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It Was a Magical Night for Theater-Backers

Patrons of South Coast Repertory gathered at the Westin South Coast Plaza on Saturday to honor the theater’s past board presidents and raise money for the new season.

“Celebrating the Magic of Theatre” drew 400 black-tie guests for an outdoor cocktail party followed by dinner in the hotel ballroom. The event raised an estimated $100,000.

Sights and Sounds

Masterminded by SCR Designer Cliff Faulkner, the magic-themed benefit was a festival of color, sound, performance.

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“We wanted to present every magical aspect of theater in a way that was playful and alive,” said Faulkner.

To that end: Guests were met in the valet parking area by masked attendants in quasi-Renaissance costumes--"fantasy characters,” in the words of Jeannie Jenkins, an SCR volunteer dressed in ruffles and velvet for her role as an official greeter.

Led down a park path, past colorful banners and a row of painted wooden doors, guests crossed a swath of red carpet as they entered the cocktail party--a plaza enlivened by jugglers, magicians, a stilt-walker and a jazz band.

Decorations included billboard-sized logos from past SCR productions, scaffolding and other bits of backstage machinery, and fanciful sculptures made from ladders and brightly painted chairs. And more doors.

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Said Faulkner of his motif: “We feel like we’re always opening new doors at SCR, and creating new paths for the American theater.”

Who’s Who

Members of the theater’s “President’s Circle"--past presidents of the board of directors--were demarked with white silk scarves and assembled in a receiving line.

At the top of this second line of official greeters was Stewart Woodard, gala chairman and the architect for SCR’s home in Costa Mesa.

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With him were John O’Donnell, Kae Ewing, Eric Wittenberg, John Stahr, Ron Merriman, Peter Ochs, Tom Peckenpaugh, Jim Dailey, Maury DeWald, and Tom Britton, the current board president.

After cocktails, party-goers left the chill night air for dinner, dancing and brief speeches in a ballroom fancifully decorated to look like a cabaret.

Among those taking a turn at the podium were David Emmes and Martin Benson, SCR’s artistic directors.


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