Red, Hot & Xanadu

Austin’s ZACH Theatre’s Red, Hot & Soul Brings The 80’s Cult Classic Movie To Life

By Rob Giardinelli
Photography By Tony Spielberg

With the launch of it’s latest production, Xanadu, over 700 of Austin’s hip, chic and fabulous gathered for Red Hot & Soul, always one of Austin’s most anticipated annual galas. The Xanadu theme paid homage to the 1980 camptastic movie starring Olivia Newton John and the era-attired guests did not disappoint, donning such ensembles as bold-colored dresses, spangled sequin shirts and of course, roller skates.

Chaired by two of Austin’s most prolific fundraisers, Bobbi Topfer and Larry Connelly, Red, Hot & Soul 2012 broke every fundraising record ZACH had ever set. The excitement in the community as ZACH heads into the new state-of-the-art Bobbi & Mort Topfer Theater in palpable at the Hilton hotel ballroom, and is a preview of the exciting things to come for the organization. The group’s producing artistic director Dave Steakley and managing director Elisbeth Challener spoke to raise excitement of the crowd and further explain the theater’s mission to the audience.

This year’s event began with a VIP cocktail hour, courtesy of Twin Liquors, where guests arrived showing off their camptabulous threads while mingling and with friends.  Attendees then proceeded to dinner where the tables were donned with roller skate centerpieces, set in candy Red Hot’s of course, designed by local floral czar David Kurio, while event producer Victoria Hentrich created her gala magic.

During dinner, the fun continued as the audience treated to both a arm-waving set of performances by ZACH’s current and veteran performers, which included a sneak peak of Xanadu and a mystical roller disco. With music by DJ Manny, along with a live auction featuring items such as a 100-point wine pairing dinner, a luxury weekend in Beverly Hills and a private concert with Anton Neal, the night was a huge success. Once the performances and live auction concluded guests danced the night away to classic disco tunes, capping off a perfect evening of fun, fantasy and fashion.


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