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Stages Repertory Theatre:

2018 Gala Off the Ball:

A Stages Cinderella Story



On Friday, March 23, 2018, The Corinthian hosted Stages Repertory Theatre’s 2018 Gala, Off the Ball: A Stages Cinderella Story. The enchanting event, which marked the organization’s fortieth anniversary, was chaired by Elaine and Ray Messer. Judy and Jim Nicklos were the underwriting chairs. The proceeds from the Gala exceeded $440,000 in support of Stages’ fortieth anniversary and the theatre’s full range of artistic and educational programs.

The evening’s honoree, Sally Edmundson, actor, director, and Stages board member, received the Theodore Award for Visionary Leadership for her decades of critical leadership and advocacy. Managing Director, Mark Folkes, also recognized Isla and Tommy Reckling for their extraordinary success as Honorary Chairs of Stages’ ongoing capital campaign, Staging Our Future: A Transformational Campaign for Stages. The campaign supports the creation of a new purpose-built $30.5 million campus for the theatre, which is expected to open to the public during the 2019-2020 season.

Guest attire ranged from traditional black tie to “fairytale fabulous.” Some party-goers even donned outrageous costumes provided by Stages before the evening came to an end.  

Upon arrival, attendees enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while perusing the fabulous silent auction items. Among them were: a trip to Texas arts mecca Marfa, including private plane travel, donated by Glenda and Russell Gordy;  a deluxe Costa Rican adventure featuring two days of fishing aboard a luxury yacht, an “Instant Wine Cellar,” a luxury car tour, and a chef’s dinner for six at Emmaline; a unique chef’s dinner at Café Annie; a gorgeous pink kunzite and sapphire princess ring; and Astros’ Diamond Club seats, donated by Wendy and Jeff Hines.

There was even a “Cinderella’s Slippers” raffle, featuring designer pumps by Tom Ford, Aquazzura, and Sophia Webster. In keeping with the playful fantasy theme, Bergner & Johnson Design transformed The Corinthian into a wonderland using brightly colored flowers, silver accents, crystal chandeliers, stark white branches, marabou feather spheres, and other whimsical elements.  

In response to the dinner chimes, the over 400 guests made their way to their tables for a repast provided by Jackson and Company. The elegant meal began with spring-blanched asparagus with toasted pistachios. Oven-roasted sea bass in lemon beurre blanc with French baby carrots, haricots verts and bell pepper confetti, potatoes, turnips and chèvre, and yeast rolls followed. The whimsical dessert, “Oeufs à la neige,” consisted of meringue floating in a pool of crème anglaise decorated with edible fairy dust and flower garnish. Following dinner, party-goers crowded the dance floor and moved to the sounds of the Taylor Pace Orchestra. Sliders and fries provided tasty late-night snacks. 

The lead supporters of the event were Stacy Feltham and Marc Cutler, Elaine and Ray Messer, Judy and Jim Nicklos, Jo and Jim Furr, Isla and Tommy Reckling, and Vivian Wise. A group of generous donors provided special underwriting allowing more than 20 Stages actors, directors, designers, and other artists to attend the Gala free of charge.

Guests: Gayle and Lloyd Bentsen, John Ryan Bentsen, Ralph Burch and Vicki West, Jerry Ann Woodfin Costa and Victor Costa, John Dascoulias and Clifford Pugh, Carolyn Farb, Maya and Hank Fasthoff, Jana Giammalva, Susan and Neal Hirsch, Leisa Holland-Nelson, Cindy and Julian Langham, Alex and Victoria Lazar, Beth Muecke, Mauri Oliver, Carolyn and Tom Paul, Angela and David Ramm, Annette and George Strake, Sheryl Vazquez, Jo Dee and Cliff Wright, and Pat White.

About Stages Repertory Theatre

Stages Repertory Theatre is a nonprofit professional theatre with deep roots in the Houston community—a greenhouse for new talent and ideas, and a place for art, artists and audiences to thrive. One of Houston’s best-known theatres, Stages presents new, as well as classic, comedies, dramas, and musicals on two stages: the 171-seat Yeager Theater and the 229-seat Arena Theater.

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