Palm Beach Dramaworks Hosts 2020 Gala: A STAR IS BORN
It was a starry night at the Kravis Center's Cohen Pavilion on January 25, with starbursts of lights on the walls, centerpieces of flowers with jutting stars and framed photos of famous child stars, and most important, starry-eyed burgeoning artists showcasing their talent before enthralled guests. That was the scene at Palm Beach Dramaworks' 2020 Gala: "A Star is Born," which celebrated an up-and-coming generation of gifted artists and highlighted the company's many education initiatives that nurture creativity and ignite the imagination. Marilyn Meyerhoff and Sam Feldman were the Gala Chairs.
Producing Artistic Director William Hayes and Managing Director Sue Ellen Beryl welcomed over 200 guests, including Honorary Chairs Marsha and Stephen Rabb. Entertainment was provided by "jazz royalty" Jill and Rich Switzer, back for the third straight year, with special guest Chris Santiago.
Chris Santiago Among the evening's many high points was the presentation of the 13th annual Shelly Award to Stephen L. Brown, former chair and current vice chair of PBD's board of directors. The award is named after the late theatre impresario Shelly Gross and honors an outstanding individual in recognition of his or her exceptional commitment, support, and advocacy on behalf of the company. It was also announced that, beginning next year, PBD will offer a new honor, the Stephen L. Brown Award for Education.
"Steve has had a huge impact on PBD and the Shelly Award is our way of acknowledging how grateful we are for all he's done," said Hayes. "He is particularly passionate about education, and it was his generosity that gave us the very substantial seed money to launch our education department. We could think of no better way to honor him than to initiate an education award in his name."i?? As guests dined on peppercorn seared filet of beef, cipollini onions, haricots verts, and rosemary roasted purple Peruvian fingerling potatoes, followed by tart "rouge" and mascarpone mousse, they saw first-hand the impact that the education department has had on students throughout Palm Beach County. Director of Education and Community Engagement Gary Cadwallader introduced a video highlighting many of PBD's outreach and education initiatives, which includes stories of life-changing experiences by students and others who have participated in the various programs.
Guests were then treated to excerpts from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's Edges, the musical that was produced last summer by theAcademy@pbd in its inaugural season. The talented students who appeared in Edges on PBD's mainstage reunited for the Gala performance. The cast was made up of Catherine Boynton, Jaime Brustein, Braden Chavers, Lily Counihan, Chloe Laine-Lobsinger, Coco Pollard, and Alexa Rubenstein.
"We are so grateful to everyone who helped make our biggest fund-raising event of the season a huge success," said Beryl. "Money raised at the Gala plays a crucial role in sustaining the company, and our chairs, honorary chairs, sponsors, and committee all worked diligently to produce a very special evening. I also want to thank Jill and Rich Switzer and Chris Santiago for providing wonderful entertainment, and the amazing student performers, who dazzled us."