Broadway pianist and raconteur Seth Rudetsky
HAA CEO John Abodeely, gala chair Ashley Smither Langley both in Rene Garza's designs for Magpies & Peacocks
HAA chair Philamena Baird, honorees Ginni & Richard Mithoff
Designs by Magpies & Peacocks
Honorary chairs Karen & Roland Garcia
Houston Ballet's Lauren Anderson and friend
Nicola Parente, Tami Merrick
Reggie & Lee Smith
Melanie Lawson, John Guess Jr.
Phoebe & Bobby Tudor
Mayor Sylvester Turner
Broadway singer and vocal impressionist Christine Pedi
Sarah-Jayne Smith, Rene Garza, Ahshia Berry, Selven O'Keef Jarmon, Catherine Anspon
Deborah Colton, Debbie McNulty, Minnette Boesel
Seth Rudetsky, Christine Pedi
The city’s rich artistic tapestry was gloriously spotlighted when the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) entertained more than 350 supporters, many artists among them on this evening dubbed “An Intimate Evening on Broadway.” While local artists were saluted, it was two stars from the Great White Way that generated a dinner theater ambience in the Hotel ZaZa ballroom.
Pianist Seth Rudetsky, in his rapid-fire monologue, humorously deconstructed classic musical numbers such as Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and the Osmond Brothers’ “Fiddler on the Roof.” Next, actress, singer and vocal impressionist Christine Pedi wrapped her vocal chords around impressions that included Ethel Meerman, Liza Minnelli, Eartha Kitt and Patti Lupone.
Before the highly-charged entertainment, partygoers were treated to an array of artwork from featured artists and grantees — Tami Merrick and Nicola Parente and Magpies & Peacocks artist in residence Rene Garza. Gala chair Ashley Smither Langley wore one of the zero waste, avant garde gowns that Garza debuted at London Fashion Week. Models perched on boxes wore gowns from the collection, while other designs were draped on mannequins. Houston Arts Alliance CEO John Abodeely wore a playful (painted in armadillos) dinner jacket made specially for him by the design house. Merric and Parente were spotlighted for their Color Bursting Hermann Park, the creative place-making of live oaks swathed in vividly-colored, woven tree skirts.
Part of the fun of this evening is mixing with art world figures of all levels of accomplishment such as installation artist Chaney Trotter in from New York to join her parents, Mary and John Eads; gallerists Barbara Davis, Deborah Colton and Meg Poissant (candidate for the Court of Appeals); leading Houston artists Selven O’Keef Jarmon, Justin Garcia, Angela Fabbri; and a covey of artists who work out of Silver Street Studios — Mariana Sammartino, Falentina Atkinon, Luisa Duarta, Suzette Schutze and Gretchen Sparks.
The evening, for which Karen and Roland Garcia served as honorary chairs, saluted community leaders and philanthropists Ginni and Richard Mithoff.
Headliners: Mayor Sylvester Turner, HAA chair Philamena Baird, Magpies & Peacocks founders Sarah-Jayne Smith and Ahshia Berry, Art League director Jennie Ash, Houston Ballet’s Lauren Anderson and C.C. Connor, Houston Grand Opera’s Perryn Leech, Society for the Performing Arts’ June Christensen, Tatiana and Craig Massey, Leigh and Reggie Smith, Doreen and Frank Herzog, Duyen and Marc Nguyen, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Melanie Lawson and John Guess Jr., Anita and David Garten and Curry Glassell.