Society / Featured Parties

Love Notes From a Hollywood Star and a Broadway Force Bring Lynn Wyatt to Tears

This Star-Studded $1.2 Million Alley Ball is a Tribute to a Houston Original

BY // 05.02.18
photography Priscilla Dickson

Love notes from Bette Midler and Rénee Fleming, Shakespearean sonnets and a first-time award were nearly too much for international social diva and cultivated grande dame Lynn Wyatt, as she was brought to momentary tears by the heartfelt accolades bestowed on her during the Alley Theatre Ball.

“Tonight, you have chosen to honor one of the rarest birds on the planet — the beautiful, hilarious, life-affirming and unbelievably generous Lynn Wyatt. There is simply no one like her.” The letter from Midler was read by Alley resident artist Melissa Pritchett. “Here’s to not just the socialite of the century but to the heart of Houston.”

Those words combined with Fleming’s video message of enduring friendship and admiration and announcement that Wyatt would receive the premier Nina Vance Visionary in Arts Award clearly touched Wyatt. Once the emotions were under control, she told the gathering at the Post Oak Hotel, “I’m speechless but not for long. I’m overjoyed. I’m overcome. I am over the moon.

“However, I want you to think of this celebration not as an honor to me but as a love letter to the Alley Theatre. Over these years, I’ve been thrilled to observe how the Alley has become one of envy of other theaters.Thank you, Gregory Boyd and thank you Dean Gladden, she said. “The soul of any city is the quality of its arts . . . You have truly touched my heart.”

As a special tribute to Wyatt, Alley Resident Company members Elizabeth Bunch, Todd Waite and Jay Sullivan presented the brief sonnets, rewritten to reflect the evening’s salute to the theater’s longtime member of the executive board.

In a nod to the theater’s upcoming production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, the ballroom and reception area, contemplating the “Picasso and the Avant-Garde” theme, reverberated with French accents. Richard Flowers and The Events Company lined the walls with oversized reproductions of Picasso paintings and in a few, sly visual references were made to Alley productions with logos from Dracula, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, LBJ and more.

Throughout the reception and dinner hour, chanteuse Sharon Montgomery and her keyboardist presented lilting French songs and melodies. With the high spirits of the 500-plus guests, the $22.8 million Hurricane Harvey damage seemed a distant memory, though the theater is still trying to recover financially from the devastation. Thus, it was happy news for chairs Sarah Morgan and Oscar Brown of Occidental Petroleum that proceeds were approaching $1.2 million.

Ticket holders: Alley managing director Dean Gladden and wife Jane, Alley board president Butch Mach and wife Carmen, Oscar Wyatt, Cathy and Jesse Marion, Mervin and Trey Wyatt in from Aruba, Steve Wyatt and Joyce EcholsSusie and Sanford Criner, Francoise and Ed Djerejian, Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel, Tara and David WuthrichMady and Ken Kades, Leigh and Reggie Smith, Beth Madison and Stephanie and Ernie Cockrell.

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