By Maddy Dowler
Arizona Broadway Theatre’s (ABT) 7th Annual Broadway Ball was a spectacular affair overflowing with champagne, chandeliers, guests wearing their very best, live performances, and loads of fun! ABT’s annual event brought out over 300 attendees on Saturday, February 29, 2020, and raised over $140,000 in support of the theatre’s artistic and educational programs. The festivities included a live auction featuring a Viking River Cruise, Sedona “Cool Down” summer get-away, an exclusive in-home dinner for eight featuring ABT’s talented culinary and service team, a silent auction, the all-new “Bubbles & Barrels” sparkling wine and whiskey tasting experience, “Gift Card Frenzy,” and the very popular “Wine Pull.”
Co-emceeing with Brad York, ABT’s Director of Marketing & Development, was Susan Casper, host of ABC15’s Sonoran Living. Susan joined ABC15 in 2008 as an anchor and reporter before moving to Sonoran Living, the longest-running television lifestyle show in Phoenix. Susan is an executive board member of Dress for Success Phoenix and a founding member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Phoenix Metropolitan Chapter. Susan and Brad used an interview-style format with ABT co-founders and Executive & Artistic Producers Kiel & Cassandra Klaphake as well as Associate Artistic Director Kurtis Overby to give Broadway Ball attendees an “insiders” look at the theatre’s mission, vision, educational plans & goals, artistic successes stories, and its influence and impact in Arizona and on the national stage.
Not only was the night informational and inspirational, it was also filled with spectacular music from ABT’s Mainstage shows. The cast of La Cage aux Folles kicked-off the program portion of the evening performing the show’s opening number and the evening wrapped-up with the talented Tiffany Sparks and Liz Fallon, leads in ABT next Mainstage offering, Chicago (Mar 13 – Apr 19), impressing the audience with “Nowadays” and “Hot Honey Rag” from the show.
HyRev, ABT’s teen performance troupe, brought the house down with their high-energy renditions of “Cross the Line” from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical Bring It On and “A Million Dreams” from the film The Greatest Showman. The versatile group also performed a memorable version of Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” HyRev teens will benefit specifically from the $16,000 raised for scholarships to help defray the cost of employing the youth in the Mainstage shows for which they will audition and be cast.
“The theme of this year’s Ball was ‘Raising the stars of tomorrow!’ said Brad York, Dir. of Marketing & Development. “Be it the next big Broadway star or the next star in the classroom, boardroom, on Wall Street or in the ER, ABT’s Academy for Young Performers and HyRev programs provide pre-teen and teen youth with not only the skills to become the best singers, actors and dancers they can be, but also, practical life-learning skills such as self-expression, team building, and critical thinking – quite simply, becoming the best human beings they can be!”
Corporate sponsors for the evening included “Tony Award” sponsors A.L.S.REM, Arrowhead Cadillac, Midwestern University, New Valley Construction, and Renew Dental; “42nd Street” sponsors The Jason Mitchell Real Estate Group, Red Bird Farms, Sun Health, Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat, Warren & Delores Huebner, and Birt & Louisa Kellam. Table sponsorships for this year’s Broadway Ball reached record numbers, which was vital in assuring the success of the event.