Monday, October 7, 2013

SCR's 50th Season Gala: A Golden Night, Filled with Surprises

“Theatrical Gold,” South Coast Repertory’s 50th Season Gala, held onsite for the first time in the event’s history, was an evening of dancing, dining, disco—and surprises.

Those surprises were five-fold, and each one brought the house down—or, up, for standing ovations.  Following the reception on SCR’s terrace (beautifully transformed  for the occasion, with gold-clad aerialists twirling above the guests) Gala Vice Chairs Bette Aitken, Sophie Cripe and Yvonne Jordan, along with the 420 party-goers, moved into the Segerstrom Stage, where they were welcomed by Board President Damien Jordan. 

Then the surprises began.  Honorary Chair Julianne Argyros announced two of them—first, declaring that the Gala had exceeded its goal, raising a history-making $1 million, and then stunning the audience with news that she and her husband, George, and the Argyros Family Foundation, were adding another $2 million gift.  Before the cheering was over, former Board President Paul Folino—whose $10 million gift eleven years earlier named the Folino Theatre Center—announced that he was re-naming it the David Emmes and Martin Benson Theatre Center, in honor of SCR’s Founding Artistic Directors.

The evening’s comedy surprise was “The Second City’s Salute to South Coast Repertory,” in which actors from Chicago’s famed troupe jumped in and out of vignettes and musical moments inspired by SCR’s long and celebrated history. 

During dinner on tiered platforms specially constructed for the evening and carpeted in gold, guests were treated to a video that played on two large screens with images highlighting productions and donors through the years.

Wondering about the fifth surprise?  It happened later in the evening, at Club Argyros, when the Julianne Argyros Stage was dramatically changed into a vibrant disco.  There, guests partied on amidst dancing lights and hypnotic music at a fabulous bash that capped the most memorable Gala in SCR history.

Having trouble viewing the slideshow? Try watching it here.

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