Pasadena Playhouse Fundraiser Opened Backstage Door to Donors

Sheila Grether-Marion, left, Lena Kennedy, and Becky Baeling LithgowPatrick Fabian, left, Betsy Brandt, Jane Kaczmarek, and Danny FeldmanAbel Ramirez, left, Darrell Brooke, and Peggy EbrightMeta and Jay Berger, and Bingo RoncelliMarylou Boone, and Robert LeClairLena Kennedy and Danny FeldmanJohn C. ReillyJane Kaczmarek,left, and Betsy BrandtMelora HardinMatthew Lillard

By DAVID CROSS | Photography by JAMES CARBONE

4:25 pm | June 17, 2019


[Updated] Pasadena Playhouse held an on-site fundraiser June 10 for which spokeswoman Nancy Baxter has no specific figures to share, although her pleasure at the night’s proceedings is palpable.

“It was a success from our perspective,” said Baxter, whose title is director of development. “We had over 100 people come out. We were at full capacity on stage, for the way it was configured, which presented an opportunity to really see if the concept would work as a fundraiser for the Playhouse.”

The event was called Celebrity Game Night. It involved speed charades played by teams of celebrities set up on stage.

Attendees were treated to a VIP party beforehand that was set up as a scene shot. Entering through the alley, they were guided down a red-carpeted ramp and into the backstage world, complete with chandeliers for gothic-theatrical ambience.

The soiree was pulled off with the collaboration of Art Deco Entertainment. El Portal Restaurant did the catering and secured the patronage of Patron Tequila to ensure that margaritas were available to wash down what they were cooking up at the taco bar.

That was backstage. Later, guests where shuffled onto the stage itself. “And so they got a really different perspective on the Playhouse and we had tables set up surrounding the whole stage that we made for the celebrities to play from,” Baxter explained.

All seventh graders in Pasadena Unified School District are invited to see a theatrical production at the Playhouse annually. Through the lines opened by that program, Wilson Middle School’s drum corps let its availability be known.

“They were incredible. It was a big surprise for our guests,” said Baxter. “And the drum corps appeared up in the balcony area. It was dark and then all of a sudden the lights went on in that area and the drum corps went to town. They were very loud.”

Playhouse staff are still counting beans, but no matter the final fundraising tally, a party was thrown, “and people had a good time,” said Baxter, and isn’t that what a party’s all about?