Houston’s Own Dreamgirl: Millionaire Philanthropist Celebrated in Broadway Style by Theater StarsBY Shelby Hodge // 03.29.17
Margaret Alkek Williams, Paul-David Van Atta, Amy Pierce
Faith & Lee Majors
Sarabeth Melton, Pierce Bush, Sofia Adrogue
Leticia & Steve Trauber will join Cheryl and Louis Raspino as chairs of the TUTS 50th anniversary gala.
Austin & Marian Cornelius
Phoebe Tudor, John Nau, Roxanne Neuman
Co-chairs Becky & Bart McAndrews
Britta & Kendall Hollrah
Cal & Connie Dalton
Nell Frances Connally & Doug Dawson
Every Houston non-profit’s best friend, Margaret Alkek Williams glowed Saturday night under the stage lights of the Hobby Center, her purple beaded gown shimmering with an intensity that could be matched only by her well-known generosity. The focus of her largesse on this evening was Theater Under the Stars, which honored the philanthropic powerhouse for her influence across the city’s cultural landscape.
The petite benefactress’ sparkling gown was a nod to the TUTS gala theme, “One Night Only,” a riff on the theater’s production of Dreamgirls, which runs April 4 through 16. In keeping with the theme, Williams was declared Houston’s very own “Dreamgirl” by more than one speaker.
Praise came not only from gala co-chairs Becky (in a beaded gown) and Bart McAndrews, TUTS board chair Amy Pierce (in beaded gown) and TUTS new executive director Hillary J. Hart but also from Sheryl Lee Ralph, who wore her share of beaded frocks when starring in the original Dreamgirls production on Broadway. She recorded her congratulations that very afternoon, only moments before taking the matinee stage for Broadway’s Wicked. She too declared Williams a Dreamgirl and noted that Houston was lucky to have her.
Guests were invited to dress in Dreamgirl fashion, which many did, creating a sparkling tableau ruled by sequins, beading and the occasional feathered boa. Few did it better than co-chair Paul-David Van Atta, who copped a golden sequined and beaded jacket for the evening from the TUTs prop room. Even tablecloths on the stage of Sarofim Theater, where dinner was served, were dressed in sequins, at least those that were not dressed in cloths of purple rosettes. In fact, there was so much purple, it could have been a Prince salute. Dinner plate chargers, flowers and lighting all reflected the honoree’s penchant for purple. The sumptuous decor was compliments of The Perfect Touch.
On stage, after-dinner entertainment featured the cast of TUTS’ Dreamgirls performing several songs from the musical. Energized by the riveting performance and the spectacular dinner from Barbara McKnight‘s Culinaire, guests moved from the stage back to the Hobby Center’s grand foyer for a rollicking after party chaired by David Peck and Hector Villarreal. The Richard Brown Orchestra rocked the late-night happening that included dancing and nibbling on a vast array of desserts.
Applause, applause for the evening that raised close to $700,000.
Getting their Dreamgirl on: Rob Pierce, Leticia and Steve Trauber, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, John Nau, Sarabeth Morgan and Pierce Bush, Roxanne and Tim Neuman, Faith and Lee Majors, Janiece Longoria and Steve Lasher, Deborah Duncan, Penny and Paul Loyd, Sofia Adrogué and Sten Gustafson, Ileana and Michael Trevino, and Sixton Wagon.