The “Curtain Call Ball” is Le Petit Théâtre’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and the $150,000 raised at this year’s virtual gala will support the theater’s main stage season, live digital content and education program.
A video of Bryan Batt and Tom Cianfichi set the tone for the evening. This was followed by a welcome video by Co-Chairs Joey Brown and Dana Hansel in which they did a bit of acting themselves. Board of Governors Chairperson Kathleen Van Horn followed with a welcome video from her home. During their remarks, Executive Director Don-Scott Cooper and Artistic Director Maxwell Williams revealed Le Petit’s brand-new mobile stage.
Donors at the Backstage Level and up were provided wine, champagne and snacks from Martin Wine Cellar. Pianist Tom Hook and his band opened the show with a rousing rendition of “Down in New Orleans,” and Batt sang an emotional version of “Infinite Joy” from the musical of the same name.
Patrons agreed that the highlight of the evening was the performance of “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman by students from Le Petit’s Young Conservatory acting program. Staff collaborated with the students to film them both at home via Zoom and by themselves on stage, then edited the footage together to make it look as though the students were all performing on stage at once. A variety of actors (including Keith Claverie, Leslie Claverie, Ricky Graham, Taylor James, Rachel Looney, Meredith Owens, Adam Seagrave and Tomeka Williams) closed the show with a medley of songs that have been in musicals performed on Le Petit’s stage, accompanied by Jefferson Turner on piano.
The live auction saw spirited bidding for two items: a pair of art deco earrings from Friend & Company, and an original artwork by Tim Trapolin created exclusively for the Ball and donated by the artist in honor of Joey Brown and Dana Hansel: “Thunderhead, Avery Island Road.”
Mark Romig served as Emcee and Main Stage presenting sponsors were Friend & Company and The New Orleans Advocate | Times-Picayune | NOLA.com.
➺ Event at a Glance
What: “Curtain Call Ball,” benefiting Le Petit Théâtre
When: Thursday, September 10, 2020
Board of Governors Chairperson Kathleen Van Horn
Artistic Director Maxwell Williams and Executive Director Don-Scott Cooper
Bryan Batt and Tom Cianfichi enjoyed the gala at home
Auctioneer Mark Romig
Young Conservatory students performed “together” (each was filmed separately and videos were edited together to make it feel as though they were all on stage)