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Stages St. Louis Raises Over $73,000 with Legally HOT! Cabaret Event

On Monday, August 12th STAGES ST. LOUIS hosted Legally HOT,a one-night-only cabaret event benefiting the organization's Education and Artistic Programs. Legally HOT featured some of STAGES' favorite talents including Ben Nordstrom (currently playing Emmett in Legally Blonde, The Musical) and Zoe Vonder Haar (who played Louise in the recent hit production of Always... Patsy Cline). The show also featured cast members from Legally Blonde, The Musical, including Heather Jane Rolff (Paulette), Brandon Davidson (Warner), Stephen Barnowski, Melinda Cowan, Patch David, Joe Grandy, Julia Johanos, and Jonathan Kwock as they let off a little steam and beat the summer heat. Under the direction of STAGES Associate Artistic Director Stephen Bourneuf, with additional choreography by Ron Gibbs and Vince Pesce, this fifth annual Cabaret was fun, fresh, and financially successful, beating last year's record.

The event, held at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in Kirkwood opened with a 6:30PM reception, and pre-show activities including a wine pull and a TeamSTAGES raffle. The performance began at 7:30PM with a full house comprised of STAGES Board members, VIP donors, and loyal patrons. Ticket prices ranged from $50 to $250. The auction at intermission offered opportunities for exclusive dinners and parties with cast members, Bellerive Country Club Golf outings, and even a special walk-on role in STAGES' upcoming production of My Fair Lady.

Hosted by STAGES veterans David Schmittou and Kari Ely, the evening's engaging live auction incorporated impromptu participation from the cast and off-the-cuff humor. Guests were also able to show their support for specific Academy programs, including the Urban Arts Initiative, Access the Arts, Stories@STAGES, and student scholarships for STAGES Performing Arts Academy at the Kent Center for Theatre Arts in Chesterfield.

Some of the favorite songs of the night were Nordstrom, Davidson, and Kwock's tap dance-filled "Keep Your Sunny Side Up," Vonder Haar and Grandy's flirtatious rendition of "Arthur in the Afternoon," and the sultry "I'm Singing Broadway" from Rolff. The company joined in an energetic performance at the finale of "Burning Love."

A total of $73,000 was raised through ticket sales, auction, wine pull, raffle, and a $10,000 pre-event matching grant from Lynne and Jim Turley called Hang 10 with the Turleys. "The huge success of this event was truly a collaborative effort," explained Kristen Goodman, Director of Institutional Advancement. "From the actors who donated their time to perform, to the STAGES staff members who worked on the event, to the patrons and friends who joined us at the theatre, to those out of town supporters who made gifts to the Hang 10 Challenge... The generous support of the STAGES community in St. Louis and around the country will ensure that we can continue to provide excellence in Musical Theatre performance and education." If you are interested in making a tax-deductible contribution to STAGES, please contact the Development Office at or call (636) 449.5771.

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