Press Release - ​2016 Gala Paton Party


South Coast Repertory's Patron Party Hosted by Bette and Wylie Aitken

COSTA MESA, CA – August 18, 2016.  The highly anticipated kick-off party for “Stagestruck!”, South Coast Repertory’s 2016 Gala, was a glorious evening by the sea, hosted by Bette and Wylie Aitken at their Newport Beach home.

Known as the Patron Party, this always-elegant gathering honors major donors and puts partygoers in a celebratory mood for the upcoming Gala.  According to Bette, “Our very first official event here at the beach was an SCR Patron Party.  Now, five years later, we thought it was time for another bash, so we’re revving up the excitement which we expect will continue until the night of ‘Stagestruck!’”

Traditionally, the SCR Gala opens Orange County’s theatrical and social seasons, as it will do for the 38th time at The Westin South Coast Plaza on September 10, 2016.

And if anyone can rev up excitement, it’s the Aitkens.  So it was with great enthusiasm that Gala underwriters gathered at their home to celebrate the official beginning of SCR’s 53rd  season. As they strolled through the beach house accented with orchid florals, guests enjoyed tray-passed hors d’oeuvres and lingered at the elaborate dining table display provided by Mark’s Catering before drifting toward the lawn—the place to be on a glorious summer night.

Sipping cocktails as the sun set over the ocean, committee members shared a few details about the Gala.  Everyone agreed “Stagestruck” will be highly theatrical, featuring vignettes from some of  SCR’s most memorable shows, complete with costumes created by world-renowned designers and props displaying the fine workmanship of the theatre’s talented artisans.  

During the event, Gala attendees will be encouraged to take selfies at the vignettes, post them to social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and then watch them appear on giant screens for everyone to enjoy.  According to committee member Olivia Johnson, “We’re taking our Gala into the world of social media—for the first time!  That’s a special treat for everyone to enjoy—along with the performance by SCR Theatre Conservatory graduate and Broadway star, Nicole Parker.”

 During brief welcoming remarks, Managing Director Paula Tomei thanked the Aitkens for their continuing support and saluted the Gala patrons for their generous underwriting, noting that proceeds from the annual event support SCR’s award-winning educational program and artistry onstage.

Tomei was followed by Executive Chair Sarah J. (Sally) Anderson, who thanked her committee for working together to create an event that was both intimate and grand, theatrical and modern.

Artistic Director Marc Masterson added his thanks to one and all for the great beginning of SCR’s 53rd Season.  “I look forward to seeing you on Saturday night, September 10th, at the ‘StageStruck!’ Gala.” 


Gala Committee
Sally J. Anderson, Executive Chair  (Underwriting Chair)
Ashleigh Aitken, Bette Aitken (Cuisine Co-chair), Julianne Argyros, Kathryn Cenci, Barbara Cline (Graphics Co-chair), Sophie Hall Cripe (Décor and Entertainment Co-chair), Rita Dailey, Gail Doe, Audrey Greenfield, Maralou Harrington, Susie Hecht (Décor and Entertainment Co-chair), Olivia Johnson (Hospitality Chair), Deirdre Kelly (Cuisine Co-chair), Shannon Kennedy, Tracy Kirwan, Elaine Krajanowski, Sarah McElroy (Graphics Co-chair), Kay Mortenson Kelly, Sue Murphy, Talya Nevo-Hacohen, Stacey Nicholas, Laurie Smits Staude, Jane Taylor, Julie Ann Ulcickas (Cuisine Co-chair), Socorro Vasquez

Guest List
Sally Anderson, Barbara and David Cline, Nancy and Victor Dahan, Jill Glick, Audrey and Robert Greenfield, Mimi and Flynn Justice, Deidre Kelly, Kay Mortenson Kelly and R. Kelly Kelly, Shannon Kennedy and Paul Gadbut, Olivia and Andy Johnson, Yvonne and Damien Jordan, Elaine and David Krajanowski, Bill Schenker, Jim Scheinkman and Cindy Eden, Jackie and Shaun Skeris, Stephanie Howard, Tammy and Sam Tang, Barbara and Jack Tingley, Elaine Weinberg
Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Managing Director Paula Tomei

Sarah J. Anderson, executive chair
Sally and husband, Tom Rogers, are subscribers to First Nights on both stages, longtime Gala supporters and donors to the Endowment and Legacy Campaigns.  Tom served nine years on the Board and is an Emeritus Trustee.  They have been Honorary Producers of the Pacific Playwrights Festival for seven consecutive seasons.  Sally retired as Managing Partner Ernst & Young after more than 24 years with the firm.

Bette and Wylie Aitken, Patron Party hosts
Wylie served on the Board of Trustees for ten years, the last two (2009 and 2010) as president, and Bette is in her sixth year as a trustee. They have supported the Gala for more than 25 years and hosted three Patron Parties.  Bette chaired the 2006 and 2009 Galas and was a vice chair of the 50th Season Gala.  The Aitkens are First Nights subscribers, Platinum Circle members and major contributors to SCR’s Next Stage and Legacy Campaigns.  They have underwritten eight SCR productions, including six world premieres, and served as Honorary Producers of two Pacific Playwrights Festivals.   


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. www.scr.org