The star power of Dallas Summer Musicals' last-minute concert replacements paid off, as the nonprofit Broadway presenter broke a previous fundraising record at its 2017 gala, themed "An Evening with the Best of Broadway."
Two-time Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell and singer/actress Katharine McPhee gave the crowd twice the music during a set of performances at the Music Hall at Fair Park, capping off an evening filled with food, music, and entertainment.
Philanthropists and corporate leaders gathered to celebrate DSM's new era, which includes freshly appointed president Kenneth Novice and upcoming seasons that are studded with such hits as Hamilton, Waitress, The Color Purple, School of Rock, Les Miserables, and Disney's Aladdin. Gala chairs Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld welcomed supporters with a red-carpet entrance, encouraging them to sip on champagne or cocktails, nibble gourmet passed hors d’oeuvres, listen to the string quartet (and later jazz trio), and sit for a fun portrait by one of the caricaturists stationed around the Music Hall lobby.
The black tie-clad attendees — which included Kouy Kolar-Novice, Evan and Natalie Pounce, Honey Prestidge, Kara Vanduzee, Avin Black, Suzanne Palmland, Julita and Chris McRorie, Jack and Roberta Williamson, Jamie and Don Jordan, Barbara McDaniel, and Jennifer Swift — also had table after table of silent auction items to browse.
Patrons enjoyed a break from the traditional seated dinner, traveling between stations to experience multiple entree vignettes prepared by Culinaire International instead. Once guests moved into the theater, honorary chairs Angela and Brad Cheves and Nancy and Ron Natinsky were recognized, with Brad Cheves sharing a special message of support from Ruth Altshuler, who could not be in attendance. A special video depicting the widespread effect of DSM's community efforts was played.
American Idol finalist McPhee, who currently appears on the CBS drama Scorpion, sang a set of musical theater classics accompanied by Doug Petty that included her signature tune "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz. Her chihuahua, Larry, even made an appearance for one number, and McPhee broadcast another song live on her Instagram feed.
Mitchell, accompanied by renowned pianist Mark Humell, captivated guests with personal Broadway remembrances and tunes from his Tony-winning roles. He also talked about the importance of programs like those of DSM, which elevate the arts while educating and giving back to the community. He ended the night with a heartfelt rendition of "What a Wonderful World," which culminated with a standing ovation from the crowd.
All told, generous Dallasites contributed $500,000 to help fund DSM's education and community programs, including the DSM High School Musical Theatre Awards, Seats for Vets, Seats for Kids, Kid’s Club, Hear Us Now!, and the DSM Community Performance.