Dallas Children’s Theater Debuted Its Assistive Listening Devices Friday Thanks To A Crystal Charity Ball Grant

If the Crystal Charity Ball members have been MIA lately, it’s because they’re in the final days of selecting the 2018 beneficiaries.

Assistive Listening Device*

And to prove that the CCB’s fundings do pay off for Dallas County children, the Dallas Children’s Theater is a perfect example.

Thanks to a CCB grant provided in 2015 for sensory-friendly programming, the DCT is now offering Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) for shows in the Baker Theater.

It will be available for “patrons who would like some amplification of the dialogue, music and additional sound effects of DCT shows.”

Dallas Children’s Theater staff trying out ALD*

According to DCT Associate Artistic Director/Education Director Nancy Schaeffer, “We know that some audience members need help to hear all of the wonderful sounds of a live DCT show. Now they can use the Assistive Listening Devices for any show in the beautiful Baker Theater. No one needs to miss a beat or feel left out.”

Prior to ALDs, the DCT has offered American Sign Language interpreted performances.

The ALDs debuted Friday with the DCT’s first show of the 2018 season, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show.”

* Photo provided by Dallas Children's Theater

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2017 Cabaret Gala

According to Cabaret Gala Co-Chair Marisa Huckin,

Marisa Huckin (File photo)

Have you ever dreamed of hearing Idina Menzel, Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler, Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand all in one night? This is your opportunity to get your fix for the nostalgia of the golden age of entertainment. The Dallas Children’s Theater is celebrating its 25th annual Cabaret Gala with the Dallas debut of YouTube sensation Christina Bianco. Dallas is truly lucky to host a performance by this two-time Drama Desk Award nominated actress, singer, and impressionist!

25th Anniversary Cabaret Gala*

Treat yourself to an evening of song, surprises, and shenanigans while sipping champagne at your candle lit table. You’ll be among the chicest of guests at The Fairmont Hotel as The Dallas Morning News describes the DCT’s Cabaret Gala as”…arguably Dallas’ coolest arts-related fundraiser!”

And speaking of fabulous attendees, the Cabaret Gala’s honorary chairs are steadfast civic supporters, Deborah and Craig Sutton. They will be joined by their uber talented and acclaimed actor son, Montgomery Sutton, who literally grew up on-stage at DCT. As ongtime supporters of the arts, Deanna DiPizio-Johnson and I are sharing the chairmanship duties for this 25th anniversary event.

Before the show you will have a chance to sip cocktails and buy raffle tickets while being charmed by the melodic voice of Dallas’ own Janelle Lutz. Your raffle ticket entitles you the opportunity to win one of four fantastic prizes included in the 2017 Cabaret Gala raffle. The prizes include luxury accommodation and travel packages to New York City, Cancun, and San Francisco, and a jewelry shopping spree. Travel packages include flight accommodations courtesy of Southwest Airlines.

This intimate and entertaining evening of song and escapade is not too be missed! For reservations or raffle ticket information contact Artie Olaison at 214.978.0110 or go to www.dct.org/gala/.

* Graphic provided by Dallas Children's Theater

MySweetCharity Summer Pitch: Klyde Warren Park

Tara Green*

According to Klyde Warren Park President Tara Green,

For the past four years, Dallas’ favorite greenspace, Klyde Warren Park, has provided more than 1,300 free programing and education activities for 1 million visitors each year and every summer the fun gets even bigger. Located in the heart of Dallas, directly between downtown and Uptown, Klyde Warren Park is the perfect place for a day of family fun. All activities at Klyde Warren Park are free thanks to our sponsors and private donations made to the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation.

In addition to the Children’s Park and several splash pads located throughout the park, here are a few activities that you and your family can take part in this summer:


  • Dallas Children’s Theater*

    Dallas Children’s Theater Activities (Every 3rdSaturday of the Month from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.) Ages: 4 and up — Bring your drama princess or prince to the Children’s Park for acting games and fun with the Dallas Children’s Theater. Children and their parents can learn acting techniques from Dallas Children’s Theater teachers and participate in mini-performances alongside other participants each session.

  • Kathryn’s Book Nook Summer Reading Club (First Sundays, July – August from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Ages: 3 – 10-years old — Hosted by local non-profit Kathryn’s Book Nook, Summer Reading Parties in the Children’s Park at Klyde Warren Park will make sure kids don’t fall into the all too familiar summer-reading slump. There will be read-alouds, games, crafts, giveaways, and performances. RSVPs are encouraged to ensure we have adequate supplies. RSVP by going tokathrynsbooknook.com.
  • Miss Kimberly*

    Music and Stories with Miss Kimberly (Every Tuesday from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Ages: 0 – 4 years old — Bring the kiddos to a storytelling session in the park every Tuesday! Read along with Miss Kimberly as she features cute stories and fun tunes for little ones. Bubbles, parachutes and games round out this fun and engaging storytime. 

  • Imagination Playground (Every Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Ages: Open to all ages —

    Imagination Playground*

    Play, create and let your kids’ imaginations soar at our Imagination Playground! Bring the kids to the park where they can build a new world every time they play using the larger-than-life Imagination Playground blocks. 

  • Family Art Activities with the Nasher Sculpture Museum (Every 4thSunday of the Month from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.) Ages: 3 and up — Experts from the Nasher Sculpture Center will offer family-friendly activities in the Dallas Morning News Reading and Games Room. Learn painting, sculpting and other unique art techniques during this free, interactive demo. Families are encouraged to make a whole day out of it and visit the nearby Nasher Sculpture Center after playing artist for the afternoon.
* Photos provided by Klyde Warren Park

24th Annual Cabaret Gala To Take Place In “Refreshed” Venetian Room On Texas-OU Saturday With Songbird Maxine Linehan

Marisa Huckin (File photo)

Marisa Huckin (File photo)

You’ve got to hand it to the Dallas Children’s Theater team. Over the past 24 years, their Cabaret Gala has collided with Cattle Baron’s on the same night. But this year the stars were literally in alignment for folks to attend both totally different fundraisers. Unlike the boot-wearing guests at Cattle Barons at Gilley’s, the Cabaret folks don their nicest cocktail attire for an intimate evening in The Fairmont’s Venetian Room, which has gone through some major “refreshing.”

 Maxine Linehan*

Maxine Linehan*

But the date this year may still surprise locals. It’s October 8th. Yup, that’s the Saturday of Texas-OU. While it may seem like a busy weekend to be holding a fundraiser, it makes perfect sense. By Saturday night, most of the Longhorns and Sooners have packed their bags and headed home, or they’re too pooped out to party anymore.

Dallas Children’s Theater’s Artie Olaisen and Event Co-Chair Marisa Huckin (this is her fourth one to chair) and Sharon Niebuhr have arranged for Irish transplant Maxine Linehan to be on the Venetian stage. Sure, she’s been described as “versatile, multi-talented and fiercely talented” and performed at NY’s Town Hall, Lincoln Center, 54 Below, The Metropolitan Room and Birdland. But Maxine’s also smart, having graduated from “the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and also just happens to be a Barrister,” having studied at The Inns of Court School of Law in London.

Still another highlight will be the honorary chairs — “steadfast supporters” Jennifer and Peter Altabef and their “son Will, who literally grew up on-stage at DCT.”

In keeping with the annual raffle, Raffle Chair Kerrie Forbes has five trips lined up for such places as Cancun, Costa Rica, New York City, Telluride and St. Martin.

Since tickets are limited and won’t be sold at the door, hop to it now for an evening of champagne, dessert and delightful tunes.

* Photo provided by the Dallas 
Children's Theater

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas Children’s Theater’s “The Who? Party”

According to Dallas Children’s Theater’s The Who? Party Co-Chair Karen Travis,

Karen Travis*

Karen Travis*

“Autumn is, hopefully, just around the corner and I’m brimming over with excitement not only for cool, crisp temperatures, but also for an annual event that has a special place in my heart, one that really makes a difference for children, Dallas Children’s Theater’s annual Family Party. As president-elect of this incredible organization, I’m honored to be chairing the party with Stephanie Nelson, fellow board member. It is a fitting closure for me as I embark upon a new chapter of service – board president beginning in January 2017.

“DCT’s ’16 – ’17 season starts with a splash, ‘Seussical, The Musical,’ the timeless favorite which has been absent from Dallas theaters with a cast of equity actors for quite a while. On Saturday, September 17, ‘The Who? Party’ guests, following a matinee of the show, will thrill to a fun-ladened afternoon featuring an on stage, interactive song and dance session led by a professional actor; a Seussical chairs contest with prizes for the most agile, and backstage access to learn about the secret sauce that goes into creating the colorful set designs and costumes. These activities will be followed by a scrumptious, Seussical-themed banquet, topped off with a farewell dance party in our spacious lobby.

“Funds raised via the event will ensure the legacy of an essential DCT program, The Student Matinee Performance Series. Because of this important initiative, over 40,000 children annually, primarily from Title 1 schools (free and reduced lunch eligible), are provided the opportunity to attend performances at a very reduced cost — children that otherwise would not be able to come to the theater to see the magic of the live performance.

“In my mind, there is nothing quite as fulfilling as seeing wide-eyed youngsters, ecstatic with anticipation, skip through hallways festooned with scores of brightly colored Truffula trees, hundreds of Hortonian clovers, and bouquets of Mayzie approved feathers. After seeing literature come to life on our stage, students always depart with a rewarding glow.  I’m honored that Dallas Children’s Theater has embraced my penchant for decorations of this sort, and they even let me put my darling husband, Ken Travis, to work for the cause as well. 🙂

Ken and Karen Travis*

Ken and Karen Travis*

“Everyone at Dallas Children’s Theater truly believes in the words of the sweet sage, Horton… ‘a person’s a person, no matter how small.’ These words perfectly reflect our mission — all children truly do deserve to experience the magic of live theater!

“While after three years, I’m proud to say the party is always sold out, right now, sponsorships and tickets are still available for this wonderful and worthwhile event. So, anyone interested should not wait another minute to sign up.  To learn more, go to our Who? Party web page or call DCT at 214-978-0110. Your presence and your contributions help us keep feeding the minds and souls of young people with boundless creativity.”

* Photos provided by Karen Travis

2015 Crystal Charity Ball Committee Distributed Record-Breaking $6.5M To 11 Dallas Children’s Non-Profits

There are hundreds of children…no, make that thousands of children…who went to sleep on Tuesday, April 12, never having heard of a gal from Andrews, Texas, by the name of Michal Powell or an organization called Crystal Charity Ball.

That’s just peachy keen for the 2015 CCB Chair Michal and her gall-gal committee of 99. For a little over a year, they made calls, hand delivered contracts and championed the cases for Dallas children to net a record-breaking $6.5M.

Some of that money would go to healthcare, ranging from sexual abuse to hearing and sight challenges. Other funds would assist homeless and hungry kids and those working through the challenges of autism.

Pat McEvoy, Tucker Enthoven, Vinnie Reuben, Gregg Ballew, Michal Powell, Leslie Diers, Susan Farris and Mary Clare Finney

Pat McEvoy, Tucker Enthoven, Vinnie Reuben, Gregg Ballew, Michal Powell, Leslie Diers, Susan Farris and Mary Clare Finney

But on this evening, it was Christmas with Michal and her team including Underwriting chair Tucker Enthoven presenting the real-thing checks to the 11 recipients thanks to host Westwood Trust Senior VP Gregg Ballew. Among the crowd of more-than-smiley recipients and guests were Dave Woodyard, Ola Fojtasek, Robyn Flatt, Cara French, Sandra Session-Robertson, Bob Sweeney, Elizabeth Gambrell, Tom Turnage, Pam Busbee, Ona Foster, Daffan Nettle, Dr. Tom Campbell, Beth Thoele, Michael Craven, Margaret Hancock, Kimberly Williams, Anne Reeder, Doug Adkins, Tricia George, Tom Black, Mary Martha Pickens, Jan McAuley, Fredye Factor, Pat McEvoy, Vinnie Reuben, Leslie Diers, Mary Clare Finney, Susan Farris, Barbara Stuart and 2016 CCB Chair Christie Carter.

Here is a breakdown of how the checks were distributed:

  • Catholic Charities of Dallas — $575,000 for the School Readiness Program
  • Dallas Children’s Theater — $564,400 for Sensory-Friendly Performances and Classes
  • Dallas Life — $546,919 for the Kids Life Program
  • Dallas Services — $646,064 for the Vision for Children Program
  • Family Compass — $600,000 for the Healthy Families Program
  • Foundation for the Callier Center for Communication Disorders — $630,000 for The Pediatric Hearing Aid Project
  • H.I.S. BridgeBuilders — $539,450 for the Crossover Athletics Program
  • Interfaith Housing Coalition — $500,000 for the Childcare and Youth Services Center
  • Mary Crowley Cancer Research Centers —$500,000 for Ewing’s Sarcoma Pediatric Cancer Research Program
  • North Texas Food Bank — $750,000 for the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program
  • Texas Health Resources Foundation — $459,124 for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program

Wanna bet what the first thing the 11 recipients did the next morning? Deliver the checks to their banks, of course. The second thing was to put that money to work.

Dallas Children’s Theater’s “A Year With Frog And Toad” To Help Youngsters In The Housing Crisis Center Program

Hmmm, “A Year With Frog and Toad”? Sound like a freshman dorm roommate assignment? Nope. It’s the Tony-nominated musical production about friendship that runs from Friday, January 29, thru Sunday, February 28, at the Dallas Children’s Theater. And leave it to those wonderful folks at DCT, they’ve partnered up with the Housing Crisis Center to help children whose families are homeless.

It’s a tradition for the DCT to use “their first production of every new year to spotlight a community partner.” As part of the collaboration, the DCT patrons are asked to make a donation to the HCC.

The DCT is also reserving tickets for some of the HCC children to attend the musical.

Ah, but there’s still more. DCT Co-Founder/Executive Artistic Director Robyn Flatt and her crew are “collecting books and blankets for children ages 3-12” to be provided for the HCC munchkins.

Robyn Flatt (File photo)

Robyn Flatt (File photo)

Sherri Ansley (File photo)

Sherri Ansley (File photo)

It makes so much sense. As HCC Executive Director Sherri Ansley put it, “Housing Crisis Center is implementing a new program called Imagine Time to bring therapeutic learning experiences to the children in its programs designed to allow them to heal from their situation and protect against many of the issues related to homelessness. By providing children a safe place to learn and grow, they will be given the space and time to process their previous — often traumatic— life experiences.”

MySweetWishList: Dallas Children’s Theater

According to Dallas Children’s Theater’s management team Robyn Flatt, Artie Olaisen, Nancy Schaeffer and Sandra Session-Robertson,

“Our wish at Dallas Children’s Theater is to bring the magic of live professional theater to all families in the Dallas area. We regularly hear from first-time patrons that they had no idea their children could be impacted so tremendously by the experience. We know that live theater opens up a young person’s imagination in a way nothing else can, and it is our desire to do our part to eliminate any barrier children have to participation – whether it’s cost, a cultural difference or a special need.

Show day during Dallas Children's Theater's Academy classes*

Show day during Dallas Children’s Theater’s Academy classes*

“For many families, especially those with multiple children, the idea of an outing to the theater is cost prohibitive. Even though many Dallas children experience one show a year through the Student Matinee Performance Series, we want families to be able to experience a production together. That’s when the valuable conversations begin on the ride home and lasting family memories are made. DCT relies on individual, corporate and foundation donations in order to keep our ticket prices low while maintaining the professional quality, high-spectacle productions audiences have come to expect, and that every audience deserves.

“Dallas is a multicultural community, and we wish to serve everyone so that our entire city remains rich with artistic experience. Research proves that children who are exposed to the arts grow into healthy adults who continue to appreciate and support arts and culture and contribute to the workforce in unique and immeasurable ways. We gladly accept our role in nurturing these creative spirits.

The Dallas Children's Theater's special sensory friendly performance of "Fancy Nancy"**

Reception for the Dallas Children’s Theater’s special sensory friendly performance of “Fancy Nancy”**

“With the help of a generous donation from The Crystal Charity Ball, we have been able to expand our Sensory-Friendly programming. This allows us to set aside a performance that is specially designed for families of children with autism, Down syndrome, or other sensory processing disorders. Our wish is to ensure that these plays and classes are sustained for these families for a lifetime.

“Our wish is that all Dallas children know Dallas Children’s Theater as a place for them to express themselves and fully engage in the creative dramatics experience. These wishes take a commitment from community partners and individuals who want every child to experience award-winning professional theater designed for families. We are so grateful to all the partnerships that have propelled us towards our goals for over thirty seasons and we can’t wait to see the future generations at the theater with your help.

Young patrons treating Dallas Children's Theater like home*

Young patrons treating Dallas Children’s Theater like home*

“To get in on the act of supporting theater arts for young people, you can make a donation here: http://www.dct.org/involved/give/

-By Robyn Flatt, Artie Olaisen, Nancy Schaeffer and Sandra Session-Robertson, the Dallas Children’s Theater management team

* Photo credit: Karen Almond 
** Photo credit: Lawrence Jenkins

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Fancy Nancy & Friends Party

“A party that’s fun and fancy and benefits more than 40,000 students across the city doesn’t come along often, but when it does, you better raise your pinky and practice your dancing.

Yvonne Crum and Samantha Crum*

Yvonne Crum and Samantha Crum*

Amy Hofland and Artessa Swords*

Amy Hofland and Artessa Swords*

“Last year’s Dream Ball Family Dress Up event (see photo of Yvonne Crum with her granddaughter Samantha and Amy Hofland with Tara Lewis‘s daughter, Artessa as evidence of the fun) raised over $35,000 net in support of sensory-friendly productions. Now that Crystal Charity Ball has so graciously covered that program for the next three years, DCT is focused on another of their very important, but underfunded programs.

Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT) invites the whole family to the Fancy Nancy & Friends Party, Saturday September 19, from 6-8 p.m. The fanciful fete (that means “party” in fancy-speak) will be a fun-filled evening following the 4:30 matinée performance of FANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL. By purchasing tickets to this event, you are supporting DCT’s Student Matinée Performance Series where Dallas area students enjoy live theater at virtually no cost. DCT believes no child should miss a live professional theater experience due to financial hardship.

Stephanie Nelson and Karen Travis*

Stephanie Nelson and Karen Travis*

“Party Chair Karen Travis says, ‘Dallas Children’s Theater creates family experiences and great memories like no one else. Girls and boys will thoroughly enjoy doing all things “fancy.” In fact, Fancy’s shark-ostumed friend, Lionel, represents the young kings quite well so be sure to bring brothers along, too! And yes, it is so heartwarming to know that our fun also helps DCT continue to offer free and significantly reduced tickets to kids who might not otherwise get to ever see live theater.  Over 60% of students report seeing theater for the first time through this program.  I hope you’ll join me and the other board members working hard to support magical theater experiences for all.”

“Some of Dallas’ fanciest Nancys have signed on as honorary hosts – Nancy Briggs, Nancy Brunson, Nancy Carlson, Nancy Dee Miller and Nancy Nasher.

“Party tickets are $50 per person and include a meet & greet with the cast from FANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL, photos on the stage in Fancy Nancy’s school and house, an “underwater movement” experience, special crafts, and a dance. Dinner and libations (for the fancy adults) are also included. Tickets to the 4:30 performance before the party can be purchased separately for prices ranging between $15 and $28.

“Parties this fancy have limited seating, so book yours now by calling the DCT Box Office at 214.740.0051 or online here.

-By Stephanie Nelson, Dallas Children’s Theater Board member

* Photos provided by the Dallas Children's Theater

A Passing: Mardi Jones

It was just in March of last year that Dallas lost 94-year-old Dr. Cliff Jones, who founded the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas in 1966. Despite dealing with the people struggling with suicide, Cliff’s personal life was filled with happiness thanks to his “too-good-to-be-true family including his adorable wife Mardi.”

Bill McGowan,Bridget Boggess, Summer McGowan, Trip Jones, Robin McGowan, Mardi Jones and Summer McGowan (File photo)

From the left (back row): Bill McGowan, Bridget Boggess, Summer McGowan and Trip Jones; (front row) Robin McGowan, Mardi Jones and Summer McGowan (File photo)



Now just 15 months later, the Jones family, including daughter Robin McGowan and son Trip Jones, has lost their matriarch Mardi at the age of 91.

In addition to being Cliff’s life partner for more than 65 years, Mardi was her own person and lived a remarkable life that seemed at times to be overshadowed by Cliff’s leadership in bringing suicide out of the shadows.

Her love of the theater spanned from her pre-Cliff days of playing Peter Pan in an off-Broadway production to being one of the Dallas Children’s Theater’s original board members. It was that musical talent that brought Mardi and Cliff together, when he spotted her “singing with her guitar in an ice show at the New Yorker Hotel” in the 1940s.

Of course, Mardi supported Cliff in his crusade to help others deal with suicide. Whether it was working the phones at the Suicide and Crisis Center or moderating the Grief and Response committee at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, she was a hands-on partner.

For all those family members and friends who are adjusting to the loss of Mardi, they should take heart knowing that she is with her Cliff.

At 11 a.m. on Monday, July 27, Mardi’s life will be celebrated in Wynne Chapel at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. The family has requested in lieu of flowers that gifts be made to the Dallas Children’s Theater in Mardi’s name.

Cabaret Gala With Marissa Mulder Came Through At The Venetian Room Despite Mother Nature Challenges

There was no waiting for the Great Pumpkin to come to town. It came Thursday, October 2, as 70 MPH winds wreaked havoc for many. One of the victims was Dallas Children’s Theater Associate Artistic Director Artie Olaisen. He had a tree in his front yard and lost electricity and Internet, like a lot of others.

But Artie was producing the Dallas Children’s Theater’s “22nd Cabaret Gala” on Saturday, October 4, at the Fairmont’s Venetian Room.

Saturday, things were not looking so great. Artie was facing the reality that he just might have to handwrite the guest list relying on his memory. But as the evening arrived, all was peachy keen.

Zak Reynolds and Erika Larsen

Zak Reynolds and Erika Larsen

As Rapunzel (Erika Larsen) and her Sir Roderick (Zak Reynolds) strolled the crowded lobby, Dr. Sami Arslanar and John Clutts hosted the champagne reception along with Barbara Brice. Little did anyone guess that Sami and John had just arrived that afternoon from the Dallas Contemporary tour in Mexico with Laree Hulshoff and Ben Fischer, Muffin Lemak and Shelby Wagner.

John Clutts and Dr. Sami Arslanlar

John Clutts and Dr. Sami Arslanlar

In another part of the lobby, Lisa and George Longino were telling Annetta and Bob Newsome that their daughter/Raffle Chair Fleming Longino was MIA. Seems she and Cabaret Gala Co-Chair Matthew Huckin were in Washington, D.C., for a wedding.

Bob and Annetta Newsome and Lisa and George Longino

Bob and Annetta Newsome and Lisa and George Longino

That left Mathew’s sis-in-law Marisa Huckin to handle the hosting duties. Luckily, Marisa’s mom-in-law Carol Huckin filled in on stage when it came to thanking sponsors, friends and family like Carolyn Lupton, Caroline Rose Hunt and Sharron Hunt.

Carol Huckin, Carolyn Lupton and Marisa Huckin

Carol Huckin, Carolyn Lupton and Marisa Huckin

Just as guests like Margaret and Lester Keliher, Jill Rowlett (husband Tracy was attending his West High School reunion in Wichita, Kansas), Jean Lattimore, Barbara and Steve Durham, Billie Leigh Rippey, John Marston, Bob Brackbill and Robyn Flatt found their seats in the legendary nightclub, the program was underway with the announcement of the raffle. One, two, three. Winners were revealed for the three packages including Lisa Longino getting the puppet theater; Terry and Bart Thomas winning the New York City trip and raffle doyenne Yvonne Crum winning the sports package. What a switch. Instead of applauding others for a win, Yvonne took home a goody.

Jill Rowlett

Jill Rowlett

Another victim of the storm were Lisa Loy Laughlin and her husband Kendall. Seems they lost power and had to watch the Baylor/UT football game at Time Out Tavern. After the Baylor win, they returned home to find the power was back on.

Marissa Mulder

Marissa Mulder

Before guests had a chance to dive into the desserts on their plates, red-haired Marissa Mulder was on stage in a black sequined top and long skirt with a flirty slit.

At 9:05 she started filling the room with such tunes as “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart,” “I’m in Love Again,” “It’s Magic,” “This Shirt,” “Hello in There,” “My Attorney Bernie” and “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” with the help of her musical director Jon Weber at the keyboard.

Like a schoolgirl, Marissa confided that her Fairmont suite was indeed sweet. She had really enjoyed more than a couple of bubble baths.

Admitting that her cabaret gigs were not enough to support her New York City lifestyle, Marissa told the audience toward the end of the show that she had been a nanny for six kids in the Upper East Side of NYC for the past few years. Seeing her wards flourish and one in particular develop a love for music and theater, she wholeheartedly appreciated the evening’s goal of supporting children’s involvement in theater.

With encores demanding, she finished the evening’s program with “Come Fly with Me” and “Moon River.”

Dallas Children’s Theater’s “Knights And Princesses Dream Ball” Had A “Young” Co-Chair Help Exceed The Evening’s Goal

Inside the dimly lit theater at the Rosewood Center for Family Arts, children as well as adults dressed up as “knights” and “princesses” were scurrying around the room, laughing and chatting and waving swords around and having their photos taken onstage. Even Dallas Children’s Theater Executive Artistic Director Robyn Flatt and DTC board member Yvonne Crum had donned royal outfits. The occasion was the Dallas Theater Center’s Knights and Princesses Dream Ball, a fundraiser held in conjunction with the DTC’s current production, “Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale“.

In addition to the photo opps, the unique, fairy-tale-themed fundraiser featured a “Royal Feast,” and then a dance (to Disney-type music) spun by DJ Sir Seth. About 160 adults and kids turned out for the event, which was the first of its kind and intended to raise money for the DTC’s “sensory-friendly shows” for children with developmental disabilities. Under Chair Karen Travis, and with former Texas Ranger Michael Young and his family serving as honorary chairs, the fundraiser exceeded its $25,000 goal. As a result, the DTC says it will be able to produce three more sensory-friendly shows in 2015. The October 11 performance of “Rapunzel!”, by the way, will be the DTC’s last sensory-friendly performance of this calendar year.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: 2014 Cabaret Gala

According to 2014 Cabaret Gala Co-Chair Marisa Huckin,

Marisa Huckin (File photo)

Marisa Huckin (File photo)

“Polish your wing tips and pearls and join me at the Cabaret!! Saturday, October 4, the 22nd annual Cabaret Gala will benefit one of Dallas’ crown jewels — Dallas Children’s Theater!

“We are so fortunate to have one of the nations’ leading professional family theaters right here in our midst. For 30 years, they have served our community and brightened and enlightened both young and old! This year’s Cabaret is somewhat of a family affair for me as I co-chair with my beguiling brother-in-law, Matthew Huckin, and we are joined by my darling mother-in-law, Carol Huckin, as honorary chair. Our family knows firsthand the value of DCT and the power of the arts.

Marissa Mulder*

Marissa Mulder*

“This year’s star is Marissa Mulder, an electrifying new cabaret princess on a meteoric rise. We are thrilled to get her to Dallas!! Be there as she takes the stage in the legendary Venetian Room at The Fairmont Dallas. There is always unexpected fun, excitement and shenanigans. Come early to mix-n-mingle during the pre-show “Cocktails & Cabaret” hour in The Venetian lobby.

“For tickets or sponsorship, contact Artie Olaisen at [email protected] or 214.978.0110.”

* Photo provided by
the Dallas 
Children's Theater

Baseball Royals Michael Young And Cristina Barbosa To Co-Chair Dallas Children’s Theater’s Knights And Princesses Dream Ball

Former Texas Ranger Michael Young and his wife Cristina Barbosa will be part of royalty on Saturday, September 20. But instead of Buckingham Palace with Kate, William, Harry and George, it will be the Dallas Children’s Theater for its Knights and Princesses Dream Ball.

Mateo, Michael, Antonio, Cristina and Emilio Young*

Mateo, Michael, Antonio, Cristina and Emilio Young*

Cristina and Michael will serve as honorary co-chairs, along with their children Mateo, Emilio and Antonio.

Cristina said, “Our family is pleased to serve as honorary chairs of the Knights and Princesses Dream Ball at Dallas Children’s Theater. Having seen firsthand the benefits that theater has provided our own children, we are excited to be a part of raising funds for adapted performances for children with special needs. After all, every child deserves great live theater! We hope everyone will join us in bringing in the magic of live theater to all children.”

This year the DCT “presented its first sensory-friendly production for children with special needs.” What does that mean? The DCT reduced sound levels, eliminated flashing lights and kept the overall house lights up a few levels higher than normal “to provide a more comfortable experience for the families.” The DCT staff didn’t just come up with these adaptions on their own. They received the recommendations from Autism Speaks, the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at UT Southwestern, University of North Texas Department of Speech and Hearings Sciences and Health Science Center and the Autism Center, Children’s Medical Center and the Dallas Museum of Art.”

The ball will follow a 4:30 p.m. performance of “Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale”. Tickets for the ball are $50 per person. Proceeds from the event will benefit adapted performances for children with special needs.

Tiaras and scepters will be the accessories du jour.

* Photo courtesy of Michael Young and Cristina Barbosa