Under the Stars
Behind the glam and sparkle of musical theater, there are arduous years of training and preparation. Entering through the stage door, guests of Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) shimmering "Sterling Stars Gala" got a glimpse at the world of these hard working professionals and toasted their accomplishments with a little bubbly on a starry stage at the Hobby Center's Sarofim Hall.
The lights of the Lee Jamail Celestial Dome ceiling, replicating Texas' starry sky, were smiling brighter on Friday night.
Gala chairs and long time supporters of TUTS, Marsha and David Taylor orchestrated a silvery affair benefiting the organization's shinning educational efforts, enticing 400-plus supporters to attend, including former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, who received a standing ovation for their presence.
"This may not be a regal affair," Marsha Taylor said. "But I feel like a princess."
Donning a stylish cerise gown and dazzling jewelry, she looked like one too. "And doesn't David look dashing in his tuxedo?" she added.
Students and alumni of the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre performed alongside industry veterans in mash-ups, medleys and fab tunes, brightening the ambiance with numbers from Fiddler on the Roof, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Sweeney Todd and Damn Yankees.
Gleeks would be proud.
But it was the collaborative kids-helping-kids performance with students from The River Performing and Visual Arts Center, an affiliate of TUTS serving children with special needs, that morphed "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" into an emotional display of love and support.
As emcee Deborah Duncan noted after showing off her own vocal abilities, the leadership skills, teamwork and discipline students develop while engaging in music education transfer to the community, regardless whether they pursue music as a career.
Joining the party were Tyson Dunn, Kimberly Rawson, Dee Dee Dochen, Michelle DeJean,John Breckenridge, Frank Young, Robert Davenport, Lori Smythe, Sandy and Randy Stilley, Nancy Brownlee, Andrea and Trent Tellepsen, Jan and BobHargrave, Aileen and Jim Reilly, Melissa King, Amy Pierce, Leisa Holland-Nelson, Roxann Neumann, Henry Florsheim, Sally and Steven Burkett and Jim Shaffer.
Guests danced the night away to the retro British Invasion melodies of The Beatles and 1960s tribute band The Fab 5. The affair raised $550,000 of the organization's $14 million budget in one night.