Society / Featured Parties

Broadway Star Brings Students on Stage in Unforgettable $1.37 Million Houston Night

Idina Menzel Turns Kids Into Stars

BY // 03.28.19

With the powerful vocal chords of Broadway star Idina Menzel in play and the vocal prowess of Theatre Under the Stars’ youthful talents, TUTS 50th anniversary gala soared on so many levels, not the least of which was the record $1.37 million in proceeds.

Social media was awash in praise for the black-tie evening that rocked the Post Oak Hotel ballroom as the more than 600 guests quickly fell into the musical groove. An example, fashion designer David Peck noted on Facebook, it was “one of the best galas Houston has seen. It was everything that theater is supposed to be: spontaneous, exciting, inclusive, and a showcase of impressive talent.”

“When I looked around as former and current students of the Humphreys School for Musical Theatre and students from The River Performing and Visual Arts Center performed ‘Seasons of Love‘ and saw many in the crowd in tears, I knew that we were in the middle of a special evening,” co-chair Leticia Trauber tells PaperCity. “The crowd jumped to their feet at the end of the performance and then kept up the energy through Paddles Up and the live auction.”

Trauber and her husband Steve Trauber chaired the wildly successful gala along with Cheryl and Louis Raspino with the ladies giving a nod to the honorees — past chairs and presidents of the TUTS board from 1968. Honorees among the high-energy clutch were Greg Harper, Reed Wood, Dennis Irvine, Cissy Segal Davis, David Taylor, Steve Trauber, Amy Pierce, Steve Burkett, and current chair Randy Stilley.

The party played out in a stellar “supper club under the stars” setting created by Taylor DeMartino of Blooming Gallery. Menzel added her own glam notes to the surroundings not only rocking the night with popular tunes from her Broadway career but also inviting members of the audience and the TUTS youths to join her on stage for the evening finale, “Let It Go.” Once again, those touched by the youngsters singing their hearts out were moved to tears.

But it was a night for celebrating and when Mayor Sylvester Turner raised a champagne glass in honor of TUTS. Then the Georgia Bridgwater Orchestra ginned up the sound track first with “Happy Birthday” then with tunes that kept the dance floor packed until late in the evening.

“TUTS is a special organization that is near and dear to our hearts,” Leticia Trauber adds. “Steve and I have been involved in TUTS for over 20 years. We wanted this evening to not only celebrate TUTS 50 years in our community but also to highlight the things that set TUTS apart from other performing arts organizations; education and inclusion.”

PC Seen: Roxann and Tim Neumann, Michelle Phillips and David Peck, Sofia Adrogué, Margaret Alkek Williams, Regina and John Magnum, Amy and Rob Pierce, Beth and Greg Looser, Lisa Foronda Harper, Jane and Dean Gladden, Patricia and Sig Cornelius, Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Rita and Paul Morico, Drs. Ishwaria and Vivek Subbiah, June Deadrick,  Jay Landa and Daniel Turner. 

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