Photo Flash: First Look at Westport Country Playhouse's 2016 Gala

Actor Richard Thomas will host Westport Country Playhouse's 2016 Gala "The Night They Invented Champagne: Celebrating Lerner & Loewe" on Monday evening, September 19. Performing the music of the legendary Broadway composing team will be artists Britney Coleman, Kristen Hahn, Robert Sean Leonard, Stephen Mark Lukas, Howard McGillin, Ciara Renée, Mary Testa, Richard Troxell, Max von Essen, Nicholas Ward, and members of the New York Theatre Ballet. Gala Director is Chase Brock, with musical direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell.

Host Richard Thomas appeared in Westport Country Playhouse's "Critic's Choice," "Whose Life Is It Anyway?," and a Script in Hand playreading of "The Golden Age." Thomas won an Emmy Award for the television series, "The Waltons." He has continued to star in series, films, plays, and over 50 movies for television. His Broadway career began at age seven with 1958's "Sunrise at Campobello," and has continued with recent roles in "Race" and "Timon of Athens." He has appeared since 2013 in the FX series "The Americans."

The Gala theme will serve as a springboard for The Playhouse's October production of Lerner & Lowe's "Camelot," a freshly inventive take on the classic musical, directed by Mark Lamos, Playhouse artistic director. Performing a medley from the upcoming production will be three members of the "Camelot" cast: Britney Coleman, who plays Guenevere (WCP's "Sing for Your Shakespeare," "Into the Woods," Script in Hand playreading of "Flyin' West"; First National Tour of "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical"; regional theater's "Camelot"); Robert Sean Leonard, who portrays King Arthur (WCP's "Brighton Beach Memoirs"; Tony Award for "The Invention of Love"; Tony nominations for "Long Day's Journey Into Night" and "Candida"; film's "Dead Poets Society"; TV's "House"); and Stephen Mark Lukas, who plays Sir Lancelot (Broadway and National Tours of "The Book of Mormon"; Goodspeed's "Damn Yankees" - CT Critics Circle nom.; regional theater's "South Pacific").

Also performing on the Gala stage will be Kristen Hahn (WCP's "Our Town," Script in Hand playreadings of "Dracula" and "The Late Christopher Bean"; Broadway's "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder"); Howard McGillin (WCP's "The Fatal Weakness" and a reading of "The Greatest Gift; two-time Tony Award nominee for Broadway's "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" and "Anything Goes"); Ciara Renée (Broadway's "Big Fish," "Pippin," and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame); Mary Testa (WCP's "Jam & Spice: The Music of Kurt Weill"; two-time Tony Award nominee for Broadway revivals of "On the Town" and "42nd Street"); Richard Troxell ("Do I Hear a Waltz?," "Madame Butterfly," "Carmen"); Max von Essen (WCP's 2010 and 2011 Galas; 2015 Tony and Drama Desk nominations for "An American in Paris"); Nicholas Ward; and members of the New York Ballet Theatre. All subject to change.

Jill and Alex Dimitrief of Westport, CT, will receive the 2016 Playhouse Leadership Award during the Gala festivities. Involved with The Playhouse since 2007, the couple support the Woodward Internship Program and sponsor the LGBT Night Out series. Alex Dimitrief, Senior Vice President & General Counsel of GE, joined The Playhouse board of trustees in 2010. Jill Dimitrief has served as a longstanding Playhouse Gala committee member and assisted in the creation of the theater's education outreach.

Gala proceeds will benefit the non-profit, professional producing theater, now in its 86th season - its work on stage, with schools, and throughout the community.

A cocktail party will begin at 5:45 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. presentation of The Playhouse Leadership Award and 7:15 p.m. performance by Broadway friends in celebration of Lerner & Loewe. Dinner with the evening's artists and special guests will be at 8:30 p.m. A silent auction with mobile bidding will be on-going throughout the evening. Attire is festive; black tie optional, gold accents welcome.

The Gala Committee co-chairs are Ania Czekaj-Farber and Jake Robards. Karen Parrella is auction chair, with Patricia Goodrich, auction vice chair. Gala Committee members are Allison Allott, Jill Fitzburgh, Katia Friend, Carole Hochman, Liz Kaner, Anne Keefe, Darlene Krenz, Wynter Kullman. Paul A. Levin, Ali Marcus, Mary Ellen Marpe, Kristin McKinney, Laura Pendergast, Randi Perry, Judy Phares, Maria Portera, Fran Scharf , Tricia Schwartz, Carol Seldin, Lyn-Ann Smith, Lyla Steenbergen, Melissa Stemmer, Diana Sussman, Sheri Howie Valente, Marietta B. White, Donovan Wildgoose, Mindy Wolkstein, Elizabeth Marks Juviler, Aline O'Connor, and Samantha Goober.

Gala tickets range from $2,500 to $250. Benefactor level, at $2,500 per person, includes red carpet welcome, silent auction and cocktail party with special guests, highest priority seating at performance, post-performance dinner with the artists, and an invitation to an exclusive Benefactor Preview Party; Patron level, at $1,000 per person, includes red carpet welcome, silent auction and cocktail party with special guests, priority seating at performance, and post-performance dinner with the artists. A limited number of Supporter level tickets are available at $250 per person and include silent auction, cocktail party with special guests, and performance. Valet parking will be provided. All donations receive recognition in the evening's program and inclusion as a 2016 Gala donor in 2017 Season programs (at applicable giving levels).

For more Gala information or ticket purchases, contact Elizabeth Marks Juviler, director special events, at (203) 571-1293 or ejuviler@westportplayhouse.org.

Photo Credit: Steve Walter Photo

high res photos

Photo Flash: First Look at Westport Country Playhouse's 2016 Gala
Jill and Alex Dimitrief of Westport, receive the 2016 Playhouse Leadership Award from (at left) Barbara K. Streicker, chair of The Playhouse board of trustees.

Photo Flash: First Look at Westport Country Playhouse's 2016 Gala
Richard Thomas hosts Westport Country Playhouse's 2016 Gala 'The Night They Invented Champagne: Celebrating Lerner & Loew' on Monday evening, September 19.

Photo Flash: First Look at Westport Country Playhouse's 2016 Gala
Mary Testa, Ciara Rene, and Max von Essen sing 'The Night They Invented Champagne' from Lerner & Loewe's musical 'Gigi'

Photo Flash: First Look at Westport Country Playhouse's 2016 Gala
Kristen Hahn, originally from Weston, CT, sings 'I Could Have Danced All Night' from Lerner & Loewe's musical 'My Fair Lady'

Photo Flash: First Look at Westport Country Playhouse's 2016 Gala
Cast members from Westport Country Playhouse's upcoming production of Lerner & Loewe' Camelot sing a medley from the show. From left, Stephen Mark Lukas (Sir Lancelot), Robert Sean Leonard (King Arthur), and Britney Coleman (Guenevere).

Photo Flash: First Look at Westport Country Playhouse's 2016 Gala



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