I’ll confess, I attended the glitzy showcase that is Zach Theatre’s outrageous benefit, “Red, Hot & Soul,” to spend quiet time with Broadway producers Carolyn and Marc Seriff, otherwise known as the sweetest couple in town.
A lobby cocktail party — pulsing with energy and decorated with art models attired in black, white and red — kicked off the evening. A tented dinner, elevated by David Kurio’s dense clouds of red roses, followed up with the kind of nonstop entertainment one expects from the city’s top professional theater company. At a break in the inexorable fundraising, we were treated to the ferocious cast of “Matilda the Musical,” which made me all the more grateful for our reservations to see the full show during its final weekend.
Hats off to honorees and personal heroes Mindy Elmer and Brian McCall, as well as to all-pro managers Elisbeth Challener and Dave Steakley, and the many backers who crowded into the happy party tent dedicated to Bobbi Topfer.
I was, however, transfixed by the Seriff’s tableside tales of Broadway. Earlier in the week, two Seriff Productions offerings, “Hadestown” and “Tootsie,” harvested the lion’s share of Tony Award nominations in the musical category. Another of their shows, a star-kissed revival of Terrence McNally’s “Frankie & Johnny in the Claire de Lune,” opens soon.
Not long after that, McNally, who has become one of Zach’s unofficial resident playwrights, returns to Austin for four weeks to develop a world premiere, “Immortal Longings,” a complete reimagining of his Ballet Russes play, “Fire and Air.”
McNally, by the way, will receive a lifetime achievement Tony Award in June during a New York ceremony that likely will include a Seriff on the stage when Best Musical is named. You’ll remember that the Seriffs hosted a grand dinner party at their West Austin house last year during the McNally’s 80th birthday jubilee.