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Kelli O’Hara Sparkled in Landmark on Main Street’s 15th Annual Spotlight Gala

A sold-out audience gathered for South Pacific star Kelli O’Hara’s Port Washington debut at Landmark’s Spotlight Gala on Nov. 7 setting a new fundraising record with unprecedented community support.  “It comes at a crucial point in time as we, along with most non-profit organizations, struggle to meet our operating budgets,” said Joseph Asselta, co-president of Landmark’s Board of Directors.

The evening was hosted by author Susan Isaacs, and Tiffany & Co. awards were presented to honorees Angela and Scott Jaggar and Phyllis and Joel Joseph by Executive Director Sharon Maier-Kennelly, former Town Supervisor May Newburger, and New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.  

Ms. O’Hara’s beautiful cabaret performance was sponsored by Dot and Ed Slade in celebration of Ed’s 65th birthday.  Her rendition of Happy Birthday to “Edwardo” in Italian brought roars from the audience, as did a comedic song about a country singer who makes an accidental operatic debut.  Other favorite songs included Wonderful Guy, Make Someone Happy, and her encore: I Could Have Danced All Night.

The gala party for 300 followed in the Spotlight Club tent – with a culinary feast prepared by H on the Harbor; music by the Max Paymar Quartet, joined briefly by jazz guitarist Gene Bertoncini; and gorgeous floral arrangements by Joan Smith Flowers.  Three of Ms. O’Hara’s Broadway shows set the theme for the festivities: the South Pacific stations served dim sum, sushi and sake, the Light in the Piazza buffet featured Italian delicacies with wine and prosecco; and The Pajama Game menu included irresistible All-American desserts by the Main Street Bakery.  Spectacular 20-foot projections of the shows’ artwork illuminated the tent’s ceiling.

The Spotlight Gala is Landmark’s most important fundraising program of the year, and the 2009 leadership ensured its success. The Gala Chairs were Leslie and Andrew Abramowitz, May Newburger, and Judith and Morton Sloan.  The Honorary Chairs were Angela Susan Anton, Jane and  Robert Harding, Lillian McCormick, Claudia Caruso Rouhana, and Frank C. Ullman.  The co-chairs were Fern and Hersh Cohen, Stuart Johnson, Anne and Vincent Mai, and Deanne Rea Spiegel and Frederick Allen Dudley III, and the Vice-Chairs were Nicole and Joseph Asselta, Beth and Dan Eule, Barbara and Dan Goldstein, Amy Hagedorn, Susan Isaacs and Elkan Abramowitz, and Pam and Larry Tarica.

According to Gala Chair and former Landmark Board of Directors Co-President Andrew Abramowitz, “We appreciate that, in these difficult times, members of the community continue to support Landmark on Main Street so that we can present the highest caliber of performing artists and children’s theater.”