Red Hot & Soul Attracts National Talent And Raises Record Funds

By Rob Giardinelli
Photography by Charles Quinn Photography

THE SCENE: Over four hundred of Austin’s cultural elite descended upon the Zachary Scott Theatre for a night at the theatre that its attendees would not soon forget. ZACH’s annual Red, Hot & Soul gala pulled out all the stops for an evening of great food, dazzling company and most of all, mesmerizing performances.

The festivities kicked off in the foyer of the Bobbi and Mort Topfer Theatre where guests engaged in a lively VIP Reception where sociables had their chance to mingle with the performers, which included Austinite-turned Broadway star Nicholas Rodriguez and Andrew Rannells, the current star of Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It was the ultimate full-circle moment for Rannells, who came home to ZACH thirteen years after his first star-turning performance in Hedwig at the Austin theatre. The action then moved to the Bobbi Pavilion for a meal catered by The Four Seasons, while members of the ZACH’s Pre-Professional Company performed numbers that seamlessly flowed into the live auction, where bid-winners were serenaded with champagne and confetti poppers to celebrate their recent purchases.

THE VIBE: Guests proceeded to the Topfer Theatre, where they were treated to a show of electric performances that got the crowd on their feet for some Uptown Funk as well as numbers from next season’s production of Evita. Rannells performed a number from The Book of Mormon, and the night was capped off with the announcement that Jennifer Holiday, star of the original Dreamgirls, will be playing the lead in Sophisticated Ladies at ZACH this summer. The Sophisticated Ladies theme of the evening created an eclectic vibe of chic where ladies who donned ball gowns, vintage attire and cocktail dresses dazzled among the men who donned their own sophistication black tie optional looks. After the performances, the night concluded in the Topfer Theatre where party-goers danced well into the night at the after-party hosted by Robert Brown and Dennis Karbach.

THE CAUSE: The sophisticated evening was co-chaired by Bobbi Topfer along with Jade Ausley, Mindy Bakker Brown, Joanie Schoener Bentzin, Deborah Corbin, Ronda Gray, Deborah Green, Amy Mills, Teri Potts, Annette Renaud, Tiffany Stillwell, Sherri West and Irene Williams. It raised almost $700,000 for ZACH Theatre, a nationally acclaimed performance venue that annually serves over 115,000 central Texans, 50,000 of whom are children participating in ZACH’s various education and outreach programs.

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