Shakespeare in Park a hit -- sprinkles and allBy MARY JANE PARK
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 14, 2002
Heading to Demens Landing in St. Petersburg Thursday evening for the American Stage Shakespeare in the Park gala, I wondered how I'd manage to endure this year's outdoor production, The Bomb-itty of Errors. It features hip-hop and rap, music I'm not crazy about.
I leave professional criticism to others, but I departed the park loving the show, the actors' energy, and yes, even the "soundtrack."
Organizers of any outdoor event cross fingers and toes hoping it won't rain; a few drops fell, though not enough to muss coiffures or dampen spirits.
Appetizers -- blue cheese and olive pate on crostini and bruschetta -- were served atop banana leaves by a cadre of volunteers. One server I recognized was Neal Blackburn.
In the large crowd were Kathy Rabon; Robert and Leslie Freedman; Nelson Morrow; Al May; Dar Webb and Clint Page; Lionel and Lee Manwaring Lowry; Diane Bailey; Skip and Kim Horstman; Russ and Nancy Bond; Dawn Douglas; and Michael White.
Lance Rodgers, with Beverly Granger and her parents, Elaine and Bill Granger, visiting from Port Huron, Mich., pointed out Dick Schaal of Indian Rocks Beach, an early member of the Chicago improvisational troupe Second City, and his daughter Wendy, who recently has had roles in NBC's Providence and the HBO hit Six Feet Under.
Sterling Powell was attired in Renaissance wear; Jason Lynn, wearing a coral choker, told me he is a professional stoner for Design to Shine in Pinellas Park, which constructs costumes for professional ballroom dancers. By hand, he applies Swarovski crystals and other sparkly things to theatrical clothing.
Others attending were Brian Reale; Jean Thompson; Robert Danielson; Anita Treiser; Janet Raymond; David and Kristen Rowell; Helen Levine; Bud and Fran Risser; Bill and Sally Habermeyer; and Marybeth Armbrester.
Redwoods and the Garden catered dinner, which included bread and rolls from Atlanta Bread Co. and Saffron's Caribbean Cuisine, and Robert Mondavi wines.
The Al May award was presented to American Stage technical director Christopher James by communications director Jennifer Silva, who borrowed glittering jewelry from if and only if. . . . Paige Gilley received the Susan Rose Hough award.
Earlier in the evening, I stopped by to visit Ron Reason and Erich Heintzen, who hosted a gathering in their St. Petersburg townhouse to celebrate the new look of the Wall Street Journal.
Reason worked with Tampa's Mario Garcia on the newspaper's redesign, its first in 60 years.
The Journal added color photography several years ago but not on its front page. It now has Page 1 color and has added a new section, Personal Journal.
Reason, formerly with the St. Petersburg Times and its owner, the Poynter Institute, joined Garcia Media late last year. He and Heintzen, a mental health counselor, divide their time between Chicago and St. Petersburg.
I visited briefly with guests Anne Conneen, Robyn Spoto, Monica Moses and Sally Bedrosian before heading to the American Stage gala.
Ben and Sylvia Corey, whose collection of British royal memorabilia is on display in the lobby of the Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg, last week received a note of appreciation from Mary, a lady in waiting to Queen Elizabeth II.
They had written to the queen to let her know about the exhibit, which is on display in commemoration of the golden jubilee of her reign.
"The queen wishes me to write and thank you for the message of good wishes," the letter read in part. "I am also to say that her Majesty was very touched."
The timing of the correspondence was bittersweet, received during the week in which the funeral for Elizabeth the Queen Mother took place in London's Westminster Abbey.
What a wonderful sight it must have been to witness about 150 women, many wearing elegant hats, at the third annual Spring Bonnet Tea held last Sunday at the St. Petersburg Woman's Club.
Judy Zamanillo, co-chairwoman of the event with Kay Leonard, reports that the clubhouse itself was decorated in a profusion of hats, and plates were piled high with tiny sandwiches, savories and bite-size desserts.
Lynn Ball, filling in for president-elect Joanne Walker, gave a historical narration about the organization's activities since its founding in 1913 and national events of each era. Each decade featured models wearing clothing appropriate for the period. They also led tours of the historic building, constructed in 1929.
Much effort went into the costumes: Fern Clayton, representing the 1910s, told me earlier in the week she found feathers for her chapeau among Barbie merchandise at Target; Joan Jaicks, representing the current decade, mused that she was not a hat person but thought she might wear patriotic colors.
Other models were Lori Gramm, 1920s; Beverly Nahon, '30s; Marjorie Joiner, '40s; Judy Meserve, 1950s; Rosanna Costa, '60s; Beth Timberlake, '70s; Mary Barton-Skwarek, '80s; and Mary Lou Phillips, '90s.
Pianist Faith Keir played period melodies.
Also attending were past presidents Vera Brantley and Mary Wheeler; Marie Stofer, Junior Woman's Club president; Betty Irwin; Regina Venske; and Charley Williams.
The Queens Court Inc. has presented $80,000 to benefiting charities from the Queen of Hearts Ball proceeds. The St. Petersburg Free Clinic and the Palladium Theater each received $40,000.
Joann Barger was chairwoman of the event, held March 2 at the TradeWinds Island Resort, St. Pete Beach; Celma Mastry is president of the organization.
OFFICER INSTALLATION: Gulf Beach Woman's Club, Inc., will install 2002-2004 officers at a luncheon meeting. Noon. The Bayou Club, 7979 Bayou Club Blvd., Largo. $15. 391-7327.
TRI-CITY FOUNDERS DAY LUNCH: St. Petersburg chapter of Pi Beta Phi hosts Clearwater and Tampa clubs at 135th-year event honoring alumnae whose college initiation years make them members of 25, 50 or more years. 11:30 a.m. Bridge Room, St. Petersburg Yacht Club, 11 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $22. 381-3227; 327-6133.
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