Two (aka Steve Martin and Martin Short) of the three amigos transformed the Winspear Opera House into a combination of Comedy Central and a Bluegrass Festival on Saturday, September 21, for CitySquare‘s annual “A Night To Remember.” While sharing the name “Martin,” the two friends quickly made it apparent that their styles are different yet complementary. Here’s a report from the field:
On September 21st, Hamon Hall at The Winspear was transformed into a Hollywood backlot for “A Night to Remember,“ CitySquare’s annual fundraiser that has historically brought entertainment icons to Dallas. The likes of Diana Ross, BB King, Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld have all come to help raise funds for the poverty fighting organization. This year brought the horsepower of two comedy legends, Steve Martin and Martin Short.
The fun began early for major donors and sponsors who crossed the red carpet through tables with centerpiece “Oscars” on their way to Hamon Hall where clever party planners had vignettes of the two Martins’ most recognized performances: Saturday Night Live, Father of the Bride and Three Amigos. Guests like Neiman’s Chuck Steelman could not resist putting on sombreros and inserting themselves between cut-outs of the amigos (sans Chevy Chase).
Brenda and CitySquare CEO Larry James and Tom and Karen Falk (Tom is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kimberly Clark) found a quiet table in the corner of the “Father of the Bride” vignette while CitySquare supporters like Wendy and Boyd Messmann, Kay and Kevin Thomason, Chuck and Mary Blake Meadows, Tucker and Rich Enthoven and Mindy Ward and Rick Logsdon mixed and mingled.
Showtime began with a moving video from CitySquare board member NBC 5’s Brian Curtis who could not be everywhere. Brian, an avid animal lover (he has several pooch rescues) was busy emceeing SPCA’S annual Fur Ball. NBC 5 has supported “A Night to Remember” for almost a decade and, for their commitment to fighting poverty, Larry James took the stage to present the 2019 CitySquare Community Partner Award to NBC 5’s Community Affairs Department. Morning anchor Deborah Ferguson accepted the award for NBC 5.
After a few brief remarks by CitySquare president, John Siburt, the spotlight went to a concert grand piano and two big arm chairs followed by the rather reserved Steve Martin, who immediately reminded the audience that he is in fact a Texan, born in Waco. Martin’s quiet entrance served to make the entrance of the tornado that is Martin Short all the more lively. While they immediately exchanged barbs, the night proved them to be the very best of pals. An amazing group of musical talent assembled on stage including preeminent Bluegrass talent and founding member of the Punch Brothers, Noam Pikelny, who wowed the audience with his banjo, as well as Jeff Babko, keyboardist for Jimmy Kimmel Live. Babko backed song and dance numbers by the two stars. For almost two hours, the “Martins” told bits of their personal histories complete with slides, quipped, danced, sang, played and put on a show that would have exhausted even the younger set.
They managed to maintain that energy for the Meet and Greet that followed the show where they gladly stood for photos and joked with sponsors like Case and Emily Van Lare and Lynette and Nate Christensen, who co-chaired the host-committee of over 50 CitySquare supporters.
Event goers who made a donation at the beginning of the evening were entered into a drawing for the opportunity to meet the two comics and have their photo made with them- Elba and Jay Bass from Grapevine were the surprised winners.
The after-party was also in Hamon Hall where guests were shoulder to shoulder to enjoy gourmet coffees and an array of desserts, and to hear that the evening had raised $1 million plus for CitySquare’s fight against poverty. Sponsors were treated to more sweets compliments of Full Circle Bakery for the ride home.
When asked “How do you top this next year?” members of the CitySquare Development team responded unanimously with, “Stay tuned!”
* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman