Press Release - Encore!

Event raises funds for theatre’s education and outreach programs

COSTA MESA, Calif.— Sept. 12, 2015, Encore!, South Coast Repertory’s 52nd Season Gala, went next door for a party unlike any other, set in three venues at The Westin South Coast Plaza—from park to ballroom to rooftop. Chaired by Emeritus Trustee Socorro Vasquez, the event that traditionally opens Orange County’s theatrical and social seasons is projected to raise net proceeds of $350,000 for SCR’s educational and outreach programs.

As guests emerged from their cars, they strolled along royal purple carpet into Town Center Park to be greeted beneath a dramatic Encore! marquee by Socorro and Ernesto Vasquez, along with Board President Sophia Hall Cripe and her husband, Larry, SCR’s Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Managing Director Paula Tomei.

Banners of purple, fuchsia and teal—the evening’s bold theme colors—waved above, and the Jet Set Quintet set the mood with its cool and swinging versions of old standards. During the lively reception guests sipped gold medal award-winning champagne by Le Grand Courtâge or the evening’s signature drink, a “mainstage martini” by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, as they mingled with old friends and new acquaintances.

The party flowed from the park, this time along turquoise carpet, and into the Plaza Ballroom, for dining and dancing to the bosso nova rhythms of Nova Music LA and a special performance by the Bling Divas, dancing to “Mambo Italiano” and Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.”

Ballroom entrances were replete with glamorous costumes from SCR productions, together with props and other design elements crafted by theatre artisans throughout the season. Inside, the ballroom was both intimate and theatrical, with luxurious white drapes and dramatic lighting. 

In this elegant setting, guest enjoyed a three course meal, with wines poured courtesy of Bluewater Grill, at tables draped in white with sparkling silver overlays and floral centerpieces of pink, blue and purple.

During the evening, Cripe, Tomei and Masterson acknowledged past Board Presidents Wylie Aitken, Damien Jordan, John O’Donnell and Tom Phelps, and led a round of applause for Founding Artistic Directors David Emmes and Martin Benson. Each of them extended personal thank-yous to Vasquez, the Gala committee and its generous patrons, who helped make Encore! a success.   

Accepting thanks on behalf of her committee, Vasquez reminded everyone, “Tonight you’ve seen the glorious results of their work, and, believe it or not, there’s more to come! Our Gala is an SCR production, so I want to congratulate everyone who helped us stage Encore! To all of them—and all of you—I’m happy to report that we’ve raised significant funds to help SCR present award-winning education and outreach programs that serve more than 23,000 Orange County students each season.”

After dinner, Vasquez announced that the Westin rooftop, transformed for the evening into a swinging nightclub, was ready for the next Encore! event. As the ballroom music faded, everyone headed for elevators that sped them to Club Encore!.

The Bling Divas were back—costumed in black fringed burlesque outfits to get the party going with their version of “Bang Bang,” a dynamic dance that segued from the Charleston to hip-hop. Then, with the mood set for them, Gala guests took to the dance floor.

Throughout the evening, partygoers took time out to sample Mangiamo gelato and ‘Lette macaroons, as they relaxed nearby on chic contemporary furniture by Room & Board. The comfortable lounge area was a perfect setting with candles and scents by Diptyque. Then, breaths caught, it was back to the dance floor, as encore followed encore into the night at one of the best parties ever, in celebration of South Coast Repertory.

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. 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. One-quarter of SCR’s 525 productions have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio.