Center Stage fund-raiser brought the house down

MARYLAND SCENE

Around Town

April 28, 2002|By Sloane Brown | By Sloane Brown,Special to the Sun

If they were still breaking down the decorations at 3:30 a.m., you know folks stayed late at this year's "Center Stage Presents." In other words, the party was a smash.

"It was our best [fund-raiser] ever," exclaims Center Stage board member Terry Morgenthaler, "for several reasons."

Reason No. 1: Terry says party chairs Phil and Denise Andrews did a bang-up job, helping to bring several new faces to the annual shindig. Faces with names attached like Mark and Mia Pesinis Jensen, Robert Bowie, Ann Brobst and Larry Yumkas. Other faces included those of: actor John Astin and wife Barbara, Center Stage board president Jim Brady, Lynn and Tony Deering, Sylvia and Eddie Brown, Susan and Brooks Leahy, the Orioles' Joe Foss and wife Dawn, Juliet Eurich, Lewis Thalheimer, Henry and Dot Rosenberg, Frank and Marla Reid, Suzi and David Cordish, Tom Wilcox, Theresa Colvin, and Baltimore police chief Ed Norris with wife Kate.

Reason No. 2: The evening's performer, Susan Egan. She is the original Belle in Broadway's Beauty and the Beast and star of Center Stage's own Triumph of Love, which she also did on Broadway.

"She's the ultimate Broadway baby," Terry says, "and she gave the most adorable, energetic and funny show, ... then she stayed for the entire dinner."

Reason No. 3: After dinner in five different dining spaces around the Center Stage building, the 500 guests headed to the Head Theatre for dessert, dancing and a scotch-tasting bar.

Oh. And then there was that more than $180,000 the party brought in for Center Stage.

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THE DECOR helped make the "Breath of Life Celebration 2002" a real winner. The theme this year for the annual shindig thrown by the American Lung Association of Maryland? "Ports of Call."

"As you came up the Hyatt Regency escalator, it was decorated to look like you were entering a huge cruise ship," event co-chair Diane Macklin explains, "Then, you walked through a huge life preserver into the ballroom."

Once there, the 400 guests had their choice of several "ports" -- food stations decorated as a pagoda (The Orient), an igloo (Alaska), ancient ruins (Greece).

"Every year, people say they don't think the party can get any better," Diane notes, "and every year it does."

This year, the party raised about $115,000 for the Lung Association.

***

SPEAKING OF WINNERS, you might catch a glimpse of local contractor Tom Carolan tooling around town in his new 2002 BMW convertible -- the ultimate raffle prize he just won at "Steppin' Out to Disco" -- the annual fundraiser for TurnAround, Inc.

Some 700 people came to the hullabaloo at the Hyatt Regency, including all the event's past honorees: Sandy and Johnny Unitas, Gail and Lenny Kaplan, and Cindi and Denny Mather.

The party raked in more than $60,000 for TurnAround.

***

LOOKS LIKE St. Joseph Medical Center's "Joe's Blue Moon Casino" was a hit.

Party chair Nahid Ghiladi says about 200 folks came to the Holiday Inn Select in Timonium to play casino style games and raise about $30,000 for Women's Services at the hospital.

***

AND SOPRANO Amanda Gosier brought the house down at the Annapolis Opera's "29th Annual Opera Gala." The second-place winner at the opera company's recent vocal competition performed arias from La Boheme and Porgy and Bess, accompanied by Annapolis Opera artistic director Ron Gretz.

Some 80 supporters were at the Sheraton Barcelo Hotel to cheer her on, including party chair Barbara Roodevoets. The fete brought in about $5,000 for Annapolis Opera.

Chancellor's retirement party

It was quite the send-off for the retiring University System of Maryland chancellor. Some 530 of Donald N. Langenberg's closest friends gathered at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel to celebrate his 12 years at the helm of the state's university system. The party also heralded the creation of the Langenberg Lecture -- a new series that will bring speakers to Maryland to address various education issues.

Folks mingled in the mezzanine for cocktails, as waiters gave final touches to a ballroom filled with dining tables -- each enhanced with centerpieces of dazzling orange-edged yellow roses.

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