To help celebrate the year of Hamilton, Dallas Summer Musicals pulled out all the stops for its 2019 gala. Titled An Evening with the Best of Broadway, the concert delivered with Great White Way stars of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Tony Award winner and Kennedy Center honoree Chita Rivera was the night's elegant emcee, and though she sadly did not sing or dance, the star-studded lineup more than made up for it.
Olivier Award-winner and Glee alum Amber Riley kicked things off with powerful performances of "Natural Woman," as well as "Home" from The Wiz. Riley also delivered unforgettable renditions of "I Am Changing" and "Love You I Do" from her award-winning role as Effie in the West End production of Dreamgirls.
Next, Tony Award-winner Kelli O'Hara graced the stage, charming the audience with her unmatched vocals and charismatic humor. O'Hara's set included "Wonderful Guy" from South Pacific, "To Build a Home" from The Bridges of Madison County, and "They Don't Let You in the Opera (If You're a Country Star)," which appears on her album Always.
In continuation of DSM's gala tradition of surprise guests, current star of Disney's Frozen on Broadway Caissie Levy captivated the crowd with epic performances of "Let It Go," "I Don't Know How to Love Him," and "Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In," followed by original Rent cast member Adam Pascal, who was welcomed with roaring applause before his performance of "One Song Glory."
Between performances, the Charles S. Sharp and Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler ANGEL Award was presented to Sally Hoglund by the Sharps' daughter, Sally Harris. Hoglund is a driving force in philanthropic efforts and has generously given her time and talent in support of DSM. Most recently, Hoglund served as co-chair of the DSM Performs Campaign and worked for over three years to raise stability funds in support of DSM's education and community partnerships.
Led by gala co-chairs Calvert Collins-Bratton and Vince Bratton and Helen and Brendan McGuire, the evening began with a cocktail reception and dinner curated by Joule Catering. Guests participated in a silent auction that included opportunities to bid on a trip for two to the 74th Annual Tony Awards in New York City (made possible by Broadway Across America and American Airlines); premium tickets to DSM's performance and cast parties of Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away, and Frozen; and a trip to Terranea Resort in Palso Verdes Estate, as well as tickets to a performance at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles.
"We are so grateful for our supporters who make it possible for Dallas Summer Musicals to share the gift of Broadway with our community," says Kenneth T. Novice, DSM president. "Funds raised from An Evening with the Best of Broadway afford us the opportunity to impact communities by lifting spirits and sparking curiosity through the magic that only live theater can deliver. We were thrilled to share with everyone the highlights from this past season's education and community partnership initiatives as well as announce the launch of new programs for the upcoming season."
The night concluded with students from Cedar Hill Independent School District, Dallas ISD, Denton ISD, Highland Park ISD, Mesquite ISD, Richardson ISD, and Wylie ISD, as well as the 2019 DSM High School Musical Theatre Awards' Best Actress winner, Haley Dortch of Guyer High School, joining Riley, O'Hara, Levy, and Pascal onstage for a memorable finale performance of "Seasons of Love" from Rent and "You Will Be Found" from Dear Evan Hansen.
An Evening with the Best of Broadway raised more than $500,000, which will support the nonprofit DSM in its mission to bring the very best of Broadway to North Texas, develop appreciation of musical theater among diverse audiences, and foster meaningful arts experiences for children and families in the community.
DSM's 2019-2020 season continues with Cats, Dear Evan Hansen, The Band's Visit, Come From Away, Jesus Christ Superstar, Disney's Frozen, Escape to Margaritaville, and season add-ons Blue Man Group and Rent.
For more information about Dallas Summer Musicals, please call 214-421-5678 or visit the website at DallasSummerMusicals.org.