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Alley Theatre stage gets Hubbard name
February 19, 2003
Houston Chronicle - Wednesday 2 STAR EDITION

THERE was a glimmer of tears in his eyes and a catch in his throat Monday night when Alley Theatre artistic director Gregory Boyd unveiled the new brushed aluminum sign renaming the theater's Large Stage as the Patricia Peckinpaugh Hubbard Stage.

There was reason for the sentimentality. Patty Hubbard, Alley life trustee, was theater president and chair when the board launched its search in the late 1980s for a new artistic director. Boyd was the find, and a beautiful friendship was born. In remarks to Monday's intimate gathering for the ceremony, Boyd said that he had never been to a christening before and stated proudly, "Our stage now has a name."

Hubbard countered with playful understatement, "I'm not really used to having theaters named in my honor."

The renaming of the Large Stage was made possible through a $ 5 million Brown Foundation gift given in Hubbard's honor to the Alley's capital campaign.

Joining in the applause for Hubbard were her son Ford Hubbard III and Molly Hipp, Judy and Bob Allen, Gracie and Bob Cavnar, Mariquita and Stewart Masterson, Nancy Negley and Isabel Wilson.

Preview performance

The curtain rose on another downtown restaurant venue over the weekend - Michael Cordua's Artista in the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Never mind that late last week the supply company had delivered 360 dozen forks as opposed to the 360 forks ordered. By Sunday night the surplus cutlery was gone and Artista was cooking, if not yet officially open for business.

Cordua hosted 200 supporters of Casa de Esperanza for Sunday's benefit preview of the eatery that opens full-time in early March. Among guests were Becky and David McClanahan, Auxiliary Bishop Joe Vasquez, Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Marty Braniff and David Rubenstein, and Ed Smith.

On Tuesday night, close to 200 supporters of the Hobby Center were to get a sneak preview of Artista at a cocktail buffet.

Celebrating in style

For a decade, Gregory Patrick, Tours of Enchantment founder, has celebrated his birthday by treating friends to a spirited evening of food, fun and drink. Saturday was no exception.

The partying began when 80 friends poured into Simposio for a seven-course birthday feast created by chef Alberto Baffoni. Dinner entertainment featured a fire-spouting magician who moved from table to table astounding guests.

Following dessert and birthday wishes, guests piled into a motorcoach for a police escort downtown to Zula. Patrick had arranged for renowned mentalist John Pullum of Detroit to be on hand at the restaurant to amaze guests with his skills. Just that day Pullum had been featured on the Discovery Channel as he drove blindfolded through the streets of Los Angeles.

The party continued to the wee hours in the Mercury Room, where guests included Dr. Richard Alo, Sally and Dr. Jack Anderson, Farah and Dr. Ali Vagefi, Lynn and Satch Davidson, and Nina and Dr. Gary Rickets.

Star search

There will be two prima redheads at Saturday night's Ballet Ball: chair Karen Wildenstein and - this just in - Shirley MacLaine. The Hollywood star will be on hand to salute her long-time friends Lynn Wyatt, Ballet Ball honoree, and Ben Stevenson, making his swan song as the company's artistic director.

-- Shelby Hodge

Copyright 2003 The Houston Chronicle Publishing Company

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