Press Release - 2014 Gala Patron Party

South Coast Repertory's Patron Party Hosted by Sarah and Thom McElroy

COSTA MESA, CA – August 21, 2014. The highly anticipated kick-off party for South Coast Repertory’s 51st Season was a glorious evening by the sea, hosted by Sarah and Thom McElroy.

The annual event—the theatre’s Patron Party, which precedes the Gala and honors major donors—took place just weeks after the July issue of “Architectural Digest” hit the stands with a ten-page feature on the McElroy home. Designed by Steven Ehrlich at Ehrlich Architects, the house is a mid-century modern style home built around a central open-air courtyard with lots of glass doors that pocket to reveal dramatic ocean views.

According to Sarah, “Thom calls it the best party house in Laguna, and we do love throwing parties here. But we’re especially excited to host this event for donors to the upcoming ‘Grand Illusions’ Gala.”

Sarah was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2013, and this is her second season as a member of the Gala Committee. “Last year’s ‘50th Season Gala’ was so much fun that I jumped at the chance to serve on this year’s committee and found myself on the Graphics subcommittee as well as co-chairing Décor and Entertainment—and having a great time!”

Gala Chair Olivia Johnson agreed. “Making our Gala the most theatrically fun event of the season—that’s always our goal. With last year’s 50th Season extravaganza behind us, this was time the to make ours a whole new Gala, without losing all that we loved from the past. The bonus is having the beautiful SCR theatre facility and terrace where our talented artisans can shine and show off the theatre magic that only SCR can create. We've discovered—to our joy—that it’s the perfect venue for us and our Gala guests love being there, too!”

After being greeted by the McElroys, Patron Party guests strolled through the home, sampled hors d’oeuvres—by Crème de la Crème, set out in the expansive open kitchen—and sipped martinis courtesy of Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

As they enjoyed ocean views in the setting sun, guests chatted with Gala Committee members about the upcoming event, which, according to Graphics Chair Barbara Cline, is going to be all about smoke and mirrors—and lots of magic. “But we’re not saying much more. After all, surprise is part of the magic.” She did reveal that, once again, the Argyros Stage will be re-named. “For one night only, it will be transformed into ‘Club Argyros’ the best after-hours disco ever.”

And, we’re told (in secret) that there will be magic on the Segerstrom Stage.

The McElroy’s home itself reflected some of the Gala magic with its window walls that seemed to slide off and disappear, creating the illusion of being both outside and in. The cocktail tables, covered with grey and black chevron printed linen, were a spin off of the modern linen prints that Sarah—as Décor co-chair—chose for the upcoming event.

During brief welcoming remarks, SCR Board President Sophie Cripe thanked the McElroys for opening their grand home for the patron party and introduced Olivia, who acknowledged the Gala Committee and added, “Working together, this talented team has been able to pull visual excitement out of its magic hat and create an illusion-inspired September evening designed just for our honored Gala guests!”

Managing Director Paula Tomei spoke of the role played by Gala patrons in SCR’s success, noting that proceeds from the Gala supported SCR’s award-winning educational programs. She thanked the Gala Committee for making it all possible.

Artistic Director Marc Masterson added his thanks to one and all for the great beginning of SCR’s 51st Season. “I look forward to seeing you on Saturday night, September 13th, at the ‘Grand Illusions’ Gala.”

Gala Committee

Chair:  Olivia Johnson 
Underwriting Executive Committee Socorro Vasquez, Carl Neisser, Tom Rogers, William Weinberg

Bette Aitken (Cuisine co-chair; Hospitality co-chair), Ashleigh Aitken, Julianne Argyros, Kathryn Cenci, Barbara Cline (Graphics co-chair), Sophie Cripe (Décor & Entertainment co-chair), Gail Doe, Patricia Ellis, Valerie Fearns, Joan Fimiano, Barbara Glabman, Marlene Hamontree, Mimi Holcombe (Cuisine co-chair), Joan Kaloustian, Teri Kennady, Tracy Kirwan (Graphics co-chair), Elaine Krajanowski, Sarah McElroy (Décor & Entertainment co-chair), Pam Muzzy, Stacey Nicholas, Nancy Palmer (Cuisine co-chair), Nola Schneer, Jan Seitz Jashinski, Laurie Smits Staude (Hospitality co-chair), Ardelle St. George. Jane Taylor, Kathy Taylor, Julie Ann Ulcickas (Hospitality co-chair), and Elaine Weinberg

Guest List (updated)
Hosts:  Sarah and Thom McElroy

Bette and Wylie Aitken
Mary Ann Brown
Barbara and David Cline
Sophie and Larry Cripe
Mimi and Bob Holcombe
Jan Seitz Jashinski and Ralph Baumann
Olivia and Andrew Johnson
Yvonne and Damien Jordan
Tim Kay
Tracy and Roger Kirwan
Carolyn and Bill Klein
John Murphy
Ardelle St. George and Don Carnegie
Laurie Smits Staude
Tammy and Sam Tang
Jane and Richard Taylor
Barbara and Jack Tingley
Julie Ann and Jim Ulcickas
Elaine Weinberg

Artistic Director Marc Masterson
Managing Director Paula Tomei
Associate Artistic Director John Glore

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is led by Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Managing Director Paula Tomei. SCR is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. SCR is committed to theatre that illuminates the compelling personal and social issues of our time, not only on its stages but through its wide array of education and outreach programs. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theatre, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers and composers. Each year, it showcases some of country’s best new plays in the Pacific Playwrights Festival, which attracts theatre professionals from across the country. Of SCR’s more than 480 productions, one-quarter have been world premieres, whose subsequent stagings achieved enormous success throughout America and around the world. Two SCR-developed works have won Pulitzer Prizes, and another eight were named Pulitzer finalists. In addition, SCR works have won several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, California, SCR’s David Emmes/Martin Benson Theatre Center is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio. Today, SCR produces 13 shows and eight public readings each season. More information is available at