Society / Featured Parties

Broadway Star Power Opens Houston’s New $35 Million Theater Complex With Serious Pizzazz

A Song and Dance Show Like No Other

BY // 01.22.20

So jazzed were guests by the Broadway entertainment that launched Stages new home at The Gordy, that more than a few tap danced their way from the Sterling Stage to the industrial chic lobby where dinner was about to be served. Later, they were disco dancing on the Lester and Sue Smith Stage and swooning to piano tunes on the Rochelle and Max Levit Stage.

Yes, it was a rocking night that celebrated the opening of the $35 million theater complex, tucked on a quiet street on the edge of River Oaks. More than 230 patrons, sporting black-tie finery, flocked in for a first look at the impressive space that on this night proved as adept at hosting a party as perfectly-suited for theatrical presentations.

In the Sterling Stage, guests were wowed by powerful singer Alysha Umphress, tap master Joseph C. Wiggan, and dreamy Tony Award-winner Tony Yazbeck, singer, dancer and actor. While some were disappointed that Chita Rivera had to cancel only one week before the opening night gala due to illness, this trio more than made up for her absence. (In haste, Stages board chairman George Lancaster had tasked his friend, Frank DiLella of New York, with filling in the talent.) The result was spectacular with many in the audience asking for a redux. Applause, applause.

Applause were also in order for gala chairs Isla and Tommy Reckling III, auction chairs Trish and Rock Morille, and underwriting chairs Glenda and Russell Gordy, whose $5 million matching gift was instrumental in fulfilling the campaign to complete Stages’ new home. The mahvelous evening raised a record-breaking amount of more than $750,000.

Kudos to Jackson & Company, which during the performance transformed the foyer into a grand dining room decorated for the party by Bergner & Johnson.

As is tradition with Stages fundraisers, the bathrooms were stocked with costume props, which meant that before the second round of the four-course dinner was served, guests began appearing at tables in tiaras, whacky jackets, feather boas, capes and at least one moose head. Too much fun!

PC Seen: Mady and Ken Kades, Louisa Sarofim, Ed Eubanks, Sally and Philip Edmundson, Susie and Mel Glasscock, Beth Robertson, Sue Smith, Cullen Geiselman, Sandra Porter, Cabrina and Steven Owsley, Limor and Stuart Smith, Carroll Goodman and John Wessels, C.C. and Duke Ensell, Vicki West and Ralph Burch, Jo Dee and Cliff Wright, Nancy Allen, Jo and Jim Furr, and Stages artistic director Kenn McLaughlin, managing director Mark Folkes, and development and communications director Lise Bohn.

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