Society / Featured Parties

TUTS Rocks the Houston Stage With a Broadway Star Teaming Up With Students For an Unforgettable Show

This $720,000-Plus Night Has Energy to Spare

BY // 11.28.23
photography Photo by David Power

What: Theatre Under the Stars “Lights Up” gala

Where: The Post Oak Hotel

PC Moment: Chaired by Zane and Brady Carruth, the evening showcased the amazing talents of TUTS education students, who performed throughout the dinner. Still, the highlight of the night came from headline entertainer André de Shields, who holds Tony, Grammy and Emmy awards for his varied roles. Before being joined by the students, de Shields serenaded cabaret style with melodies including “Let The Good Times Roll,” “Boogie Rap” and “Baby Whatcha Want Me.”

The event, which raised more than $720,000, honored Amy and Rob Pierce, who have been loyal supporters of TUTS for nearly two decades.

Andre De Shields and TUTS Education Students – Photo – David Power (Photo by Photo by David Power)
Broadway star André de Shields leads TUTS education students in a grand finale presentation at the annual TUTS gala. (Photo by Photo by David Power)

“I’m so proud of the caliber that we produce on the stage, but it’s what we do beyond the stage — Tommy Tune Awards, The River, HSMT — that are key parts of our mission and something we need to continue to foster,” Amy Pierce told the gathering.

Heading the program, emceed by KPRC Channel 2 chief meteorologist Frank Billingsley, were TUTS executive director Hillary Hart and TUTS artistic director Dan Knechtges.

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The event closed with De Shields performing with TUTS education students on four numbers. That included a moving rendition of “Stand By Me/Lift Every Voice” and closing out with “Believe in Yourself.” The performance showcased students of all abilities which is a core value of TUTS.

As Zane Carruth reminded attendees: “There’s a space for everyone at TUTS. Everyone is available and everyone has something to share and to gain and to give.”

Britany _ Adam Clark join some their After Party Guests – Photog – David Power (Photo by Photo by David Power)
TUTS after party guests at the Theatre Under the Stars ‘Lights Up’ gala. (Photo by Photo by David Power)

The night did not end there. Brittany Clark and Cynthia Wolff chaired the after party that found the dance floor packed as a DJ spun popular dance tunes.

PC Seen: Auction chair Dana Barton, Adam Clark, Demetra and Frank Jones, Margaret Alkek Williams, Allison and Troy Thacker, Kristina Somerville, Patricia and Sig Cornelius, Roxann Neumann, Rose Cullen, Nancy Ames and Danny Ward, Alexandra and Jim Marshall, Shelly and Jerome Mulanax, and Cathy and Bob Binstock.

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