Tag Archives: gala

A Grand Night for Giving: Behind-the-Scenes of Intrepid’s First Gala Fundraising Event

Kathy Brombacher and Dr. Lynne Thrope (with assistant Willy)

From the moment Gala Chair Dr. Lynne Thrope and Intrepid Board Member Kathy Brombacher enter the room, it is obvious why Intrepid picked these two to help create its first major fundraising event – a grand gala at a luxurious private residence in La Costa. In between checking off lists and fielding phone calls, the two chat easily about their own history of theatre memories – shows they’ve seen together, actors they love, critics they disagree with, and even the road trips they’ve taken in the name of art (ask them about their evening with Stephen Sondheim!). But aside from the fact that they are longtime theatre-going companions, both Kathy and Lynne are also notable names in the creation and support of San Diego’s vibrant theatre community.

When asked to bring Intrepid’s vision of a gala event to life, they both avidly voiced their support of the theatre company’s critically-acclaimed performances and youth-inspiring programming. Their efforts will culminate on Sunday evening amid glamorous dresses, glitzy auction items, and swanky musical fanfare.

“It is going to be fabulous,” says Lynne. “I love the planning and collaboration and we have such seasoned people on the committee. It’s coming together beautifully.”

Lynne and Kathy meet in Lynne’s office, which is lined with local theatre memorabilia – statements of her unwavering support of the San Diego stages. As an education and language arts specialist, Lynne has been working with students in the community for decades, developing techniques to open their minds to the world of words. It is not surprising that Lynne is so supportive of Intrepid’s educational programs – all of which will benefit from this weekend’s gala auction – since Shakespeare so often makes an appearance in her office.

“I think Sean and Christy recognize that they are reaching the next generation of theatre-goer and how important it is to expose them to the possibilities of theatre to help us understand who we are in a complex world,” says Lynne. “Kids need to be exposed to the arts because it really defines us as a culture and a civilization.”

“Intrepid kind of shakes up Shakespeare and delivers it for a contemporary audience,” says Kathy, who recently wrapped her 30+-year stint running Moonlight Stage Productions. “I’ve seen lots of Hamlets.  But the most memorable one – visually and textually and emotionally – was the Hamlet at Intrepid. It was astounding.”

Sandy Campbell, Leigh Skarritt, Kürt Norby and Jacob Caltrider

So, what’s in store for festive theatre patrons on Sunday?

The evening will begin with a tasty culinary spread as guests are welcomed into the gala. In lieu of a silent auction, a handful of items that will be available for a raffle “opportunity,” including an elusive gift card to the San Diego-based Cohn Restaurant Group, as well as gift certificates to other local dining establishments like the scenic Top of the Market and Del Mar’s decadent Pamplemousse Grill.

A definite highlight of the evening will be the live auction, hosted by local actor and photographer Daren Scott, and featuring items such as a private makeup intensive with Peter Herman and Kathleen Kenna (complete with wine and cheese), an elegant dinner party prepared by local actor Jim Chovick (who knew he was a gourmet?) and a coveted walk-on role in Intrepid’s Season Four finale, Macbeth. 

The evening will culminate with a singing performance featuring the sensational Four Divas: Leigh Skarritt, Kürt Norby, Jacob Caltrider, and Sandy Campbell with Taylor Peckham tickling the ivories on the residence’s grand piano (and perhaps throwing in some of his own surprise musical treats). Lastly, Intrepid will reveal the much-anticipated Season Five lineup.

The gala committee has also enlisted the help of local designer Julie Ustin to infuse the venue with festive decor. “That was a coup,” says Lynne. “She is going to make everything look beautiful.”

Julie’s inspiration for the gala decor? Intrepid’s upcoming production of Macbeth. Expect adult beverages in the form of a fancy witch’s brew.

The gala promises to be nothing short of celebratory, for both what Intrepid has accomplished on stage and in schools – as well as for what the company will become. Both Kathy and Lynne are excited to be a part of that.

“This is the first of many events we will work on for Intrepid,” says Kathy, clearly settling into her new position on the Intrepid Board of Directors.

Lynne agrees.

“And I’m hoping to get the walk-on for Macbeth,” she adds with a wink.

— Tiffany Tang

To purchase tickets for Sunday’s Gala Fundraiser, click here or call (760) 295-7541. $50 per person, $80 per couple, $150 for a special “Music Maker” ticket.

Flights of Angels Among Us

Please join Intrepid Shakespeare on Sunday, Sept. 16, 12:30 pm in the courtyard outside of the theatre for an afternoon of family events to benefit Angels Foster Family Network. 

It’s a fairly quiet Tuesday morning at Angels Foster Family Network.  Rows of chairs line the main room, remnants of the orientation for new families which was held last night.  Outside this room, a calming waterfall provides a lush backdrop to the often stressful work done within these walls. “We see it all,” says Rachel Zahn, Associate Director.  “We see the beautiful and the challenging.”

Founded in 1999, Angels has been the go-to “baby experts” for the foster care system in San Diego.  Sanctioned by the state, this organization finds foster families for babies from the age of newborn to three years.  “This is a critical time, developmentally,” says Rachel, a former pediatrician.  “If babies don’t form that connective human bond immediately, they will never learn how to have normal human relationships in the future.  You can’t get that time back.”

Understanding this, the staff at Angels thoroughly vets each of their foster families (a psychological profile is required here – not typical fare in the traditional foster system) and tasks them with forming these loving and bonding connections with the children they receive into their care.  50% of the families end up adopting their foster babies.  All of them agree that they will be a family to the child until a permanent situation is decided.

Because the circumstances around the need for newborn foster care can be dramatic, Angels’ families also undergo intensive training sessions, which include how to handle special health needs.  “For instance,” says Rachel, “they have to understand what it means to take home a baby addicted to heroin.”

Rachel and the staff at Angels are constantly amazed by the families who foster with them.  “We ask them to open their hearts to these challenges, for an uncertain amount of time and an uncertain future for the baby.”  Uncertain, because the future of the child is often decided by the court system and reunification with the birth parents is always a possibility, no matter how challenging that situation may be.

Angels Cathy Richman, Founder/CEO, and Rachel Zahn, MD, Associate Director

Angels Foster Family Network was founded by Cathy Richman, who had volunteered as an court-appointed advocate for children in the foster care system.  “She was appalled by what she saw,” says Rachel.  “She said, ‘We have to do this better.'”  Since its inception, Angels has successfully placed 550 babies.  The gleeful faces of the adopted provide the main decor in the Angels’ offices.

Rachel has been working at Angels for two years and believes that everything she has studied and experienced in her past careers have led her to this organization.  Inspired by Cathy and a neighbor who was an “Angels dad,” the moment she understood the work being done at Angels, she knew she had to be a part of it.  And as a retired pediatrician, she knows babies.

“When they first comes to us at Angels, they have usually shut down emotionally,” she explains.  “There are no smiles, no eye contact – they look a little sickly.  After they are placed with an Angels family, we see them a week later and the difference is amazing.  They are giggling, laughing – they are like different babies.”

In addition to Cathy and Rachel, there are five social workers on staff who are on call for their families 24/7.  Each social worker only handles up to 15 families, versus the traditional system where social workers have 60-80 cases each.

All in all, it is a system that works.  With sister organizations in Santa Barbara and Oklahoma City, Angels is trying to export their model, spreading the 0-3 word as quickly as possible.  “We are transforming the face of foster care,” says Rachel.

Families interested fostering children can find information on the Angels’ website, www.angelsfoster.org.  Volunteers in other capacities are also welcome, especially as the organization is looking forward to its first fundraising gala, An Evening with Angels, featuring Antwone Fisher.  Additionally, they will always accept donations for the “baby starter kits” they provide to new foster families, which include everything from diapers to clothes to toys and formula.

By supporting this marvelous organization in some capacity, maybe we can say the same thing to ourselves that Rachel Zahn does at the end of each day: “What I did today was so important.”

— T.T.