|"Special to the New York Social Diary"
Last Saturday, the Houston Ballet kicked off a new season with the 2008 Houston Ballet Ball, which was held in the Grand Foyer of the Wortham Theater Center. Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, the sponsoring chairs of the evening, invited Houston’s elite to celebrate one of the city’s most glittering annual affairs. Glamour was in high gear, especially given the evening’s theme, “Glamorous Gershwin,” a nod to Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch’s world première for the season of the same name. Welch’s “Gershwin Glam” is a joyous full-company valentine to New York City in the 1940s that is inspired by the great Broadway musicals and films of the period and set to George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F.
While all eyes were on belle-of-the-ball Phoebe Tudor, she was busy directing attention to another star of the evening: Connor Walsh, one of Houston Ballet’s crown jewels who, at twenty-one years old, was promoted to Principal last September. Joining Mr. Walsh at the Tudor’s table was company Soloist Kelly Myernick, who happens to be Walsh’s girlfriend (the gala fell on the exact date of the couple’s one-year anniversary).
|The evening’s program began with a cocktail reception and silent auction, and was followed with an eight o’clock dinner by Jackson Hicks’s Jackson and Company. Guests enjoyed a Supper Club Serenade during dinner, and danced afterward to the David Caceres Band.
Ballet patrons and other notables on hand to celebrate included Phoebe and Bobby Tudor; Margaret Williams; Lynn Wyatt; Joanne King Herring; Pat and Dan Breen; Jeanie Kilroy; Elise and Russell Joseph; Linda and Walter McReynolds; Rose and Harry Cullen; Houston Ballet’s Artistic Director, Stanton Welch; Houston Grand Opera’s Director, Anthony Freud; Houston Museum of Fine Arts’s Paul Johnson; Neiman Marcus’s Bob Devlin; Hines’s George Lancaster; Daniel Cappello in from New York; Houston’s Cerón; Mary Beth Aspromonte, Kimberly DeLape, Christine Morenz, Franci Crane, Jennifer and Doug Bosch, Richard and Kris McGee, Jesse H. Jones II, J. Randall Powers, Christine and Shea Morenz, Shelby Hodge and Shafik Rifaat, Laura and John Spalding, Jana and Richard Fant, Alicia Smith, Karen Payne, Beth Muecke, Melissa Mithoff, Ginni Mithoff, and the fashion designer Zang Toi, also in from New York.
Even in preliminary counts, this year’s gala raised record-breaking funds. Houston Ballet presents “Gershwin Glam,” a lineup including Welch’s première work, Balanchine’s “Serenade,” and Christopher Bruce’s “Swansong,” until March 2nd. The company will then première Welch’s “Cinderella,” from March 6th through 16th.