There were galas galore for the new Head Theater


IT SEEMS THAT hardly anyone could have been left out of th many openings last week for the Head Theater at Center Stage. Tuesday was "Construction Night," and many who worked on the project over the last 18 months were invited for a tour before seeing the play, "The Heliotrope Bouquet by Scott Joplin and Louis Chauvin." Plus, they enjoyed a dessert reception after the show.

Movers and shakers with this group were Tom McCracken and Dave Grabowski from Henry Lewis Contractors; architects Craig Hoopes, Steve Ziger and Jamie Snead; and Richard Pilbrow, from Theater Projects, an international company that designs theaters.

Wednesday night, it was AT&T;'s turn, because it was AT&T; that helped produce the theatrical production, which will run through April 7. Al Wann and Dick Birkmeyer were among the AT&Ters; who took the opportunity to entertain their important clients in style.

Thursday night was government night, and politicos were out in full force, led by Gov. William Donald Schaefer; Claire List, representing Mayor Kurt Schmoke; Sen. and Mrs. Paul Sarbanes; NEA rep Jeanne Hodges; and many others.

The Friday night gala was for Center Stage trustees and individual and corporate contributors. After a tour, most of the guests gathered in the fourth-floor rehearsal hall for a divine meal prepared by the Classic Catering People. Everything was done to perfection under the watchful eye of Gail Kaplan.

Martha Head, the star of the show, so to speak, arrived at the official opening of the Head Theater with her daughter, Guerin Olsen, who's expecting a baby this week. The theater was named for Mrs. Head and her husband, Howard, of ski and tennis racket fame.

Unfortunately, Howard was in the hospital recuperating from open heart surgery and could not attend. Mrs. Head told me that he is doing very well and was quite chipper when she left the hospital.

Nearby were Richard and Esther Pearlstone, of the Pearlstone family for whom another theater at Center Stage is named; Peter and Sita Culman, he's the managing director of Center Stage; George and Betsy Hess, he runs the Meyerhoff Trust Foundation since selling Hess Shoes; Eric Overmyer, who wrote "The Heliotrope Bouquet"; Stan Wojewodski, Center Stage artistic director; Irene Lewis, who will be the acting artistic director, and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Fergenson, trustee.

Others I spotted wandering though the theater were Mr. and Mrs. Earl Linehan, Mr. and Mrs. Steve Seymour, Mr. and Mrs. John Hess, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Frisch, Mr. and Mrs. Bart Harvey, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Voelkel with several members of their family, and Geralynn Smyth.

Lots of beautiful people who were royally entertained in a beautiful new addition to Center Stage.

The Alvin Ailey Dancers played to full houses at the Mechanic Theatre last week. Opening night was a glitzy fund-raiser for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Foundation of Maryland. Among the underwriters of the evening were Margaret Armstrong, Secretary Economic and Business Development, and Mrs. Randy Evans; Secretary of Personnel for the state, Hilda Ford, who looked great in a flowing green caftan; Rep. Kweisi Mfume; Mr. and Mrs. Decatur Miller; Dana Karangelen, Baltimore city assistant state's attorney; and Dr. Nina Rawlings.

Opening night attracted many of its patrons -- Mr. and Mrs. Ray Haysbert, Mr. and Mrs. Roger Redden, Dr. and Mrs. Linwood Ivey, Councilwoman Jacqueline McLean and her husband, James, and a host of others.

After the performance, many of the guests headed to the Omni Hotel to rub elbows with the stars at a gala cast party.

Sylvia Badger's column now appears Tuesdays and Fridays in The Evening Sun.

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