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Scene & Heard: Rachelle and Scott Adler host California International Theatre Festival fundraiser

Some people nowadays have home theaters with TV screens, projectors and all sorts of high-tech accoutrements, but Rachelle and Scott Adler actually have a theater in their Los Angeles home — an appropriate setting for the March 27 fundraiser for the California International Theatre Festival.

“I can’t believe I’m on a stage,” said Michele Lee, the Tony- and Emmy-nominated actress who sang for 50 festival supporters relaxing on the room’s sofas. Lee will also be performing as part of the 10-day event, which will take place July 16 to 25 in Calabasas.

Festival director Linda Purl said she looks for a “buffet of shows — something for the family, something intellectual and something fun,” and this year is offering productions from Israel, China, Canada and the U.S.

“Our mission is to cultivate cross-cultural understanding,” Purl said. “We want to get a flavor for the collective consciousness through the theater arts.”

Purl not only has acted on stage, but she also grew up on television, playing, among other roles, Richie Cunningham’s girlfriend and then Fonzie’s fiancée on “Happy Days,” Andy Griffith’s daughter on “Matlock” and now Helene Beesly, a grandmother in “The Office.”

Guests mingled before the performance, among them Melinda and Leo Bunnin, Ezra Cohen, Sandy Smith, Dr. Stanley Frileck, Lynn Marks, Art and Adrienne Stone and Israeli cultural attaché Lior Sasson. Laurie and Bob Glenn, Dr. Steven Brourman and Greg Scott served as event co-chairs.

In welcoming guests, Scott Adler — an attorney and real estate developer — called theater an endangered species and, noting the festival’s locale, suggested that everyone “buy a passport and drive to Calabasas. See the shows. It’s unlike any experience you will have.”

L.A. Phil Gala luncheon

Is it time to start anticipating the fall social season?

Perhaps so for the L.A. Philharmonic Gala committee, which got together on March 25 for a luncheon and fashion show at Valentino in Beverly Hills. The order of the day? Start thinking about the Phil’s season-opening soiree at Disney Hall.

“Today you might find something you love for the gala,” said Carla Sands, as the parade of evening gowns and cocktail party confections began. Sands and Carolyn Powers co-chaired the luncheon, where talk soon turned to the Oct. 7 affair.

Sands called the upcoming gala “one of the cultural and social must-do events in Los Angeles — a hot, hot night.” Powers added, “It’s always a sell-out. Every single seat gets filled. People come from everywhere — New York, Europe, South America.” This year’s opening concert will feature tenor Juan Diego Florez.

Kathy Davoudi-Gohari, Valentino’s regional manager, donated a portion of the day’s sales to the L.A. Philharmonic’s education initiatives. Spotted were Lynn Booth, Lenore Greenberg, Joan Hotchkis, Ginny Mancini, Wendy Stark, Jenny Jones, Mary Milner, Annette O’Malley, Joyce Kresa, Linda May, Nancy Sanders, Susan Niven and Lauren King.

ellen.olivier@society-news.com


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