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Curtain Call on a Year of Giving

Raising $44,000 for an arts outreach program, guests upstaged the new year with an onstage bash at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.

January 06, 1998|ANN CONWAY

The scene: The third annual New Year's Eve Benefit, a black-tie bash that saw 200 guests ringing in 1998 onstage at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. The event was staged by Encore Circle, the theater's founding support group.

Midnight breakfast: The party got underway at 9 p.m., with guests sampling appetizers, bidding on auction items, "gambling" at gaming tables and watching a cabaret show until the clock struck twelve.

At midnight, the bubbly flowed and breakfast was served: a mouthwatering melange of eggs baked with salsa, mushrooms and Italian sausage. Strawberry blintzes and biscuits were also on the menu.

Guests watched as hundreds of balloons--many containing prizes--dropped from the ceiling. Scrambling to pop them, party-goers used forks and their elegantly shod feet. Among the prizes: certificates for dinners at local restaurants, theater tickets, hair-styling services and Newport Harbor boat tours.

Featured performers: Husband-and-wife artists Karen Benjamin and Alan Chapman--she's a mezzo-soprano; he's a pianist (and the voice of KUSC-FM 91.5 radio on weekday mornings)--serenaded guests with material composed by Chapman.

Highlight: the couple's sendup about whether one should celebrate New Year's Eve in New York or Irvine. Well, they sang "Irvine," of course!

Bottom line: Net proceeds of $44,000 will go toward the theater's ArtsReach education program for children and seniors. "We take professional artists who have performed at our theater and sponsor their appearances in local classrooms and community centers," said Michele Roberge, theater spokeswoman. "We want them to have the opportunity to have a personal introduction to the artists." The program reaches about 2,500 children and senior citizens annually.

Guest list: Chairwomen Joan Stover and Thelma Friedel; Rudy and Sandy Pollak; Sam and Pamela Goldstein; Tricia and Al Nichols; Mitzi and Lee Holmes; Doug Rankin and Leila Palmer; Richard and Ann Sim; Clarence and Suzanne Barker; Richard and Marcie Rodner; Peggy Goldwater Clay and Robert Clay; Noddie and Bill Weltner; Charlene and John Pasko; and Lila and Brad Olson.

Also attending were Delphi and Bob Ballinger; Ledge and Ginny Hale; Don and Linda Dressler; Joy Owens; and Ken and Amber Rohl.

What's Next: Valentine's Day benefit dinner and performance by Bill Cosby, Feb. 14. Tickets are $1,000. Information: (714) 854-4607.

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