The WaterTower family lived up to the old adage, “The show must go on” for its Spring Gala on Friday, May 11, at Vouv. The original plan had called for innovative idea of having a couple of mini-plays based on two North Texas folks — Chef Kent Rathbun and business executive Robert “Bob” Mayer — performed at the seated dinner. Just days after the announcement, Bob died. But despite this loss, his daughter Mary Anne Mayer Redmond approved continuing with the original plan. Here’s a report from the field:
As the 250 guests gathered at the sold-out event at Vouv Event Space, they were welcomed by Event Chair Tara Lewis and her husband John Swords, Underwriting Chair Craig Sutton and his wife Deborah and Honorary Chair Barbara Daseke with husband Don, who raced back from a DePauw University Board meeting earlier that day to land in time for the festivities.
Guests first mingled in the spacious lobby, bidding on a dozen silent auction packages including a Santa Fe excursion, Paul Simon primo concert seating, a private English tea party, and an array of exclusive Dallas area arts opportunities, generously donated by individual Board members, corporate friends like Rosewood and Oncor, and fellow non-profits including the Dallas and Santa Fe Operas, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Dallas Symphony, the Dallas Theater Center and Dallas Children’s Theater.
Guests then entered the ballroom for dinner, featuring a striking black and white candlelit table décor, and arrangements of white hydrangeas and peonies arranged to perfection by Jackson Durham Events.
The Rathbun play, by Steven Young, was a Western farce featuring “The Lobster Shooter” Rathbun and his sidekick crossing paths with a cheerfully imbibing Julia Child and “nemesis” Chef Bobby Flay in cowboy duds.
The play honoring Bob Mayer, written by Vicki Cheatwood, was an imagined encounter between the late WaterTower Board member and business man and Ann Richards, set in a 1960 John Kennedy campaign office.
Chef Kent and his wife Tracy Rathbun, and Mayer’s daughter Mary Anne Mayer Redmond were on hand to receive autographed copies of the newly-minted scripts.
Also on hand to celebrate these men and raise funds for WaterTower were Lynn and Allan McBee, Gwen and Leldon Echols, Jacquelin Sewell and William Atkinson, Karen and Ken Travis, Melinda and Jim Johnson, Laree Hulshoff, Ben Fischer, along with WaterTower Managing Director Nick Even, Artistic Director Joanie Schultz with her husband conductor Francesco Milioto.
The evening ended with a live auction of travel packages capped by a Tuscany villa vacation sold four times, and a private theater weekend in Chicago curated by Schultz sold three times. By all reports, it was WaterTower’s most successful Gala in recent memory, with the “theatrical tribute” concept garnering rave reviews from Gala guests.
* Photo credit: Evan Michael Woods