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First-Nighters Praise Debuts of 2 Stores

October 28, 1986|JODY BECKER

Just another opening night in Costa Mesa? Maybe to the uninitiated. But the new Broadway department store opening Saturday night at South Coast Plaza was a social circuit must.

Henry and Renee Segerstrom were there, of course. And so were Costa Mesa city officials including Mayor Norma Hertzog and Councilwoman Arlene Schaefer, South Coast Repertory guilds president Caroline Le Plastrier and Norma McGrody of the Newport Beach Junior League. Mike and Ann Dixon (he co-chaired the event for the guilds' Cabaret chapter) were there. Miss America, Kellye Cash, and H. Michael Hecht, the Broadway's chief executive officer, were also both on hand.

About 3,000 people--most in black tie and beaded evening wear--attended the debut, which doubled as a fund-raiser for three local philanthropies: the Cabaret chapter of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, the guilds of South Coast Repertory and the Junior League of Newport Beach, which each stood to pull in $15,000 from the evening's events.

The crowd, which quickly occupied all three floors, alternately munched on Texas-style Mexican fare near the racks of Ton Sur Ton, dined at tables displaying dinner suits and tried to get the live mannequins to giggle.

There was something odd about oysters and earrings being offered at the same counter. But the setup proved convenient for one party-goer in particular, a man who arrived unaware of the dress code and hastily purchased a tux in the men's department.

A few aisles away, Cajun crawfish were being swallowed with champagne chasers, while upstairs, pears in puffed pastry, brownies and fruit tartlets were the taste treats, as a '50s-style band had the crowd swinging.

What made this opening night different? No one at the other opening night (last month, across the street at the Performing Arts Center) was crowding around a bank of television sets trying to catch the sixth game of the World Series, while eating pieces of pizza off plastic plates. One had the feeling that a lot of these folks were reluctant to leave their living rooms but managed to re-create the atmosphere here.

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