Gulfshore Playhouse raises more than $1.4 million at The Loverly Gala
February 24, 2021
Patty and Jay Baker match proceeds in tribute of beloved fur-family member, Kizzie
NAPLES, Fla. (Feb. 24, 2021) – From lively horse races, to emotional tributes from donors, and even a show-stopping performance by the stars of the 2016 Gulfshore Playhouse production of “My Fair Lady,” The Loverly Gala was an evening of memorable moments, and confirmation of the importance of live, in-person performing arts throughout Southwest Florida.
Raising more than $1.4 million for the Annual Fund for Artistic Excellence, Gulfshore Playhouse welcomed guests to an Edwardian-themed evening, transforming The Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort into London’s busy streets adorned with opulence and extravagance as lords and ladies took part in a celebration featuring live entertainment, Broadway actors, and numerous giving opportunities.
Chaired by philanthropists Susan Regenstein and Barry Frank, The Loverly Gala is one of only a handful of major fundraising events in Naples hosted live since the pandemic began last Spring. The evening included numerous health and safety protocols, including face coverings, temperature checks, primarily outdoor festivities, and reduced capacity during the indoor program. Regenstein and Frank shared an inspirational account of the last year for Gulfshore Playhouse – from financial hardships, loss of staff, and complete cancellations of numerous shows and productions – to the creation of new, virtual classes, an inaugural streamed production, and the resurgence of live theater.
“At times, this year was shocking and sad, but to come full circle and gather again at The Ritz, albeit a much smaller group, is a testament to the commitment from our treasured donors,” said Kristen Coury, CEO and Producing Artistic Director of Gulfshore Playhouse. “They rescued us in our darkest hour of need, and continue to show their support by championing our mission of enriching the cultural landscape of our region through professional theater. Whether by attending a socially-distanced show, sponsoring a student in our education program, or partnering with us as a donor for the new Gulfshore Playhouse Cultural Campus, they have made the difference for us this year, and we are truly thankful.”
Lending their lead support in a magnificent way, visionary philanthropists Patty and Jay Baker stepped up toward the end of the evening in a surprise announcement that all contributions made during the on-the-spot giving, “What Part Will You Play,” would be matched. The gift was made in honor of their beloved fur-family member, Kizzie, who frequently accompanied the Bakers at events and galas throughout town.
“Kizzie holds a special place in Patty and Jay’s hearts. To know their gift was made in honor of her is something I will always treasure,” added Coury. “We know every dollar truly makes a difference. And with these funds, we are able to reach further to ensure the future of professional theater and education in our community, and also provide for much-needed jobs for artists, staff and our entire production team who help bring to life everything we do for our community.”
Gulfshore Playhouse will continue their 2021 season next month with the opening of “Maytag Virgin,” on March 20 starring real-life spouses Karen and Ian Merrill Peakes, and directed by Broadway veteran, Jeffrey Binder. The theater is one of only 20 organizations nationally to receive Actors’ Equity Association approval for productions since the pandemic.
Gulfshore Playhouse is passionately committed to enriching the cultural landscape of the region by producing professional theatre to the highest artistic standards and providing unique educational opportunities to diverse groups of people in a spirit of service, adventure and excitement. The Playhouse’s work is inspired by a belief in the magic of theatre to expand the imagination, challenge the senses, provoke discussion, and revitalize in audiences an understanding of their common humanity. This belief drives the care with which Gulfshore Playhouse treats its artists, audiences, students, staff, and members of the greater community.
For more information about Gulfshore Playhouse, visit www.GulfshorePlayhouse.org or call 239-261-PLAY (7529).