Patrons at American Stage's opening night fundraiser and premiere of The Producers might as well have been watching the musical on Broadway. The acting, costumes, sets, choreography and direction were the same caliber as the show that won 12 Tony Awards in New York.
Of course, if they'd been in the Big Apple, there wouldn't have been a steady breeze blowing off the bay or the occasional small plane flying overhead in a starry sky toward Albert Whitted Airport.
Guests showed their appreciation for the hometown theater company by spending almost $90,000 on tickets and silent and live auction items. Funds raised will go for about 150 scholarships for youth to camps and other programs as well as finance field trips that allow thousands of area students to see live theater.
Raisin in the Sun and Much Ado About Nothing are among the shows students were exposed to this school year.
"The arts expand us. They connect us to one another. They engage us and make us forget our differences," said Stephanie Gularte, American Stage Producing Artistic Director. "An active arts community attracts the best and brightest workforce."
Guests and honorees filled St. Petersburg Country Club to take in the 2018 Men & Women of Distinction awards ceremony. The event was sponsored by the Gathering of Women.
"Each of these men and women has dedicated themselves towards helping others and they are role models and mentors for our next generation of leaders," said Samantha Richardson, president of the Gathering of Women. "It is our hope that knowing the accomplishments of our honorees, others will be inspired by their stories and fight to correct some of the problems facing us in our communities, in our education system, in our health system, and in our judicial system thereby, improving the quality of life for all of us."
Cody Clark received the Arts, Cultural & Heritage Award. Ladonna N. Butler won the Health & Awareness Award. Trinity Adams received the Young Woman of Distinction Award. Daniel Sanders received the Young Man of Distinction Award. Ron Diner was honored with the Humanitarian Award. Laura Bentz won the Community Activist & Leadership Award. Faye Dowdell won the Community Building & Public Service Award. Jimmy and Eddie Jean Roberts received the Volunteer, Advocacy & Community Leadership Award. Tangela Murph Bailey won the Business & Innovation Award. The Philanthropist Award went to Eileen Coogan. Yvonne Williams was honored with the Higher Education, Training & Development Award. Rohland Bryant received the Education, Training & Development Award. Wengay Newton and family won the Family of the Year Award. Christopher Lampley received the President's Award. Yvonne Reed-Clayton was honored with the Gwen Reese Lifetime Achievement Award.
More than 300 women didn't let a rainy night keep them from educating themselves on health issues and enjoying dinner, drinks and shopping at St. Anthony's Hospital's Ladies Night Out.
The St. Anthony's Hospital Gift Shop brought a wide array of clothes, jewelry and more to sell. The tables were staffed by St. Anthony's Hospital Auxiliary members including Roberta Yancey, Val Rankin and Kathy Midrowsky. Carol Russell commented that she shops at the gift shop for unique finds regularly, not just when she has another reason to be at the hospital.
Six physicians took a break from their day jobs to model clothes from Mis En Chic.
Katherine Snow Smith can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @snowsmith.