Society / Featured Parties

With Major Buzz Surrounding its Soon-to-Open Gordy Theater, Stages Kicks Off Its Season in Merry Way

River Oaks Shopping and Beloved Food Truck Add More Happy Drama

BY // 10.12.19
photography Emile C. Browne

Only days before opening night and two and a half months before hitting the lights at The Gordy, Stages Repertory Theatre launched its season with a swell night, the annual “Fall Kickoff,” at J. McLaughlin in River Oaks Shopping Center.

With fall merchandise as an added lure, supporters poured in and to their delight Armandos’ signature bright red food truck was parked out front, guaranteeing that this party food would for sure be tasty. And, of course, there were margaritas that inspired not only good spirits but also avid shopping the fab fall fashions.

So important is this event that a trio of corporate execs joined the party — Josh Bell, VP of operations; Blair Beal, director of corporate visual strategy and presentation; and Olivia Willcox, manager of retail marketing & events.

Welcoming guests was J. McLaughlin store manager Kim Stern, district manager Jana Brousseau and Tyler May, formerly of Houston now district manager for the New York metro area. With a percentage of sales once again benefiting Stages, the tempting merchandise seemed to be flying out the door.

We caught up with Stages board chair George Lancaster and veteran actor Sally Edmundson, neither of whom could say enough about the anticipated January opening of Stages new home at 800 Rosine. Edmundson, who has been with the theater since its inception, opened Thursday in the last drama to be performed at 3201 Allen Parkway and will appear in the second show in the new building in January. She swooned over the prospect.

“It’s unbelievable,” she tells PaperCity. “I was just fitted for a wig in the wig room. Can you imagine? A wig room!”

Add to that a costume shop, prop department, set design shop and ultra-modern offices. Lancaster allowed that the Stages staff moved in three weeks ago, even as construction continues on the new theaters.

“Touring our new facility, people are not going to believe that this is Stages. It is spectacular,” Lancaster enthuses. “I’m talking  back of the house. Front of the house is equally good. But it’s extremely intimate.

“It’s a feel good when you walk in. We’re actually getting closer to the audience. We were seven rows away, now four is the max . . . No one has ever seen theater that powerful in a space this connected to the audience. It’s going to be pretty amazing.”

All that and still time to shop.

PC Seen: Stages artistic director Kenn McLaughlin (no relation to the store), managing director Mark Folkes, Jo and Jim Furr, Laurann Claridge, Sandra Porter, Judy and Jim Nicklos, Monica Bickers, Meredith Chastang, Kristi and Martin Gollwitzer, Michele Ramsey, Leila Perrin, Cherri Carbonara, Lauren Fisher and Christopher Johnston.

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