Photo Flash Westport Country Playhouse Gala An Enchanted Evening by zgm52709



Photo Flash: Westport Country Playhouse Gala "An
Enchanted Evening: The Music Of Richard

Friday, November 6, 2009; Posted: 01:11 PM - by BWW News Desk

An audience of over 500 people attended Westport Country Playhouse's annual fundraising
gala, "An Enchanted Evening: The Music of Richard Rodgers," featuring special tributes to
Mary Rodgers Guettel, composer, presented by Stephen Sondheim, both former Playhouse
apprentices; and Elisabeth Morten, Playhouse board of trustees chairman, presented by Anne
Keefe and JoAnne Woodward, former Playhouse artistic directors, on Monday evening,
November 2.

"On behalf of The Playhouse staff and board, the fabulous guest artists who generously
donated their time and talents, and those whose energy and resources helped every step of
the way, I'm proud to say that our gala was a great success," said Mark Lamos, Playhouse
artistic director. "And of course, all who attended made this 2009 gala the truly special event
that it was. From the tribute to Mary Rodgers Guettel to the star-studded celebration of the
music of Richard Rodgers to a gorgeous dinner afterward, Westport Country Playhouse was a
wonderfully warm place to be on a cold November evening.

"It's also important to note that we will be allocating a portion of the proceeds to support The
Playhouse's Woodward Internship and Apprentice Program, thereby insuring that this vital
educational initiative, from which Mrs. Rodgers Guettel got her own start in the theater,
continues to nurture the talented artists of tomorrow," Lamos added. The Woodward
Internship and Apprentice Program was recently named in recognition of Ms. Woodward's
interest in training the next generation of theater artists. The Playhouse's intern and
apprentice program has been in existence since 1946.

A special tribute was made to Ms. Rodgers Guettel, who began her theatrical career as a
Playhouse apprentice in 1950, and went on to write the music for the Broadway hit, "Once
Upon a Mattress." She is the daughter of composer Richard Rodgers. Stephen Sondheim, who
also was in the 1950 Playhouse apprentice class, was present to honor Ms. Rodgers Guettel.

Ms. Rodgers Guettel stated of her Playhouse apprenticeship, "It was the summer that gave me
a reason to be alive. Before then, I had no aim, no group---I found a community in the
apprentices." She thanked the audience for their support of The Playhouse intern and
apprentice program that continues to help young people find their direction and future in the
theater world.
Elisabeth Morten was honored by former Playhouse artistic directors Anne Keefe and JoAnne
Woodward for spearheading The Playhouse's successful, multi-million dollar renovation in
2005. She has served as chairman and president of The Playhouse board of trustees since
1999, having joined the board in 1996. Ms. Morten is a Tony Award voter and theatrical

Ms. Morten thanked the seven other "visionary" board members who launched The
Playhouse's revitalization and renovation on January 1, 2000: Walter Bergen, Bill Haber,
Catherine Herman, Anne Keefe, Ann Sheffer, Steve Wolff and JoAnne Woodward. "Without
them, Westport Country Playhouse would no longer be here," she said. "We look forward to
the culmination of our efforts with the new leadership of Mark Lamos and Michael Ross, our
board, staff, donors and ticket buyers."

A musical performance, entitled "An Enchanted Evening---The Music of Richard Rodgers,"
featured Broadway stars Malcolm Gets, Tony and Drama Desk Awards nominee and Obie
Award winner; Judy Kuhn, nominated for three Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards;
James Naughton, Tony Award winner for "Chicago" and "City of Angels"; Kelli O'Hara, Tony
Award nominee for "South Pacific," "The Pajama Game" and "The Light in the Piazza"; Steven
Pasquale, who created the role of Fabrizio in Adam Guettel's "The Light in the Piazza" and
appears on FX's "Rescue Me"; Loretta Ables Sayre, Tony Award nominee and Theatre World
Award winner for her role as Bloody Mary in "South Pacific"; and Karen Ziemba, Tony Award
winner for "Contact." The performance was produced by Kevin Duncan, directed by
Christopher Gattelli, with music direction by Adam Ben-David and Mary-Mitchell Campbell.

Gala chairs were Ann Sheffer and Bill Scheffler, and Cindy and John Vaccaro. Honorary chairs
were Anne Keefe and JoAnne Woodward, former Playhouse artistic directors.
About The Playhouse

Westport Country Playhouse, a not-for-profit theater, serves as a treasured home for the
performing arts and is a cultural landmark for Connecticut. Under the artistic direction of Mark
Lamos and management direction of Michael Ross, The Playhouse creates quality productions
of new and classic plays that enlighten, enrich and engage a diverse community of theater
lovers, artists and students. The Playhouse's rich history dates back to 1931, when New York
theatre producer Lawrence Langner created a Broadway-quality stage within an 1830s
tannery. The Playhouse quickly became an established stop on the New England "straw hat
circuit" of summer stock theatres. Now celebrating its 79th season, Westport Country
Playhouse has produced more than 700 plays, 36 of which later transferred to Broadway, most
recently the world premiere of "Thurgood" and a revival of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" with
Paul Newman, and in earlier years "Come Back, Little Sheba" with Shirley Booth, "The Trip to
Bountiful" with Lillian Gish, and "Butterflies Are Free" with Keir Dullea and Blythe Danner. For
its artistic excellence, The Playhouse received a 2005 Governor's Arts Award and a 2000
"Connecticut Treasure" recognition. It was also designated as an Official Project of Save
America's Treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is entered on the
Connecticut State Register of Historic Places. Following a multi-million dollar renovation
completed in 2005, The Playhouse transformed into a year-round, state-of-the-art producing
theater, which has preserved its original charm and character. In addition to a full season of
theatrical productions, The Playhouse serves as a community resource, presenting educational
programming and workshops; a children's theater series; symposiums; music; films; and

Photo credit: Top six photos by Jennifer Manna
Bottom photo by Kathleen O'Rourke
Lyla Steenbergen, Sue Mitchell, Darlene Krenz
            Lissy Newman, Rafe Elkind, Jennifer and David Pogue

Mark and Angela Graham, John and Katia Friend, Zachary Moreowitz, Julie Brown
Joyce Hergenhan, Jay Meizlish, Darcy Lowell, Lynne and David Warshaw

              Karen Parrella, Sandy DeFeo, Ann Sheffer
            Gillian Anderson, Lucinda Knuth, Potter Crolius and Sue Crolius

Niv and Kim Harizman, Peter and Jody Robbins, Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff

To top