Society / Featured Parties

The Gordy Turns Into a Theatrical and Broadway Dreamland to Honor Stages’ Influential Retiring Artistic Director

Saying Goodbye and Thanks to Kenn McLaughlin With Show-Stopping Style

BY // 04.16.24

At least for one night, Stages’ loss was the gain for a select few who gathered at The Gordy to celebrate the brilliant career of the theater’s retiring artistic director Kenn McLaughlin. For the night was filled with theatrical glamour and Broadway quality entertainment.

What a treat it was for the merry throng that gathered in the Sterling Theatre before dinner for a musical salute to the man who shared his talent with Stages audiences for 23 years.

Past actors performed songs from Thunder Knocking on the Door, Once on This Island, Godspell, Mack and Mabel, Grey Gardens, The Fantasticks, Road Show, and Sunday in the Park with George.

Cochairs Jim Nicklos, George C. Lancaster, Kay Bruce, Cabrina and Steven Owsley
Co-chairs Jim Nicklos, George Lancaster, Kay Bruce, Cabrina & Steven Owsley at Stages’ Gala at The Gordy. (Photo by Jacob Power)

“Under his visionary leadership, Stages has produced more than 100 productions, including record-breaking hits and pivotal world and U.S. premieres,” notes George C. Lancaster, Stages president and chair emeritus. “We are truly grateful to Kenn for everything he has done, and we look forward to entering into an ambitious new future at Stages.”

That future was assured by the $1.2 million in proceeds earned by the colorful evening. And colorful it was as the decorative scheme and the dress theme were fuchsia. Rebekah Johnson of Bergner & Johnson waved her magic wand across a party tent on The Gordy lawn transforming the clear canvas tableau into a fuchsia paradise.

Auction Co-Chair Libby Cagle Taft, Kenn McLaughlin, Auction Co-Chair Lucas Somoza, Honorary Co-Chairs Becca Cason Thrash and John Thrash
Auction Co-Chair Libby Cagle Taft, Kenn McLaughlin, Auction Co-Chair Lucas Somoza, Honorary Co-Chairs Becca Cason Thrash& John Thrash at Stages’ Gala at The Gordy. (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)

A standing ovation, please, for chairs Lancaster, Kay Bruce, Judy and Jim Nicklos, Cabrina and Steven Owsley and honorary co-chairs Sally and Philip Edmundson, Glenda and Russell Gordy and Becca Cason Thrash and John Thrash.

Introducing Pêche

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Cason Thrash, now calling Paris home, and Paris/Houston bon vivant Lucas Somoza arranged a spectacular Paris trip for the live auction, one which added generously to the bottom line. Somoza and Libby Cagle Taft chaired the auction. Proceeds will contribute to the life of the theater that produces approximately 12 productions annually, totaling more than 430 performances overall and drawing more than 75,000 visitors per season.

Christopher Mitchell, Myrtle Jones, Glenda and Russell Gordy
Christopher Mitchell, Myrtle Jones, Glenda & Russell Gordy at Stages’ Gala at The Gordy. (Photo by Priscilla Dickson)

Jackson & Company provided the scrumptious dinner for the evening that concluded with dancing to the sounds of DJ Mohawk.

PC Seen: Stages interim managing director David Schmitz, Stages associate artistic directors Eboni Bell Darcy and Mitchell Greco, Gayle and Lloyd Bentsen, John Ryan Bentsen, Alicia and Garrett Gordy, Myrtle Jones, Christopher Mitchell, Lauren Taft, Tye Taft, Patsy Fourticq, Gail Rubin, and Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin.

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