Back in little ole Manhattan (and over in Austria)!

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Game, set, match at Playground Partners and the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy’s third annual Play for the Park round-robin tennis tournament.

Playground Partners and the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy hosted their third annual Play for the Park round-robin tennis tournament, raising over $170,000 to support the maintenance and ongoing care of Central Park’s 21 playgrounds. The mission of Playground Partners, a program of the Women’s Committee, is to ensure the quality and cleanliness of the Park’s playgrounds, keeping them a place of safe imaginative play for all children.

This year’s participants were outfitted in chic tennis gear from the event’s sponsor, Tory Sport—the performance activewear line by Tory Burch – and they enjoyed a sunny morning of friendly matches at the Central Park Tennis Center with a light breakfast and prizes.

Caroline Meade.
Tracey Huff.

Conquering the first session, Shirin Christoffersen, Melissa Crandall, Natasha Caronna, and Deb Dowling celebrated their victory. Sarah Saint-Amand, Juliana Diaz and Jenny Price were the second session’s champions. Prizes and gift bag items were generously donated by Dear Annabelle, Tervis, Tuckernuck, Tory Sport, and USTA Eastern.

Shirin Christoffersen, Melissa Crandall, Natasha Caronna, and Deb Dowling.

“We are thrilled to bring back Play for the Park for the third time, raising critical funds for Central Park’s beloved playgrounds,” said Jenny Price, Women’s Committee President. “This fun and friendly tournament brings together a dynamic group of philanthropic women to share their love of both tennis and Central Park.”

“The money raised for our annual tennis tournament goes directly into keeping Central Park accessible and well maintained, encouraging active recreation,” said Betsy Smith, President & CEO, Central Park Conservancy. “The steadfast work of the Women’s Committee and Playground Partners ensures that the playgrounds and all areas of the Park continue to be enjoyed for generations to come. I want to thank Jenny and the entire Women’s Committee for their dedication.”

Betsy Smith and Jenny Price.

Event Co-Chairs Caroline Bouckaert, Megan del Valle, Kat Dines, Deb Dowling, and Jocelyn Gailliot were joined by Honorary Chair Yesim Philip, Playground Partners Chairs Mimi Ritzen Crawford and Austen Phillips Cruz, and Vice Chair, Tiffany Gardner, along with Central Park Conservancy President & CEO, Betsy Smith, and tournament players and Conservancy supporters including Abigail Baratta, Sara Beltran, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, Sugie Hong Bruttomesso, Greer Hendricks, Tracey Huff, Alexandra Michler Kopelman, Kate Lauprete, Rebecca Malinsky, Meredith Stoecklein, and Amy Tarr.

L. to r.: Lizzy Michler and Alexandra Michler Kopelman; Stephanie Stamas, Britt Wallach, and Elizabeth Pyne Singer.
Ingrid Bateman, Jasmine Barr, Caroline Bouckaert, and Paula Mahoney.
L. to r.: Yesim Philip; Heather McAuliffe, Katherine Birch, and Mimi Crawford.
Caroline Bouckaert, Deb Dowling, Kat Dines, Jocelyn Gailliot, and Megan del Valle.
L. to r.: Christina Sethi and Alexandra Amorosi; Mimi Crawford, Austen Cruz, and Tiffany Gardner.
L. to r.: Sugie Hong Bruttomesso, Ruchira Bhuyan, and Dana Coppolino; Kelly Killoren Bensimon.

And over 4,000 miles away in Austria, the Chairman of the Salzburg Festival Society, John French III, and his wife, Carole Bailey French, hosted a reception at the Hotel Sacher. The guest of honor was the recently retired President of The Salzburg Festival, Dr. Helga Rabl-Stadler, who has served faithfully for 27 years. Mr. French also took the occasion to announce the next Salzburg Festival Society Gala, November 21, 2022 at the Union Club in New York which will honor Peter Gelb, General Manager of The Metropolitan Opera, Kristina Hammer, Rabl-Stadler’s successor as President, Markus Hinterhäuser, Artistic Director, and Lukas Crepaz, Executive Director of The Salzburg Festival (see:

John and Carole French, with Lukas Crepaz.

Said Mr. French, “we are deeply indebted to Dr. Helga Rabl-Stadler who’s standards have been so high, ensuring the Salzburg Festival as the international gold standard for musical culture.  It is a tribute to her accomplishments that so many American friends are gathered here today to salute her. Our organization has thrived because of her steadfast work.”  On behalf of The Salzburg Society, he presented her with an engraved Crystal Bowl by Simon Pearce, modeled after designs by American silversmith Paul Revere, to a great round of applause.

Dr. Rabl-Stadler message remains vital to devotees of The Salzburg Festival, “Art is a language that reveals what is hidden, tears open what is sealed, and gives shape to what is deep inside. It exhorts, excites, unsettles and delights.” Dr. Rabl-Stadler will continue her career as a global ambassador for Arts and Culture now advising the Austrian Foreign Ministry.

Marifé Hernandez and Helga Rabl-Stadler.

Kristina Hammer follows as President of the Salzburg Festival, having been selected unanimously for this position by the Festival’s Supervisory Board in November 2021 “The Salzburg Festival regards itself as an international festival, “Said Hammer, “international through its programming, through the artists who perform here, and through audience members who come from all over the world.”  Kristina Hammer is now also a member of the Salzburg Festival Society board.

Kristina Hammer, John and Carole French, and Nabil Chartouni.

Attending this event were members of the Salzburg Festival Society board including Lamberto Andreotti, Nabil Chartouni, John French III, Isabelle Harnoncourt-Feigen, Alexandra Kauka-Hamill, Marifé Hernandez with Joel Bell, Elisabeth Muhr, Isabella Ponta, Sana H. Sabbagh, Dorothée Volpini de Maestri, Peggy Weber-McDowell, as well as Jeanne Andlinger, Alexander Barge, Joseph and Janeen Bartning, Armand Bartos, Émilie Berthelot, Sigrun Braverman, Lamberto Andreotti and Pino Brusone, Noreen Buckfire, Samantha Chartouni, Lukas Crepaz, Trinh Doan, Dieter Elsner and Othene Munson, Andy and Marti Fallat, Richard and Susan Fuller, Agnes Guillaume, Kristina Hammer, Bruce Horten, Martin and Evelyn Hutter, Max and Kitty Isola, Catherine Adler and Helmut Koller, Kathleen Landis, Brig Troy and Alden Lawrence, Franck Laverdin, Joe Wagner and Kyle Lee, Jacqueline Mantello, Heidi Melas, Nina McElroy, Ananth and Margaret Natarajan, Jay Nordlinger, Francis O’Neill, Lawrence and Anna Perelman, Helga Rabl-Stadler, Alden Warner and Peter Reed, Karin Reza, Jennifer Russell, Guillermo and Cecilia Schultz, Alexandra Sényi de Nagy-Unyom and Lilian Salzmann-Sényi, Bonnie Simon, Albert and Theodora Simons, Theodora Simons Jr., Heinrich and Eva Spängler, Carl Strehlke, John Studzinski, Anne Tiracchia, Barbara Tober, Elizabeth Trotta,  Judith Jenkins Trunsky, Helene von Damm, and Alexandra Winkler.

Founded in 2005, the Salzburg Festival Society’s mission is to serve as the liaison between the Salzburg Festival and its American friends and patrons, providing its members with exclusive access to events and services related to the Festival. The Society and its friends are proud to support the Festival’s artistic excellence and innovation as well as build an international community of friends.  This reception, at which so many friends from New York, across the USA, Austria, and Europe attended, is witness to this success.

Albert Simons, Theodora Simons Jr., and Theodora Simons, with Lukas Crepaz.
Armand Bartos, Brig Troy, Alden Lawrence, and Kathleen Landis.
Dieter Elsner and Othene Munson.
Elizabeth Trotta, Joseph Bartning, and Samantha Chartouni.
Heinrich Spangler, Elizabeth Trotta, Nabil Chartouni, and Eva Spangler.
Jacqueline Mantello, Carole French, Alexandra Sényi de Nagy-Unyom, Lilian Salzmann-Sényi, and Karin Reza.
Joel Bell, Franck Laverdin, Marifé Hernandez, Barbara Tober, and Albert Simons.
Joseph Bartning, Evelyn Hutter, Dorothée Volpini de Maestri, and Martin Hutter.
Margaret and Ananth Natarajan, with Cecilia Schultz.
Sigrun Braverman and Anne Tiracchia.

And back in little ole Manhattan, the Drama League threw open its doors for a “Welcome Back Celebration.” It was a welcome back to the Drama League’s in-person programming, theater, and live events in the world’s greatest city. Board President Bonnie Comley shared the inspiring statistics by stating, “Our Drama League Directors Project alumni include 22 Tony Award nominees, 9 of whom have won the Tony Award for Best Direction. This season, 30% of Broadway and off-Broadway shows will be directed by Drama League alumni.”

L. to r.: Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, Bonnie Comley, Bevin Ross; Catalin Stelian

Artistic Director Gabriel Stelian-Shanks and Executive Director Bevin Ross shared, “a Drama League motto is “Theater for everyone needs everyone,” so membership is open to all with multi-tier donation levels, including exclusive ticket offers, private actor talkbacks, and awards voting privileges. Two major fundraising events at The Drama League are open to the public, The Annual Drama League Awards in the spring and this year’s Drama League Gala on October 17th.”

Drama League Open House memorabilia on display.

Membership Manager Olivia Ragan led a toast to the group that included Townsend Teague, Anita Durst, Helen O’ Rourke, Sanaz Ghajar, Patrick Sirullo, Bernadette Norm, Catalin Stelian, Merrie L. Davis, Don Roy King, Liesl Lar, Annette Pfister, Cameron King, Danielle Allen, Mike Teele, Joey Guastella, Julie Ridge, Eileen Sherman, Kate Forsatz, and others.

To become a member, attend the gala, or learn more about the Drama League, go to

Bonnie Comley, Stewart F. Lane, and Danielle Allen.
Sanaz Ghajar and Gabriel Stelian-Shanks.
L. to r.: Anita Durst and Bevin Ross; Frankie Lane.
Patrick Surillo, Helen O’Rourke, Bevin Ross, Olivia Ragan, Bernadette Norman, and Mike Teele.
Eugene Gologursky, Stewart F. Lane, and James Blinken.
L. to r.: Cameron King and Bonnie Comley; Olivia Ragan and Merrie L. Davis.
Don Roy King, Liesl Lar, and Townsend Teague.
L. to r.: Gabirel Stelian-Shanks and Annete Pfister; Townsend Teague and Merrie Davis.
Drama League Open House Welcome Back!
Helen O’Rourke, Patrick Surillo, and Bernadette Norm.

Photographs by Yvonne Tnt/BFA (Playground Partners); Eugene Gologursky/Gettyimages & Catalin Stelian/@catalinmedia (Drama League)  

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