s rigorous arts curriculum demands.

“We are thrilled to be able to host Encore this year in an outdoor and socially distanced location,” said Alene Coggin, executive director of HSPVA Friends, in a statement. “Arts education looks vastly different this school year, but students only get one high-school experience. Our students and staff have worked so hard since last March and have overcome many challenges. The MoonStruck Drive-in theater will make a special setting for our students and alumni to showcase their talent and to bring together our wonderful community of supporters.”