They say the neon lights shine bright on Broadway, but bright
lights, big stars and glittering fashions were also to be
found at the Kravis Center’s 15th Anniversary Celebration Gala
Benefit on Feb. 10. And magic was in the air.
This year’s Gala per formance, Back to Back to Broadway,
created especially for the Kravis Center’s anniversary
celebration, starred Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey, Academy Awar
d winners for the 1972 film Cabaret, along with Tony Awar d
winner Brian Stokes Mitchell (Ragtime, Kiss Me, Kate) and
Metropolitan Opera soprano Harolyn Blackwell (West Side Story,
Candide). The performance also featured choreography by
Baayork Lee, one of the original cast members of Broadway’s A
Chorus Line who is responsible for restaging Michael Bennett’s
choreography for the current smash New York revival of that
The Gala Benefit began with a cocktail reception in the Carl
and Ruth Shapiro Founders’ Room and ended with a black-tie
dinner dance in the Cohen Pavilion’s Weiner Banquet Center,
which was designed by Rafanelli Events to reflect the
evening’s Broadway theme.
The evening of celebration was dedicated in loving memory of
Mr. Julian Cohen, a longtime member of the Kravis Center’s
Board of Directors and one of the Center’s most generous
supporters, who died on February 8.
During the Gala, the Kravis Center recognized its “leading
ladies” for their efforts and dedicated ser vice over the past
15 years and for their continued support of the mission of the
Kravis Center. The members of the Honorary Gala Committee
were: Carol Cohen, Patricia Cook, Lore Dodge, Renate Dreyfoos,
Elaine Gimelstob, Nicki Harris, Elaine Langone, Hillie
Mahoney, Chris Marden, Helen Persson, Janna Rumbough, Mary
Schott and Kathryn Vecellio. During dinner, Kravis Center
Chairman Alexander W. Dreyfoos gave special recognition to
Amin and Julie Khoury who made a $1 million gift to the Kravis
Center’s Encore Capital Campaign, the fund-raising effort to
pay for the Cohen Pavilion expansion project.
Mr. Dreyfoos thanked the couple on behalf of fellow board
members and presented the Khourys with a Tiffany & Co. tray as
a memento that has traditionally been given to generous donors
who contribute $1 million or more to the Encore Campaign.
Proceeds from the Kravis Center’s annual Gala Benefit make it
possible for the Center to continue with programs that have
introduced school children from five surrounding counties to
the wonder of the per forming arts. The funds are also used to
pr esent innovative programs such as master classes, lectures
and performance opportunities for both children and adults.
Ticket sales and rental r evenue alone do not cover the cost
of operating a not-for -profit facility like the Kravis
Center. It is only through generous contributions and benefits
like the Gala that the Kravis Center continues to succeed in
making the best of the performing arts available to the entire
Herbert and Elaine Gimelstob generously sponsored the public
performance, Back to Back to Broadway. Grand Sponsors Lewis
and Mary Schott and Carl and Ruth Shapiro sponsored the gala
décor and dinner, respectively.
Other sponsors of the evening included Julian and Carol Cohen
(dinner entertainment), Alexander and Renate Dreyfoos (dinnerdance
or chestra), Kenneth and Elaine Langone (cocktail reception),
Jane Mitchell (invitations and programs – design and
printing), Paul and Marilyn Mulach (photography), Helen K.
Persson (table centerpieces), Van Cleef & Arpels (dessert
extravaganza) and The Breakers (bar and wine service).
Rafanelli Events and Tiffany & Co. provided special support,
with additional support provided by Alan and Kathy Bleznak,
Susan Bloom, John and Marianne Castle, Lawrence and Florence
DeGeorge, John and Lore Dodge, Richard and Shirley Fennell,
Joan Friedland, J. Ira and Nicki Harris, Sandra Heine, Howard
and Michele Kessler, H. Irwin and Ellen Levy, Hillie Mahoney,
Bill and Denise Meyer, Sanders and Sharon Orr, John and Bonnie
Osher, Alfred and Gilda Slifka and Leo and Kathryn Vecellio.
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