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WaterTower Theatre Announced Details For 2018 Spring Gala

WaterTower Theatre announced today details of its 2018 Spring Gala, to be held on Friday, May 11, 2018 at 7 pm. The 2018 Spring Gala is chaired by Tara Lewis, aided by Underwriting Chair and WaterTower Theater Board member Craig Sutton. The Honorary Chair is WaterTower Theatre Board member and past gala chair Barbara Daseke.

A new feature to the annual fundraising event will be the presentation of two ten-minute plays during the course of the evening, celebrating two area philanthropists for their many and varied contributions to the community. This year's honorees are longtime WaterTower Theatre Board member Robert Mayer Jr. and Chef Kent Rathbun.

Robert Mayer, Jr., Harvard Class of 1943, enlisted in the Army in 1944, founded Well Reconnaissance, Inc. in 1952, and in 1974 moved his business to Addison, Texas where he still maintains an office. He later sold his business to Gearhart Industries and remained with that company through its acquisition by Halliburton Company. Mayer has been a member of the Addison Business Association since 1974, and a member of the WaterTower Theatre Board since 1999. He has been an active member of the Dallas Council of World Affairs and numerous geophysical and scientific organizations, including the Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and the Society of Exploration Physicists. He is a member of the Executive Board of Dedman College of Southern Methodist University where the Robert Mayer Undergraduate Research Fellows program has been established in his honor.

Kent Rathbun is a four-time James Beard Award-nominated chef and restaurateur. He began his career as an apprentice at the five-star La Bonne Au Berge in his native Kansas City. He eventually landed in Dallas at Mansion on Turtle Creek and The Landmark at the Warwick Melrose Hotel. In 1999 he established Abacus, and was awarded Bon Appetit's "Best of the Year" and Four Diamonds by Mobil Travel Guide. Soon after, he added the Jasper's restaurants. In 2008, with his brother chef Kevin Rathbun, he won Iron Chef America competing against Chef Bobby Flay. Kent's wife Tracy Rathbun is co-owner of the Dallas restaurants Shinsei and Lovers Seafood and Market. Together, they will open the Asian-themed restaurant and bar Imoto in Victory Park. They contribute their time and talents to numerous organizations including the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Zoo to Do, The North Texas Food Bank and the American Heart Association, as well as the Greenhill School in Addison.

The local playwrights who will create the scenes inspired by these two honorees will be Vicki Cheatwood (Rober Mayer, Jr.) and Steven Young (Kent Rathbun).

"I am honored and excited to chair this evening supporting WaterTower Theatre's mission," said Gala Chair Tara Lewis. "This season's event will put WaterTower's best skills - the ability to create magical theater - front and center. Along with live music, silent and live auctions, a cork pull and raffle, it will be an evening full of entertainment."

Artistic Director Joanie Schultz added, "We wanted to pay tribute to these two impactful members of our community in the most special way we can offer, by honoring them with a short live theatre experience that reflects an aspect of their incredible lives. We invite all friends and fans of Bob Mayer and Kent Rathbun to come celebrate with us and experience these original theatrical tributes on May 11."

Sponsors for the 2018 Gala include: VIP Patron Sponsor Sewell Automotive Companies; Valet Sponsor AMLI Residential; Wine Sponsor Goody Goody Liquor. The floral design for the evening will be created Jackson Durham Events.

Other Gala sponsors include: Ovation Sponsors Don & Barbara Daseke, Norma & Paul Shultz; Bravo Sponsors Rosalind & Mervyn Benjet, HEYCO Energy Group Inc./Tara Lewis & John Swords, Karol & Larry Omlor; Onstage Sponsors Nancy Brenner/Jennifer Martinez, Stan Graner & Jim McBride, Melinda & Jim Johnson, Timothy Horan/BKM Sowan Horan, Carol & Kevin March, Robert Mayer, Jr./Mary Anne Mayer Redmond, Oncor/Grace Daniels, Craig Sutton/Rasa Floors, Donna & Ron Whitehead; Duet Patron Sponsors Ida Jane & Doug Bailey, Laree Hulshoff & Ben Fischer, Gustavo Hinojosa, Janeva & Philip Longacre, Lynn & Allan McBee, and Deborah & Jim Nugent.

The event will be held at VOUV Event Space, 4445 Sigma Road, Dallas, Texas 75244.

Table sponsorships at the Ovation ($12,000), Bravo ($6,000) and Onstage ($3,000) levels, Duet Patron ticket pairs ($600), and single tickets ($350) are available while space remains. For more information on the 2018 Spring Gala, please contact Nicholas Even, Managing Director (nickeven@watertowertheatre.org) or Garrett Reeves, Development and Media Relations Manager (greeves@watertowertheatre.org).

About Gala Chair Tara Lewis

Tara Lewis is an active member of the North Texas arts community, currently serving on the Boards of TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) and Dallas Children's Theater, as well as Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Among other fundraising efforts, Tara co-chaired the 2016 TACA Silver Cup Luncheon, the 2016 Art for Advocacy event benefitting the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center, and the 2015 Dallas Children's Theater Cabaret Gala. Tara served as Vice President and Member of the Executive Management Team of HEYCO Energy Group from 1996-2016. Previously she worked at Price Waterhouse, the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), World Petroleum Group, the U.S. Department of Energy, and Apache Corporation. She serves on the Boards of HEYCO and Matador Resources Company.

About Gala Honorary Chair Barbara Daseke

Barbara Daseke is the owner of Barbara Elliott Interiors and, with her husband Don, has been a long-time resident of Addison. She is a member of the WaterTower Theatre Board of Directors and has served as Chair of the Spotlight Gala on numerous occasions. Barbara is one of the most dynamic non-profit fundraisers in North Texas, and has led fundraising events for organizations such as the Aging Mind Foundation, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas Zoo, and TACA. Barbara currently serves on the Boards of the Aging Mind Foundation, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, TACA, SMU Meadows School of the Arts, and the Dallas Zoo. Barbara is a charter member of WOW! (Women of WaterTower Theatre).

About Gala Underwriting Chair Craig Sutton

Craig Sutton serves as Partner & Board Member of Rasa Floors, having been Chief Financial Officer since 2011 and financial advisor since 1996. He joined the Board of Directors of Pearson Partners in 2014, having served on the Advisory Board since 2007. Until retirement from Northern Trust in 2011, he led the largest practice in Texas providing private banking, trust, and wealth-advisory services. He previously served as executive vice president of First City Bank in Dallas and has held senior leadership positions with InterFirst Bank Dallas. Sutton is past president and emeritus board member of the Dallas Children's Theater, and received DCT's Rosewood Award for service in 2007. He joined the WaterTower Theatre Board in 2017.

About WaterTower Theatre

Founded in 1996, WaterTower Theatre is one of Texas' leading professional theatre companies and one of the flagship arts institutions in North Texas, having played an important role as a leader in developing new talent and encouraging the growth of the DFW artistic community through its commitment to local artists. Since its inception, WTT has been the resident theatre company at the Addison Theatre Centre in Addison. Led by Artistic Director Joanie Schultz and Managing Director Nicholas Even, it is consistently recognized for its artistic excellence by the Dallas Theatre League, DFW Theatre Critics Forum, The Dallas Morning News, The Dallas Observer, D Magazine, and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, among others. WTT's World Premiere production of Bread, by Dallas native and Golden Globe-winning actress and playwright Regina Taylor, directed by Leah C. Gardiner, can be seen from April 13 through May 6, 2018.



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