Youth Valley Theatre Gala

text and photos courtesy of Valley Youth Theatre

First row, left to right: Laura M. Stover, Patrick Vance, Sara Dial (chair), Hope Ozer (founding board chair, chair emeritus), Catheryn J. Avalos, Erin Huston, Gina Salazar Hook. Second row, left to right: Jennifer Pescatore, Colleen Gautam, Joe Chandler, Leo Dressel. Top row, left to right: Christopher Houk, Greg Gnapper, David Carruth. PHOTO BY ANDREW UILKIE

On August 19, more than 300 guests attended Valley Youth Theatre’s ( VYT) annual fundraiser, VYTal Affair. The themed event, Soirée in the Swamp, was chosen to complement the company’s opening production of the 2017/2018 season, Shrek The Musical.

The Gala, held at Herberger Theater Center, delighted attendees  with an assortment of “happenings” staged at various locations throughout the building. Guests enjoyed live music by a banjo player, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres from Santa Barbara Catering and barbecue favorites by Bobby-Q while participating in a silent auction.

Left to rightDr. Robert McCulloch, Camerone Elise Parker, Billie Jo Herberger, Oscar De las salas, Mayor Greg Stanton, Gary Jackson, Casey McCoy, Robin Sewell and guest. PHOTO BY BEVERLY SHUMWAY

Gina Salazar Hook of KTVK Channel 3 and John Hook of Fox 10 Phoenix emceed the following program which included musical performances by stars of Shrek The Musical, a live auction for a red carpet meet-and-greet in Los Angeles with VYT alumna Emma Stone and the VYTality awards presentation.

For 17 years, VYT has presented its VYTality awards (Valley Youth Theatre Applauds Leadership Impacting Today’s Youth) to significant individuals and organizations for their remarkable leadership. VYT board chair, Sara Dial, presented the 2017 Corporate VYTality Award to Fennemore Craig Attorneysfor their long-standing commitment to the youth theater.

Susan Wissink, Erin Goodnow, James Goodnow, Joe and Traci Chandler. PHOTO BY BEVERLY SHUMWAY
Galina Mihaleva, Bobb and Karol Cooper. PHOTO BY ANDREW UILKIE

The VYT board of directors awarded the 2017 Individual VYTality Award to the trio of individuals whose dedication has made VYT a success: Bobb Cooper, producing artistic director, Karol Cooper, resident costume designer, and Mark Fearey, resident musical director, who have served VYT for 21 years, carrying out its mission and vision.

Offering a surprise salute to the honored trio, several VYT alumni took the stage singing the inspirational song “Because I Knew You” from the musical Wicked.

The gala, chaired by Traci Chandler, raised more than $193,000. Proceeds from the VYTal Affair directly support VYT’s mission and vision though its education and outreach programs and main-stage productions for the 2017-18 season.

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