Curtain Up

Classy crooners toast Dallas theater company at swanky soiree

Classy crooners toast Dallas theater company at swanky soiree

Liese Canterbury, B.J. Cleveland, Michael Canterbury
Liese Canterbury, B.J. Cleveland, and Michael Canterbury. Photo by Kris Ikejiri
Norman Williams, Denise Lee
Denise Lee and Norman Williams. Photo by Kris Ikejiri
April Bosworth, Stan Graner
April Bosworth and Stan Graner. Photo by Kris Ikejiri
Joey Folsom, B.J. Cleveland
Joey Folsom and B.J. Cleveland. Photo by Kris Ikejiri
Volunteers
Volunteers roamed the dining room selling raffle tickets. Photo by Kris Ikejiri
Table 13
The Addison restaurant Table 13 hosted the party. Photo by Kris Ikejiri
The Marc Toussaint Combo
The Marc Toussaint Combo played throughout the evening. Photo by Kris Ikejiri
Kim Titus, Lisa Fairchild
Kim Titus, Lisa Fairchild Photo by Kris Ikejiri
Keith Widthers, Shannon Jones
Keith Widthers, Shannon Jones Photo by Kris Ikejiri
B.J. Cleveland, Carolyn Ennis
B.J. Cleveland, Carolyn Ennis Photo by Kris Ikejiri
Belinda Orchfield, Matt Grunther, Penny Grunther
Belinda Orchfield, Matt Grunther, Penny Grunther Photo by Kris Ikejiri
Susan Smith
Susan Smith Photo by Kris Ikejiri
Dennis Lewis, Melissa Lewis
Dennis Lewis, Melissa Lewis Photo by Kris Ikejiri
Nora Graner, Jane Graner
Nora Graner, Jane Graner Photo by Kris Ikejiri
Liese Canterbury, B.J. Cleveland, Michael Canterbury
Norman Williams, Denise Lee
April Bosworth, Stan Graner
Joey Folsom, B.J. Cleveland
Volunteers
Table 13
The Marc Toussaint Combo
Kim Titus, Lisa Fairchild
Keith Widthers, Shannon Jones
B.J. Cleveland, Carolyn Ennis
Belinda Orchfield, Matt Grunther, Penny Grunther
Susan Smith
Dennis Lewis, Melissa Lewis
Nora Graner, Jane Graner

For its second fundraising gala, The Classics Theatre Project took inspiration from its name and did it up old-school. The '50s-era glam of Addison's Table 13 provided a swanky background for the Classic Crooners Evening, a dinner and concert suffused with vintage Vegas vibes that was chaired by Judy Birchfield and Stan Graner.

And what would a posh party like this be without an equally glitzy host? Local performing legend B.J. Cleveland welcomed supporters done up as one of his most popular personas — Liza Minnelli — as they streamed into the restaurant, with the Marc Toussaint Combo playing in the background.

After a few opening remarks, "Liza" sang a rendition of the musical theater standard "Cabaret" with clever parody lyrics about the new-ish theater company, which debuted in 2018 with a production of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard.

Next to take the stage were cabaret chanteuse Denise Lee and her accompanist, Norman Williams, performing a bill that included standards by Burt Bacharach standards and closing with Etta James' "At Last."

The night's guests of honor were Liese and Mike Canterbury, longtime arts patrons and champions of the local theater scene.

Attendees dined on a menu provided by Table 13 owner Gabe Nicolella: filet mignon and creamy Parmesan risotto, served with roasted asparagus spears and a mixed salad with chef-inspired raspberry vinaigrette. A decadent dessert course featured a flourless chocolate torte with homemade vanilla ice cream, all topped with fresh whipped cream and raspberries.

Following dinner, guests could either cut a rug on the dance floor or browse the silent auction and raffle prizes. Spotted among the crowd were TCTP artistic director Joey Folsom, Lisa and Kim Titus, Karol Omlor, and TCTP board president April Bosworth.

Lucky winners went home with season tickets to Second Thought Theatre and Stage West, a lovely necklace handmade by local actress and artist Diana Sheehan, and a grand prize aimed at the ultimate theater fan: tickets to productions over the next year at 13 area theaters.

The Classics Theatre Project, Amphibian Stage Productions, Casa Mañana, Circle Theatre, Dallas Children's Theater, Firehouse Theatre, Imprint Theatreworks, Kitchen Dog Theater, Lyric Stage, Stolen Shakespeare Guild, Theatre Three, Uptown Players, and WaterTower Theatre were all included, as well as a catered dinner for four by Bosworth and Andrea Redmon.

The company mounts 19th and 20th century plays in a way that's accessible for modern audiences, finding what is universal in great works and presenting them as publicly viable entertainment.