The Center Theatre Group Affiliates’ Angels’ Cabaret was an evening of surprises and laughter for the 270 donors, supporters, and friends who filled the ballroom at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel in Bel-Air on April 18, 2016.
After dinner, Affiliates President Anne Bruner, event chair Marilyn Stambler, and the evening’s honoree, Mary Levin Cutler, took the stage to thank guests and discuss why they support Center Theatre Group. Cutler, an actress, ethnomusicologist, and lifelong theatre lover, talked about how proud she was to be honored by Center Theatre Group, noting that being named “Guardian Angel” by the Affiliates “feels like getting an Academy Award.”
After receiving an introduction from Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder cast members took over the stage to perform a truly unique cabaret show proving that John Rapson (who plays eight D’Ysquith heirs in the national tour that closed last month at the Ahmanson Theatre) is not the only actor in the company who can gender bend with aplomb. In Miscast: Songs We’ll Never Do From Roles We’ll Never Play, the Gentleman’s Guide actors performed their favorite show tunes—sung by the opposite sex. Accompanied by a live band and infused with personal touches, performances like Kristen Beth Williams and Adrienne Eller’s rendition of “Agony” (Into the Woods) and David Scott Purdy’s mash-up of “The Man I Love/My Man” (An American in Paris/Funny Girl) took down the house.
Between numbers, Angels’ Cabaret director Chuck Ragsdale shared some personal—often humorous—stories of the cast’s first theatrical experiences to highlight the significance of arts education in their lives, including an illegal fifth grade production of The Phantom of the Opera and a Raggedy Ann and Andy performance that skipped several pages of dialogue by accident.
“The performances were terrific, our donors and guests were wonderfully generous, and the Angels’ Cabaret exceeded our wildest expectations,” said Affiliates President Anne Bruner. “We are proud to continue our tradition of supporting Center Theatre Group’s amazing education and community programs.”