Photography by Jamison Mosley | Susie’s Hair & Makeup by Holly Van Auken & Dennis Harris | Molly’s Hair & Makeup by Hannah Fairman Gee
Frank Sinatra fans are likely familiar with these lyrics: “Out of the tree of life I just picked me a plum, You came along and everything started to hum. Still, it’s a real good bet, the best is yet to come.” Next month, arts enthusiasts can experience a plum of an evening at the Capital City’s newest gala… Arkansas Repertory Theatre presents Ovation: Driven by Lexus and welcomes friends to a reimagined evening of fanfare and fun.
Ovation Chairmen Susie and Brian Rosenthal were initially introduced to the Rep through their daughter’s interest in musical theater as a child. Molly spent decades at the Rep, improving her craft and pursuing her dreams. The Rosenthals realize the investment the Rep makes in the youth of Central Arkansas and continue to act as ardent advocates. “The Rep helped Molly foster a love for musical theatre. We wanted to give back, because we’re all so fortunate to have the Rep back in our lives.”
After two years of darkness during the pandemic, Ovation serves as a celebration of the organization’s rich history and bright future. Just as theater brings the audience together in a shared experience, the evening will feature live performances of show tune favorites and jazz classics. Guests will be transported to a dazzling cabaret with the stage full of famous faces including Broadway’s Nathaniel Stampley, and local stars Miranda Jane, Vivian Norman, Emily Fenton, Hannah Fairman Gee and more. Of course, The Best is Yet to Come will be a highlight.
Formerly Saints & Sinners, the folks at the Rep realized that it was time to turn a new leaf. That’s how the new namesake, Ovation, was born. “During the pandemic, Executive Artistic Director Will Trice always knew that we wanted to bring back a signature event, but that we needed to wait until the right time,” explains Director of Development & Marketing Jennifer Owens Buie. “We renamed it because we wanted to create an event, bring it back into our theatre and make it a Rep experience. This will make guests want to come back for more, so its name is Ovation.”
Molly, who is a kindergarten teacher at Jefferson Elementary, feels fortunate to continue to be involved in local musical theater and is committed to the educational programs at the Rep. She shares her passion with other aspiring young actors and encourages them to lean into opportunities that the Rep provides. For Molly, events like Ovation build the organizational capacity for the future of the Rep and young actors. “It’s important to get young people excited about the Rep. So many people don’t realize that the Rep brings in all of these people from New York, and it’s awesome to get young people to support and expose them to programs and activities that they might not get exposure to otherwise.”
Whether it’s coming together to enjoy an amazing evening of fellowship and entertainment or supporting future actors by giving them the opportunity to grow here in central Arkansas – the Rep’s Ovation: Driven by Lexus will prove that the best is certainly yet to come.