The Crowd: Cue the spotlight for SCR namesakes

It is a very special week for South Coast Repertory.

On Wednesday, the complex was renamed the David Emmes and Martin Benson Theatre Center. Previously, the SCR complex had taken the name of Paul Folino, former board president and honorary trustee, whose $10-million gift in 2002 was honored with the renaming of SCR the Folino Theatre Center.

Last fall, on the occasion of the 50th-anniversary gala season opening ball for SCR, Folino generously told the patrons gathered for the celebration that his gift in honor of the 50th anniversary was to rename the center and recognize its founders, Emmes and Benson. At dusk Wednesday, outside the theater complex, loyal SCR devotees gathered for the official unveiling of the name change, followed by a champagne reception held in the SCR lobby.

In other SCR news, "The Light in the Piazza," winner of six Tony Awards, will debut on the Segerstrom Stage on Jan. 31. The musical, book by Craig Lucas, will be produced as part of the 50th season at SCR. Lucas has produced five of his own plays at the Orange County theatrical complex over the past five years.

The "Piazza" score is by Adam Guettel, the grandson of composer Richard Rodgers. Honorary producers of the production are Joan and Andy Fimiano and Laurie Smits Staude, along with corporate honorary producer Haskell & White LLP. For more information and tickets, go to


'Dancing for Tomorrow's Stars' returns

The Assistance League of Newport-Mesa will present the seventh annual "Dancing for Tomorrow's Stars" fundraising gala March 29. The Grove of Anaheim will once again be the setting for the performance show, which will be produced by honorary chair Stephanie Argyros.

The evening will feature a served dinner along with the dancing competition, which pairs community leaders with professional ballroom dancers in a format similar to that of the popular ABC television production "Dancing with the Stars." As of this publication date, local celebrities signed up to dance include Marisa Wayne, Lisa Heil, Lauren Kear and Brad Davidson.

This week on the coast, Newport Beach jeweler Black, Starr & Frost hosted a cocktail reception in the store to announce the upcoming dancing show. Donors mingled with cast and crew Thursday evening to set the wheels of production in motion.


SCP retailers help homeless

Each year, the impressive roster of international retailers that makes up the South Coast Plaza family gets together at holiday time to do something for the less fortunate in the community. Organized by South Coast Plaza executives David Grant and Debra Gunn Downing, the retail community donated $8,500 to one of the OC's most worthwhile nonprofits, Serving People In Need (SPIN), led by executive director Jean Wegener.

Accepting the gift on behalf of SPIN — a charity celebrating 25 years of placing individuals and families in transitional housing in Orange County and offering them a broad selection of services — were director of development Kim Frazier and dedicated SPIN board member Mary Lou Shattuck.


A $100,000 grant for KidWorks

This week, NBCUniversal and NBC Southern California will come to Orange County with a check for $100,000 made out to KidWorks Santa Ana, one of only three local organizations selected in Southern California out of more than 200 applicants seeking nonprofit support.

KidWorks Santa Ana's composting program was chosen because of its innovation and results in the local community in terms of environment, education, civic engagement and economic empowerment. The composting program is organized by the KidWorks staff, led by educator and attorney Ava Steaffens, KidWorks President Al Nederhood and development executive Claudia Soto-Neira, along with an extended staff of dedicated volunteers and teachers headquartered at the Dan Donahue Center, named for the late Newport Beach developer and his family.

The generous award was presented to KidWorks by Terri Hernandez Rosales, NBC4 vice president of community affairs.


Ducks bet on children's future

The Anaheim Ducks have captured national attention as a leading hockey team, and over the holidays, the players who have heated up the ice rallied the community on behalf of the Orangewood Children's Foundation.

The 2013 Anaheim Ducks Casino Night took place Dec. 13 in the Servite High School gymnasium, and it was appropriately billed as "high school prom." Organizers requested those in attendance to dress in high school prom formal attire from the decade of their choice.

Some 475 guests showed up in a wild variety of tuxedos and prom dresses for the party led by Kimberly Kirksey, a member of Orangewood's 44 Women for Children auxiliary. The title sponsors of the evening were Bill and Jenny Klein, attending with daughter Whitney Klein and her date, Brian Keene, and the Kleins' son Billy with his wife, Nicole.

The evening was capped in appropriate prom style as Ducks player Corey Perry joined chair Kirksey as prom king and queen, voted on by all in attendance. In the crowd were Ducks owners and Newport residents Henry and Susan Samueli along with a wide roster of Ducks players, including team captain Ryan Getzlaf.

THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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