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Lifestyle

Scene & Heard: Center Stage gala

Stephen Richard, Ava Carter and Ash Carter attended the Center Stage gala. The lobby of Center Stage was jammed with glamorous looking people at its "26th annual Benefit Gala."

"Everyone looks so spectacular. We don't have people like that in the Pentagon," said Ashton Carter, gala co-chair with wife Stephanie Carter, referring to his "day job" as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense.

This year, the event celebrated the history and future of Baltimore's largest regional theater.

"It's a special evening, especially since we're at beginning of our 50th anniversary year. And what better time than to honor the former managing director, Peter Culman?" said Jay Smith, board president, referring to the man who had steered the non-profit for 32 years, retiring in 2000. Forget the passed hors d'oeuvres. The guest of honor had his hands full greeting an almost nonstop flow of well-wishers, and that was delicious enough.

"It feels scrumptious. Isn't it terrific because these people love theater?" said Culman, who would later receive a standing ovation from the crowd during the evening's performance program.

For actor Delroy Lindo -- who performed a monologue for the gathering -- Center Stage was an important part of his personal history, when he starred in "Miss Ever's Boys" there in 1989-90.

"Baltimore will have a special place in my heart because it's where I met my wife of 21 years," he said.

The shindig also marked the first under a new leadership team -- that of artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah and managing director Stephen Richard.

"It's absolutely remarkable. We're completely sold out. I'm astounded. It just doesn't get any better in terms of community support," Richard said.

Brian Comes, Tower Federal Credit Union human resources manager, explained that support -- and why this room hosted so many of Baltimore's business and social VIPs.

"We don't need New York, D.C., or [to go anywhere] abroad. We have Center Stage in our own backyard," he said.

And then there was the draw that was the party itself.

"It's a wonderful occasion. [This gala] is never dull. It's not stiff," said Elizabeth Dausch, community volunteer, there with her husband Bill Dausch, Woodbrook Capital vice president.

-- Sloane Brown

Photo by Colby Ware, Special to The Baltimore Sun
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