Gala opens Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills

The event: The "Grand Inaugural Gala" to celebrate the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. Presented by Salvatore Ferragamo, the affair came with cocktails, a gala dinner, fashion show of the Italian designer's latest collection and the first-ever performance in the Center's 500-seat Bram Goldsmith Theater.

The setting: The brand new "Wallis," designed by architect Zoltan Pali of SPF:architects to incorporate the city's Italian Renaissance-style post office and temporarily house a pop-up Ferragamo boutique.

PHOTOS: Inside Annenberg Center

The show: Not to forget its post office past, "A Dream in an Envelope" had John Lithgow, Diane Lane and Kevin Spacey reading classic letters from Will Rogers, Martha Graham, Groucho Marx, Peter Tchaikovsky and Tennessee Williams. Onstage too were tap-dancing postmen; dancer Lil Buck; a beautifully executed pas de deux; and Terri White belting out "This Joint Is Jumpin.'"

"Why don't you give these birds the dough," said Lithgow, as he read Will Rogers' good-humored request for government funds to build the post office.

The glittery crowd: Wallis Annenberg and Jamie Tisch co-chaired the event, and although Brad Pitt and Robert Redford, the honorary co-chairs, did not attend, there was no shortage of star power.

"Brad is fighting zombies somewhere and Robert is lost at sea," said Tisch, referencing their recent movies, adding that the two asked her to "extend their deepest gratitude to Wallis for the creation of this wonderful center."

Celebrities abounded, as did business, social and cultural leaders, including, among others actors, Charlize Theron, Jodie Foster, Amy Adams, Nicole Richie, Joe Jonas, Jason Bateman, Courteney Cox, Evangeline Lilly, Demi Moore, Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Chord Overstreet, Tim Robbins, Sidney Poitier, Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, Abbie Cornish, Geena Davis, Josh Duhamel and Dita Von Teese; Bram Goldsmith and Paula Kent Meehan, for whom the new theaters are named; Eva and Marc Stern, Lori and Michael Milken, Sherry Lansing, David Bohnett, Ron Burkle, Candy Spelling, Carolyn Powers, Deborah Borda, Ann Philbin, the night's speakers Ferruccio Ferragamo, Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch and the center's board chair, Jerry Magnin.

Quotes of note: "I don't have enough adjectives for this beautiful new auditorium," former California Gov. Gray Davis said.

The numbers: With tickets priced from $2,500 each and tables ranging up to $100,000, the celebration attracted 1,000 guests, enough to require two performances in the new theater.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Duo updates designer script
    Duo updates designer script

    The creators of women's label Co merge their love of films and style into a winning business model.

  • Los Angeles' fashion shows display vibrant diversity
    Los Angeles' fashion shows display vibrant diversity

    L.A.'s ever-eclectic spirit is visible on the runways at the 2014 spring shows hosted by Los Angeles Fashion Council, Style Fashion Week, Concept Los Angeles and Fashion Business Incorporated.

  • Tom Ford's most surefooted collection yet
    Tom Ford's most surefooted collection yet

    Yes, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez and Elton John were in the front row. But what was on the runway at Tom Ford’s fall-winter 2015 show Friday night in Los Angeles was just as impressive, in that it signaled a new, surefooted direction for Ford’s women’s wear.

  • New York Fashion Week: The visionaries of womenswear
    New York Fashion Week: The visionaries of womenswear

    The biggest news at the women's fall 2015 shows at New York Fashion Week, which ended Thursday, was a changing of the guard at Oscar de la Renta. British-born designer Peter Copping was charged with continuing the legacy of the late designer, who died in October at age 82 and who was one of...

  • At New York Fashion Week, menswear designers keep it loose
    At New York Fashion Week, menswear designers keep it loose

    Not only have menswear designers embraced the fact that, given the choice, most of us would wear sweatpants 24/7, but during the fall men's shows at New York Fashion Week, it appeared that the race was on to create the ideal comfy equivalent for the upper body, with designers putting a...

  • Tom Ford brings star-studded spectacle to Hollywood
    Tom Ford brings star-studded spectacle to Hollywood

    Tom Ford brought the runway a little closer to the red carpet on Friday night, when he presented his spectacular fall 2015 women's runway show in Los Angeles at the beginning of Oscar weekend.