A gem of an evening
Ann Conway
September 28, 2003

The original article was published by
Los Angeles Times.

In an over-the-top stroke of scene setting, South Coast Repertory transformed a parking lot into a slice of the Big Apple for its 40th anniversary gala, “Supper at Tiffany.”.

Gone were the automobiles that usually jam the spaces outside Tiffany & Co. at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. In their place: a verdant landscape a la Central Park, complete with iron benches, twinkle-lighted trees and a glimmering, flower-rimmed pond.

And that was for starters. No sooner had guests mingled alfresco than they were ushered through French doors — meant to evoke Manhattan’s famed Tavern on the Green restaurant — fronting a voluminous, cream-carpeted white tent swagged with white satin and hung with crystal chandeliers. Gloved waiters in white dinner jackets hovered over tables crowned with sprays of white roses and calla lilies. A white lacquer dance floor anchored the space. And gold-framed photographs from SCR productions lined the walls.

The tent’s white-on-white decor was meant to evoke the entertaining style of “the early ’60s, when Jacqueline Kennedy was in the White House and everything was done with elegance,” said Dee Higby, event co-chair with her husband, Larry Higby.

A champagne toast to SCR founders David Emmes and Martin Benson capped the Sept. 20 soiree, which netted a record-setting $500,000 for the Tony Award-winning theater. “They are quick to thank the artists and staff for this achievement and very quick to thank the members of the community for supporting their endeavors,” arts philanthropist Henry Segerstrom told guests after they’d polished off prawns, petite filets and pyramids of chocolate. “But tonight, we say back to them: You have earned our support. Martin and David, thanks for bringing the magic of theater into our lives.”

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