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Theatre Under The Stars Gala Honors Jim And Helen Shaffer


Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) Gala, honoring Jim and Helen Shaffer for their decades of service and support to TUTS and the Houston arts community, was held on Friday night at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Cal and Connie Dalton and David Peck and Michelle Phillips co-chaired the event produced by the TUTS team and Live! Event Design.

Proceeds from the evening totaled half a million dollars and will benefit TUTS Artistic and Education initiatives. Guests of the Gala were transported into a Havana-inspired evening of Guys and Dolls as they enjoyed cocktails in the Grand Lobby and dinner on the Sarofim stage catered by Jackson & Company.

Entertainment onstage featured engaging performances and an interview between Broadway Stars Ilana Levine of "Little Known Facts" Podcast and Beth Malone, Tony Nominee and currently in "Angels in America" on Broadway. Joining them were amazing performances by TUTS stars, Simone Gundy, Holland Vavra, Courtney Markowitz, and Mark Ivy, and students from TUTS Humphreys School of Musical Theatre and The River Performing and Visual Arts Center performance troupes.

For the After Party, guests enjoyed drinks, flamed dessert and dancing in the Grand Lobby with incredible live music by Taylor Pace Orchestra.

The evening's festivities were attended by more than 300 guests including Steve and Leticia Trauber, Jennifer and Bryan Caswell, Tammy Nguyen, Farida Abjani, Heather and Shawn Conerly, David Bamford and Luis Perez, Ernie Manouse, Becky and Bart McAndrews, Paul David Van Atta and Gregg Harrison, Randy and Sandy Stilley, Frank and Demetra Jones, Julie and Rob Goytia, Alan and Tricia Ratliff, Jay Landa and Daniel Turner, TUTS Executive Director Hillary Hart, and Artistic Director Dan Knechtges.

THEATRE UNDER THE STARS ("TUTS") - (Dan Knechtges, Artistic Director; Hillary J Hart, Executive Director) - was founded by Frank M. Young in 1968 and is Houston's leading musical theatre company for performance, arts education and professional theatrical training; ranging from the classics to new work development. As a 501c3 performing arts organization, TUTS is dedicated to breaking down barriers to access by focusing on inclusivity, education, and community engagement through a commitment to artistic excellence, programs in the community, technique-based curriculum at the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre, and explorative, creative life-skills at The River Performing and Visual Arts Center. For more information, visit

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