Harry Connick, Jr. Lights Up the Broward Center Stage for the
Broward Performing Arts Foundation Annual Celebration
Funds raised benefit education and enrichment programs of the Center
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It was an evening of highlights, and the brightest of all was Harry Connick, Jr. who lit up the stage at the Broward Performing Arts Foundation’s Annual Celebration. The event, presented by Dr. Lee and Brigitte Mandel and the South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center, raised $678,000 for the education and enrichment programs of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
There were enough special moments to keep guests entertained all evening long. They started with a pre-show cocktail reception on the Wendt Terraces at the Huizenga Pavilion before moving into the Au-Rene Theater for Connick’s spectacular performance. Once in the theater, it was like old times with a full house and an audience eager to celebrate the return of live performances. It had been two long years, and people were ready to party.
After the performance, as the stage was being transformed into an elegant supper club, guests were served champagne at their seats and Broward Performing Arts Foundation chair Richard Welch, Foundation president Lisa Kitei and Broward Center president & CEO Kelley Shanley spoke to them from the stage. Welch proposed a toast to the return of live theater and the resiliency of the Broward Center staff. “Congratulations to everyone who made this possible,” he said. “Let’s have some fun tonight.”
Kitei and Shanley both recognized the supporters of the Center. Kitei thanked the Celebration sponsors, underwriters and guests. “The people in this room are the people who kept us going every night, not just tonight, and for that we are very grateful,” she said. Shanley, too, spoke of the important role played by the Center’s supporters and staff in getting through the pandemic. “We got here with the help of our friends,” he said. “We are able to enjoy this evening together because of all the people who believed in us and did what they needed to do in order to bring us to the other side.”
At the conclusion of his remarks, Shanley announced dinner by saying, “We are coming down to pick you up and take you on stage with us.” And to the cheers of more than 350 guests, the thrust of the stage was lowered, the curtain was raised, and everyone stepped onstage to enjoy dinner and dancing for the rest of the evening.
The Annual Celebration was an early success with more than 30 tables sold within three weeks of announcing the event. In addition to the presenting sponsor, Dr. Lee and Brigitte Mandel, South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center, gold sponsors included Beverly and Joel Altman, AutoNation, Ann M. Burris, Linda Haller, Michelle Howland and S. Donald Sussman, Salah Foundation, Richard and Christine Welch and Deborah and Gary Wendt. Silver sponsors were BBI, BBX Capital, Marty and Terri Cole, Conrad & Scherer, Goldman Sachs, Greenspoon Marder LLC., Gunster, Richard Herter and Dennis Baney, the Ingham Family, Northern Trust, Charlie and Laura Palmer, Peck Foundation-Milwaukee, Stiles, Thomas Family Foundation, Douglas and Linda Von Allmen, Weston Volvo Cars and Weston Nissan, Mark and Linda Wilford and Kristin and Jake Wurzak. Program sponsor was Starmark; beverage sponsor was Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits; and the gift sponsor was Lalique.
For more than 25 years, the Broward Performing Arts Foundation has been instrumental in providing support for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The Foundation was established in 1985 to deliver the required private funding to build the Center and create an endowment to sustain its operations. Over the years, the Foundation has successfully raised funds to support the Broward Center’s innovative and diverse programming, arts-in-education initiatives, community engagement activities and capital projects. The Foundation recently completed a $30 million capital campaign to renovate and restore the iconic Parker Playhouse. Prior to this, it raised $60 million to complete the Encore! capital campaign to renovate, renew and revitalize the Broward Center campus.
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