Broadway came to Silicon Valley when TheatreWorks celebrated its fortieth anniversary, raising the company a half million dollars in a night of music and merriment. Guests at TheatreWorks' GALA 40 were invited to attend a glamorous dinner and live auction on Saturday, May 8, 2010 at the Microsoft campus in Mountain View before heading to the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts for a stunning one-night-only concert hosted by Tony® Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang with performances by Tony-nominated composer Jeanine Tesori, composer/chanteuse Vienna Teng, and GrooveLily's Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda, in addition to other guests and performers. GALA 40 paid tribute to two Silicon Valley innovators: Robert Kelley, founding artistic director of TheatreWorks, for Innovation in the Arts, and Frank Quattrone, CEO of Qatalyst Group, for Innovation in Technology.
Hilarious and moving, thrilling and nostalgic, the evening, which raised $516,000, began with a tribute to Frank Quattrone at the Microsoft campus in Mountain View and culminated in a fantastic series of performances at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Guest emcee David Henry Hwang introduced guests including record-breaking recording artist Vienna Teng, Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda (composers of Off-Broadway hit Striking 12), and composer Jeanine Tesori (Caroline or Change and Shrek the Musical), who all performed special material. The concert also featured songs from TheatreWorks world premieres Emma and Daddy Long Legs written by Tony nominee Paul Gordon (who was also in attendance) as well as music from Addams Family Tony nominee Andrew Lippa's A Little Princess (another TheatreWorks world premiere) performed by guest artists from Broadway and beyond.
GALA 40 committee members Michelle Kwatinetz of Atherton (chair), Ronni Watson of Menlo Park (chair), Anne Hambly of Los Altos, Gina Jorasch of Palo Alto, Julie Kaufman of Atherton, Cynthia Keely of Portola Valley, Judy Kleinberg of Palo Alto, Gayla Lorthridge of Los Altos Hills, Leslie Murphy-Chutorian of Palo Alto, and Carolyn Schutz of Redwood City put together an enchanting evening with 300 guests in attendance at the live auction and the dinner, and 500 in attendance at the GALA 40 concert. The live auction featured exciting prizes including a trip to the 2010 Tony® Awards, a pair of tickets to attend the 53rd Grammy Awards, an exotic safari in South Africa, and the opportunity to go behind the scenes with TheatreWorks Director of New Works Meredith McDonough, previewing workshops of the most promising new musicals in the country at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre New Musicals Festival. Funds raised at GALA 40 will support TheatreWorks' outstanding performances and innovative education and new works programs.
With over 8,000 subscribers and 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatre-goers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors. TheatreWorks has unveiled the line-up for its 41st season, which will begin in July 2010, and will include three more World Premieres, bringing the company's total to 56. The 2009-2010 season will wrap-up in June with OPUS, a comedic look a string quartet forced to find a new player just days before an appearance at the White House.
Photo credit: Tracy Martin
Brendan Milburn, Vienna Teng, and Valerie Vigoda
Robert Kelley with David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori