Houston’s Stages Returns to its New Showcase Theater for Red Carpet Fun and New Plays
The Show Will Finally Go OnBY Shelby Hodge // 05.18.21
Stages patrons and fans sit down for dinner during the Gala at The Gordy where red carpet arrivals and a Wolfgang Puck dinner simulate an awards evening. (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Stages artistic director Kenn McLaughlin, gala chairs Cabrina & Steven Owsley (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Glenda & Russell Gordy (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Ralph Burch & Vicki West (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Tara Simon, George Lancaster, Mauri Oliver (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Isla & T.R. Reckling, Carroll Goodman and John Wessels (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Philip & Sally Edmundson, Jim & Judy Nicklos (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Mrytle Jones, Candice Penelton (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Charles & Kerry Walker (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
William Finnorn, Cabe Miller (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Alan Ellahham, Thomas Strong (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Kalinda Campbell, Sledge Leonidas (Photo by Quy Tran)
Leisa Holland-Nelson & Bob Bowman (Photo by Quy Tran)
Alicia & Garrett Gordy (Photo by Quy Tran)
Brandon McClendon, Ashley Jackson, Chase Brooks (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Denise Fennell, Teresa Zimmerman (Photo by Quy Tran)
Erica Noll, Mike Cardigan (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Russell & Jody Radoff, Bunny Radoff, Brad Radoff (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Mark Folkes & Christopher Johnston (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)
Stages has had much to celebrate in recent weeks — the return of the gala, rescheduled from January, and the impending return of performances to the theater. Both developments were cause for jubilation when a well-heeled socially-distanced throng partied through The Gordy on an evening that raised $670,000.
Opening of The Gordy, the $35.4 million new home of the repertory theater, was celebrated at the January 2020 gala and, as we all know, the stage went dark in March of that year. Thus, it was with exuberance that patrons and fans of Stages returned to the theater for a night of walking the red carpet, plus wining, and dining from the kitchen of Wolfgang Puck catering.
Less than two weeks following the gala, Stages announced the return of live in-theater performances beginning June 18 with Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,a play that explores the life and legacy of Billie Holiday. Limited in-person tickets are available for the month-long production, along with the unlimited option to live stream the show virtually at home.
Those attending the “Gala at The Gordy” experienced a red carpet welcome as fan favorite Denise Fennell interviewed arrivals as if it were the Academy Awards, the interviews broadcast on screens throughout the theater. Cameo appearances included Glenda and Russell Gordy, Stages Board Chairman Emeritus George Lancaster, Stages Board member Myrtle Jones, Sandra Porter and others.
Gala chairs Cabrina and Steven Owsley and underwriting chairs Vicki West and Ralph Burch contributed mightily to the event’s success. Further, the Owsleys had the honor of unveiling the Owsley History Wall, a video montage of stages milestones over the years.
In a video presentation that included highlights from the Stages Studio Sessions series, theater artistic director Kenn McLaughlin awarded Kay Brazelton Bruce with the Theodore Award for Visionary Leadership.
What firm more appropriate to cater the red carpet-themed evening than that of the Houston outpost of Wolfgang Puck? In true awards evening style, the menu included the signature Wolfgang Puck chinos salad with candied cashews and crispy wontons; cucumber and lettuce soup with horseradish croutons; flat iron chicken and shrimp skewer with sautéed lemon-charred broccolini, carrot-ginger puree and duck fat fried rice; and for dessert key lime pie with lemon tuille and meringue zest and espresso tiramisu with cocoa nibs and hazelnuts for dessert.
The night concluded with a cocktail hour on the Brown Foundation Lawn
PC Seen: Auction chairs Jo Dee and Cliff Wright; auction committee members Stacy Feltham, April Lykos and Michelle Matzer; plus Isla and Tommy Reckling, Nancy Allen, Sally and Philip Edmundson, Kelli and Eddy Blanton, Kalinda Campbell, Sally and Philip Edmundson, Alicia and Garrett Gordy, Mady and Ken Kades, Tara Simon, Lauren and Bob Hagerich, Jo and Jim Furr, and Mark Folkes and Christopher Johnson.