Center Theatre Group’s Light Up Los Angeles gala in April raised over $1.3 million in support of the Education & Community Partnerships program—the largest amount in the annual event’s history.
Attendees gathered for an evening not just under the stars but surrounded by them. This year’s Honorary Gala Co-Chairs included Angela Bassett & Courtney B. Vance, Anna Camp, Adam Rothenberg, and Cecily Strong. Attendees began the evening with a reception & dinner at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion. The Mark Taper Forum then hosted special appearances from Jesse Tyler Ferguson & Justin Mikita, Rachel Bloom, Brendan Hunt, Sadie Brickman Reynolds, Joey & Faith Soloway, and Michael Urie, along with some special performances.
Incoming Artistic Director Snehal Desai also made his first public remarks on the Taper stage. He spoke of the enduring legacy of Center Theatre Group and how he hopes to inspire others as he departs East West Players to lead Center Theatre Group into its next chapter.
“Change will come, but I do also want to acknowledge that all of this happens as we stand on the shoulders of giants,” he said. “I feel so privileged to stand before you, connecting two of the most iconic theaters not only in L.A., but in the country and some of the greatest leaders the American theatre has ever known.”
At the end of his speech, Desai asked that the house lights be raised so that the audience could be in view. “I see you,” he told the audience. “And thank you for seeing me.”
Many stars of both stage and screen performed throughout the evening as well. Deborah Cox and Cheyanne Jackson reunited to sing “Written in the Stars” from Aida—17 years after they performed alongside each other in the Broadway production. Carmen Cusack delivered a climactic performance of the titular song from Flying Over Sunset and George Salazar brought the house down with a performance from Joe Iconis’ The Untitled Unauthorized Hunter S. Thompson Musical. Culture Clash made audiences chuckle with a comedy performance. And Peppermint brought the audience to their feet with her performance of “Killing Me Softly.”
After the show, attendees and celebrities alike danced the night away on the Jeffrey Moss Plaza led by DJ Heidi Lawden. Take a look at some of the special moments of the evening!