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Photos: See Alex Newell & More at Theatre Under The Stars' LIGHTS UP Gala

The event generated $630,000 in vital revenue supporting a breadth of programming at Theatre Under the Stars.

Theatre Under The Stars' "Lights Up" Gala, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of TUTS Humphreys School of Musical Theatre, took place Friday, October 7 at The Astorian, drawing Houston philanthropists and arts lovers to celebrate the deep impact of theater education on our community! The event generated $630,000 in vital revenue supporting a breadth of programming at Theatre Under the Stars.

Check out photos below!

The evening, chaired by Patricia and Sig Cornelius and Dolores Cavatore and John Tobola, showcased the incredible talents of TUTS Education students with performances throughout the night, including with the evening's headlining entertainer, Broadway celebrity Alex Newell. The festivities began with opening remarks by TUTS Executive Director Hillary Hart and TUTS Artistic Director Dan Knechtges, continued with videos highlighting the immeasurable value of Theatre Under the Stars, the arts, and arts education, followed by moving remarks from TUTS Director of Education Laura Peete. "Look at these amazing students. We have a responsibility to them, and to all the kids at home right now who have never stepped inside a professional theater before. We are ready to elevate and build a legacy of showing how Houston, Texas can lead the charge in what the arts and arts education CAN be. We have big dreams at TUTS. Dream with us." said Laura Peete.

The Astorian was a beautiful venue for the 1920s-inspired décor that welcomed guests. The pre-program was complete with a gloriously costumed champagne diva accompanying the raffle for a diamond ring from J. Landa Jewelers, mystery grab bags from David Peck, and a martini-and-old-fashioned bar. The silent auction that took place throughout the evening had guests enthusiastically bidding right up until the auction closed.

Auctioneers Johnny Bravo and Tracie Yeoman kept paddles raised with multiple sales for all the live auction items on offer, including a live painting from Taft McWhorter and a TUTS-exclusive trip to the 2023 Tony Awards. The donation portion of the evening alone raised more than $85,000 from generous Houstonians.

To cap off the night, star of stage and screen Alex Newell, put on a fabulous show for guests, performing a cabaret-style set with songs and entertaining stories from many of his memorable roles, including his time on Glee and on-stage for the Tony-award-winning revival of Once On This Island.

As the final hurrah for the evening, TUTS Education students joined Newell for a rousing performance of "This Is Me" from The Greatest Showman, followed by a champagne toast from the event chairs and a sing-along of "I Have a Dream" from Mamma Mia! with over 50 student performers encircling the ballroom.

Notable guests also included: Margaret Alkek Williams, Maria & Neil Bush, Demetra Jones, Bill Stubbs, Jay Landa & Daniel Turner, Penny Loyd, Amber Mostyn, Councilwoman Dr. Letitia Plummer & Farouk Plummer, Derrick Shore & Brandon Borque, David Peck & Michelle Phillips, Mary & Jack Balagia, Leisa Holland Nelson Bowman & Bob Bowman, Hague & Eric Bing, Connally & Mark Burroughs, Tami & Mark Mallett, Loren & Shaw Ottis, Nancy Ames, Sarah & Jose Cruz, Sarah Pope & Adam Cryer, Julie Baker Finck & Ron Finck, Roxann & Tim Neumann, Kurt Grether, Monica Hartland, Marian & Austin Cornelius, Meghan & Clint Conroy, Cathy & Bob Binstock, Quentin & Aerin Smith, Dr. Connie Faro & Dr. Patrick Duffy, Patrice & Pete McKinney, Jessika & Jeff Smith, Heather Sirdashney & Don Hrap

Photo credit: Priscilla Dickson

Photos: See Alex Newell & More at Theatre Under The Stars' LIGHTS UP Gala
Patricia & Sig Cornelius and Dolores Cavatore & John Tobola

Photos: See Alex Newell & More at Theatre Under The Stars' LIGHTS UP Gala
Jessica King, Jay Landa, Daniel Turner, Marris & Rob Goldberg

Photos: See Alex Newell & More at Theatre Under The Stars' LIGHTS UP Gala
Alex Dailey, Derrick Shore, Dan Knechtges, Brandon Borque, Dan Box

Photos: See Alex Newell & More at Theatre Under The Stars' LIGHTS UP Gala
Margaret Alkek Williams, Neil & Maria Bush

Photos: See Alex Newell & More at Theatre Under The Stars' LIGHTS UP Gala
Abby Yadan and Santos Duran

Photos: See Alex Newell & More at Theatre Under The Stars' LIGHTS UP Gala
Margaret Alkek Williams, Dan Knechtges, Alex Newell

Photos: See Alex Newell & More at Theatre Under The Stars' LIGHTS UP Gala
Alex Newell




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