While politicos sparred about the future of Fair Park, the Park’s Music Hall was a memory maker for “An Evening With The Best Of Broadway” on Saturday, November 2.
There were some who actually recalled how the Dallas Summer Musicals were known as the Starlight Operetta and had Charles Meeker as its first executive director. When he resigned in 1961 to oversee productions at a new Arlington venue — Six Flags Over Texas — his successor was the natty DSM house manger Tom Hughes, who was legendary for strolling on stage with a cane in hand to introduce such tried-and-true musicals as “Bye, Bye Birdie” and “The Sound of Music.” There were others like Sally Sharp Harris, who remembered her debut on the Music Hall stage with her father, the late Charles Sharp, championing the early days of the Music Hall’s survival.
But on this date, all the dreams and efforts of the bygone days and leadership came together with all the splash and fanfare that the Charles Meekers and Sharps had hoped for.
Thanks to the leadership of Cara Owens and John Clutts, the evening’s cocktail party was heady and just a touch of what was to come, thanks to dazzling props provided by Tom Addis.
Snapshots: After just having celebrated their 20th anniversary on October 4, Don Daseke in velvet tuxedo was sporting Mathew Trent cufflinks that wife Barbara Daseke had bought for him when they wed… Speaking of anniversaries, designer Bevin Shaw and husband Jeff Shaw were also celebrating an anniversary. It was October 15 in 2005 when the two creative types tied the knot… Gregory Dunbar was triple-escorting Pam Busbee, Jean Lattimore and Dee Wyly… DSM President Ken Novice’s wife Kuoy Novice proudly reported that she had discovered seven-year-old daughter Lyra Novice’s pink outfit at NorthPark… Sally Sharp Harris and her brother Stanton Sharp were with old friends Diane and Stuart Bumpas… The Sharp cousin Calvert Collins-Bratton with husband Vince Bratton was in the crowd that included Jim Clutts, Sara Lee and Stan Gardner, Barbara Brice, Millie and Ken Cooper, Sally and Forrest Hoglund and Cindy and Scott Collier.
For the pre-concert group, the reception transitioned to dinner in the Crystal Terrace. And what a supper it was! Carefully curated by Executive Chef Christopher Patrick of Abacus-Jasper’s Restaurant Group, the guests dined on Miss Saigon Niҫoise (seared Ahi tuna, Niҫoise spoon-heirloom cherry tomato, Kalamata olive, haricot vert with honey mustard vinaigrette), Harmonia Gardens Green Salad (Baby Bibb wedge, Applewood smoked bacon, cherry tomato and chives with green Goddess dressing), Burr versus Hamilton Dueling Surf And Turf (Grilled beef tenderloin, seared sea scallops, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables with brand-mustard bordelaise sauce) and Buddy’s Favorite Bundt Cake (Brown sugar Bundt cake, slated caramel, and candied pecans with mascarpone cream).
Tableside was Broadway babe Tina Walsh, who had gotten her start at Six Flags’ Southern Palace. She went on to such roles as the lead in “Mama Mia” at Las Vegas. In playing the name game, Tina admitted that her favorite actors had been Katherine Hepburn, Diane Keaton and Cary Grant.
Out of towners Darlene and Dr. David Herrick were being tempted to move to Dallas from Alabama, thanks to daughter Lulu Herrick’s enrolling at SMU.
As guests finished dinner, a live auction was held including a trip for two to the 73rd Annual Tony Awards in NYC and premium tickets to “Hamilton” when it arrives in Dallas this spring.
Eventually the black-tie set joined the audience in the hall for the night’s presentation including emcee Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison and Shoshana Bean, plus surprise performances by “Hamilton”’s Joshua Henry and “The Voice”’s Loren Allred.
What a performance it was. Why, even one dedicated country-western aficionado was seen bopping his head as Henry sang “The Room Where It Happens” from “Hamilton”!
For the grand finale, Jane was joined on stage by Dallas Independent School District students and the Broadway vets.
In addition to the musical performances, the presentation of the Charles S. Sharp And Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler Angel Award was especially touching as Sharp children Sally, Stanton and granddaughter Sarah Jacobson accepted the inaugural award on behalf of their late parents.
For more looks at the folks on the stage and in the audience, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.