SCR Donors, Board Share the Love
South Coast Repertory concludes its 40th season this year with a perfect record of running in the black, unheard of in the world of performing arts. The Costa Mesa-based theatrical company founded by David Emmes and Martin Benson has earned a stellar reputation for its productions and for its relationship with the Orange County community. “We will end our fiscal year August 31 with a balanced budget,” said Tim Weiss, chairman of the SCR’s board of trustees. “The successful conclusion of ’The Next Stage Campaign’ has paid off the entire Folino Theater Center expansion, [which was] completed last year, and our pledges will fund an endowment of over $20 million.”
The impressive status of SCR, both creatively and fiscally, belongs to a long-standing community bond established by Emmes and Benson. The torch has been passed from one community leader to another. As Weiss steps down as SCR board chair, N. Christian Anderson III steps in. For Anderson, the affiliation is more than just community service. It is very much a family commitment. Aletha Anderson, wife of the new board chair — who is also the publisher and chief executive of the Orange County Register — will lead the charge for the upcoming 2004 SCR gala, a major fundraiser for the theatrical organization.
Aletha and Chris Anderson welcomed SCR patrons and board members to a glorious summer evening gathering at the residence of hosts and benefactors Sue and Ralph Stern of Newport Beach. The sunset cocktail reception and dinner at the Stern home was an elegant prelude to the Sept. 11 SCR gala, being called “Playing to a Muse.”
The beautiful Sue Stern, attired in a sleek silver-gray chemise over pants, bussed her guests upon arrival as enthusiastic servers from Corona del Mar’s Urban Bake passed out wonderful hors d’oeuvres to the summer party crowd, which was spilling outside onto the terrace and taking in the intoxicating air of the coastal canyon. Sue Stern joined Aletha Anderson, thanking the assemblage for their financial commitment.
“The gala represents the first in the upcoming season and one of the most important gifts to SCR’s annual fund,” Anderson reminded the dinner crowd.
Organizers led by Anderson hope to raise in excess of $400,000 from the gala. Committee members include: Dee Higby, Pat Neisser, Kitty Schuler, Nancy Wall and Elaine Weinberg. Also very much involved are Dori Caillouette, Donna Phelps, Teri Kennady, Betty Eu Huang, Marlene Hamontree, Bette Aitken, Mary Carrington and Julianne Argyros, for whom one of the new stages at the Folino Center is named.
The ongoing love affair was certainly evident at the patrons party as guests shared dinner on the Stern terrace and recounted years of SCR bonding. Loyalists sampling summer salads and sipping chilled Chardonnay were Bobbie and Jerry Dauderman, Linda and Robert Hovee, Gail and Roger Kirwan, Elizabeth and John Stahr, and Mary Munday and Richard Pedranti, who are soon to be wed.
The Stern affair was indeed a prelude to “Playing to a Muse.” The Judy Chamberlain Trio, fronted by jazz vocalist Chamberlain, was a superb focal point of the evening. Chamberlain, formerly recognized in O.C. as a food columnist and lifestyle writer, has followed her heart and reinvented her persona around a love of music. Her talent has flourished over several years of serious practice and performance. Consequently, Chamberlain, with a voice that is fine and mellow, phrasing that is sublime and energy that is contagious, turned the Stern living room into a salon of jazz. The crowd was enthralled, many remaining after the party concluded, requesting jazz favorites from the singer and her talented musicians.
It was a special evening on the Orange Coast, orchestrated by generous hosts, dedicated volunteers and donors and one talented jazz singer, all to benefit South Coast Repertory.
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