News | Alley Ball fetes NRG Stadium, special guest Jay Leno talks pets and Tex-Mex

May 15, 2015

By Amber Elliott | Houston Chronicle 

Forget how you usually see NRG Stadium, home to the Houston Texans and RodeoHouston. Instead of NFL players or cowboys, a black-tie crowd of nearly 600 performing arts patrons took to the field in celebration of the "Much Ado About the Alley" gala.

Like a scene from a Shakespearean play, guests including Cora Sue and Harry Mach mingled with host committee chairmen Beth Wolfe and JoFurr amidst a magical gold and red backdrop of ornate thrones and stately stone pillars. Pat Breen and honoree Margaret Alkek Williams glittered inside Richard Flowers' thicket of topiary trees flanked by reproductions of murals depicting "The Hunt of the Unicorn." (The seven original Medieval tapestries hang in The Cloisters in New York.)

The David Caceres Band set the tone by serenading arrivals, and emcee Deborah Duncan opened the program with a rendition of "And I'm Telling You" from the Broadway musical "Dreamgirls." Alley artistic director Gregory Boyd introduced ball chairs Mady and Ken Kades, who raised $900,000 in gala ticket and table sales alone. The successful soiree raised more than $1 million for the Alley Theatre. Managing director Dean Gladden announced that Mayor Annise Parker had proclaimed May 9 as Margaret Alkek Williams Day.

Entertainment chairman Beth Madison secured the ultimate jester for the event by delivering former television host Jay Leno as the evening's headliner.

Also owing to the night's success was the Late Night Party chaired by David Peck and Michelle Phillips and David and Luis Bamford-Perez

In the crowd: Trini Mendenhall, Karla and Greg Vesey, Gracie and Bob Cavnar, Helene and Dror ZadokTrisha Harper and Debbie WernetChristina and Steve MorseJosie de GuzmanJennifer Smith and Peter RagaussDeanna and Larry BlackburnEve and Bob HarrellLaura Bellows and Jack PendergrastCarmenand Butch MachDebbie and Robert Penshorn, Nancy and Scott AtlasKathryn L. KetelsenChris Bryan and Trey Peacock, and Connie and Roger Plank