On Sept. 22, more than 200 supporters of Rubicon Theatre celebrated the company’s 20th anniversary with “A Night of Enchantment,” a sold-out gala event at the theatre and in a magical tent on Laurel Street.
Presented in association with Visionary Sponsors Janet and Mark L. Goldenson and Barbara Meister guests were welcomed by forest fairies and woodland sprites (young people from Rubicon’s education programs in costumes and make-up by Sheryl Jo Bedal) and living vines (a professional stilt-walker costumed in greenery).
Main Course California provided the catering, which began with champagne and medieval themed hors d’oeuvres, beautifully displayed in fall colors with a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, nuts, artisanal cheeses, fresh-baked breads and meats.
While guests visited during the cocktail hour, miniature models of many of the Rubicon sets were on display in the lobby and at the edge of the stage in the theatre. The models were created by Set Designer Thomas S. Giamario, one of the honorees during the evening.
Once guests were seats, Emmy Award-winner Joe Spano was introduced as emcee for the evening by announcer Jack Clarke. The onstage program then opened with Tony Honoree Ben Davis (Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme) singing an exquisite rendition of, appropriately, “Some Enchanted Evening” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, the show that closes Rubicon’s 20th Season later this year. (It was later announced that Davis has signed on as Frenchman Emile De Becque in Rubicon’s production. Davis’ other Broadway credits include Les Misérables (Enjolras and then Javert in the revival), Violet and A Little Night Music.
A 20-year video retrospective was then presented to attendees, narrated by basso profundo George Ball, who assayed the role of Lear earlier in the company’s season.
More music was presented with the following wonderful performers:
- New York City Opera and Metropolitan Opera star Lauren Flanigan
- Joan Almedilla, whose Broadway credits include Fantine in Les Misérables and Kim in Miss Saigon. She just completed the National Tour of The King at I as Lady Thiang.
- Golden Globe Award-Winner Amanda McBroom, best known for her song “The Rose” and her performances in Other Desert Cities, A Delicate Balance and other Rubicon shows.
- Broadway star and Helen Haynes Award-Winner Tami Tappan Damiano (Ellen in Miss Saigon).
- David Burnham (the original Fiyero in the workshop of Wicked, and Helen Hayes Award-winner for The Light in the Piazza).
- Tony Nominee Lucas Steele (Anatole in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway).
- Singer/Songwriter and Producer David Bowick, son-in-law of John Bennett Perry, one of the honorees.
- The dignitaries and celebrities who made presentations included Gregory Harrison, Jeff Kober, Linda Purl, Tom Astor, Russell Pyle, Jonathan Prince, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, Ted Neeley and Rubicon co-founder James O’Neil.
Special awards were presented to the following:
- Innovation Award to Michael Jackowitz for co-producing World Premieres at Rubicon and creating new and unique partnerships between Rubicon and other non-profit and for-profit partners.
- Artistic Achievement Award to Jenny Sullivan for Direction.
- Artistic Achievement Award Presentation to John Bennett Perry for acting.
- Artistic Achievement Award to Thomas S. Giamario for set design.
- Visionary Award to Randy Encinas and Doug Halter, Stephanie and Joe Murray for having the foresight to purchase and renovate the building and giving Rubicon Theatre Company a launching place and a home.
- Doug Halter then spoke about his vision for the future of Rubicon.
A fantasy auction was hosted by Art Curator Hunter O’Hanian and Rubicon’s new Executive Director Jeffry George. Packages included Golfing With The Stars at Spanish Hills Country Club and Las Posas Country Club, and Enchanted Forest Retreat Villa Gatos Musical, and a Broadway packages called “Six Degrees of Separation With Harry Potter” including tickets to to Harry Potter, the new Daniel Radliffe show on Broadway , and a stay at the Paramount Times Square. Guests donated and pledged $30,000+ during that portion of the evening.
Event Chair Kathie Hira was thanked and presented with roses for the work done by Kathie and the amazing committee. Guests then adjourned to the tent, which looked like an ancient enchanted forest wonderland in deep green, midnight blue and aborigine colors. The tent was draped with flowing materials and grapevine lights illuminated the tables, lounge areas and velvet seating. The rentals were by Ventura Rental Center and lighting by The Mix. Many comments were made about the unique and delicious food by Main Course California Catering. A Golden Spatula Cake Competition was held and after voting for their favorite theatrical cake guest were able to eat the cakes.
Rubicon Theatre Company
1006 E. Main St. 805-667-2900 rubicontheatre.org