Merced County Times Newspaper
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Merced Theatre Foundation hosts on-stage gala for supporters

The Merced Theatre Foundation held its 5th annual gala last Saturday night — and fittingly it was celebrated right on stage at the historic venue in downtown Merced.

Kathleen Crookham, Jim Cunningham and Adam Lauppe of the Foundation Board welcomed a host of distinguished guests to a night of fine dining and entertainment.

Among the standout residents were Dr. Art Kamangar, Ann and Lee Andersen, Victoria and Steve Gomes, Katrina Hoyer and Shane Smith, Jane and Pope Lawrence, Bette Woolstenhulme and Grey Roberts, Chris Tomford, Sue and Eric Conley and Michelle and Skip George.

510 Bistro served up an incredible dinner on stage while Mix Bakery presented delicious desserts in the lobby. Casey Steed was the host of the entertainment portion which included the talents of local singer Michelle Allison, along with an all-star cast of musicians and backup singers.

Crookham thanked many of the supporters for keeping alive what she calls a “treasure and an icon” for Merced. She also singled out one special community donor.

“When Bobby Laughlin toured our Merced Theatre for the first time in June of this year, he fell in love with it and knew he wanted to be a strong supporter of the theatre,” Crookham said. “As an investor in developing properties surrounding UC Merced, he understands the importance of having a strong cultural and artistic scene to support the growth of our beautiful, diverse community. We are grateful to Bobby and his wife Molly for their support of our Merced Theatre.”

Mr. Laughlin pledged support for our 2022-2023 Season, by contributing

  • A $10,000.00 Diamond Level Season Sponsorship from Merced Station
  • A $5,000.00 Platinum Level Season Sponsorship from University Vista
  • A $5,000.00 Platinum Level Season Sponsorship from Newcourse Enterprises.

The University Vista is also donating an additional $5,000.00 to be used toward the Foundation’s latest project — a new fly system for atop the stage. A fly system, or theatrical rigging system, is a system of rope lines, blocks (pulleys), counterweights and related devices within a theater that enables a stage crew to fly (hoist) quickly, quietly and safely components such as curtains, lights, scenery, stage effects and, sometimes, people.

The Merced Theatre is truly getting better with age thanks to the support of the Merced Theatre Foundation members and community sponsors.

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