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ONCE AGAIN THE ANNUAL BENEFIT Gala was a sellout at Center Stage. Many of Baltimore's see-and-be-seen crowd -- including Lynn and Tony Deering, Terry Morgenthaler, Mark and Marjorie Rodgers Cheshire, Jay and Sharon Smith, Harold and Sarah Rojas, Will and Mayer Baker, Robert and Carolyn Wallace, Scot Spencer, John and Greta Peoples, Adam and Fredye Gross, Beth and Michael Falcone -- swirled around the theater lobby, enjoying cocktails and catching up with one another. So what makes this soiree so chi-chi?

"First of all, people are excited to support the cause, because it's such a gem for our city," said long-time supporter Carole Sibel.

"It's held on site. So you get to see where the plays are created and where they're performed. Where the costumes are made. Where the sets are made. So, it really gives it a very personalized feeling," explained Center Stage board member Suzan Garabedian.

Gala co-chair Melissa Chiasera pointed to the evening's entertainment as another big attraction. This year, Tony Award-winning actress and singer Lillias White presented a rollicking show of Cy Coleman tunes. But, she also touched on a certain bittersweet undertone to the evening: the upcoming departure of Center Stage's managing director Michael Ross.

Despite Ross' earlier requests for no special attention, White called him up on stage and serenaded him with "The Best is Yet to Come." The standing ovation for Ross was the longest of the night.

ONLINE Sloane Brown takes you to the party with a calendar of coming events and video reports at / scene


YOU MAY NOT HAVE HEARD OF Catonsville caterer Audrey Peter, but nationally renowned event planner Colin Cowie has. In fact, he's a big fan of her samoosas, the South African Indian specialties that she whips up in her kitchen and ships all over the country through her company, House of Audre. Peter and husband Martin Peter moved to Baltimore from South Africa in 1991, so that their young children, Robert and Claire, could be treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Both children had been diagnosed with a rare metabolic condition that left each with major neurological damage. Robert died in 1999. Claire attends the William S. Baer School, and just celebrated her 20th birthday.

What's the difference between your samoosas and Indian samosas?

It's a triangle. [My] pastry is crispy and filling is different because it has a blend of South African spices: Malaysian, Dutch, Indian and French all mixed together. ... I have a chili sauce that goes with them, too.

How many orders do you fill a day?

It varies. Generally 6-10 orders. And a minimum order is four dozen [samoosas]. But Claire is my priority. So, I work everything around her schedule.

Do you ever O.D. on the food you make for your business?

I don't eat a lot of it. But I enjoy it when I do.

Do you have a favorite food?

We don't eat a lot of steak at home. We eat lots of lamb. So when I go out, I like to eat a good steak.

ONLINE Read more of the conversation with Audrey Peter at / drink

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