A palpable excitement filled the Historic John Marshall Ballrooms as the 2015 Anything Goes Gala unfolded Saturday night.
Beginning in the elegant lobby, a vintage patriotic atmosphere enveloped guests
who immediately sensed that this was going to be a one-of-a-kind evening. This third annual fundraising event for the Virginia Repertory Theatre was designed to honor one of our country’s and city’s treasured women,
Phyllis Galanti, wife of Commander Paul Galanti. Sadly, Phyllis passed away in April 2014, and Virginia Rep seized the Gala opportunity to honor Phyllis for her service to the theatre, Richmond and our country.
The Gala kicked off in the Marshall Ballroom with cocktails and a silent auction. This part of the evening set the stage for a fun and purpose-driven night. One of the benefits of attending the Anything Goes Gala is enjoying the live entertainment provided by the Theatre’s talent.
A slide show of Phyllis and Paul’s life together played on one of the ballroom’s walls.
Memorabilia from their lives graced tabletops, reminding us of a harrowing time in our history, and one that these two hometown heroes played out on the national stage.
A large American Flag provided a patriotic backdrop behind the bar.
The Bellini Sisters, a tribute act to the Andrews Sisters, announced the ending of the silent auction and cocktails and directed the crowd to move to the Virginia Ballroom for dinner and the evening’s program.
The Color Guard from Benedictine College Preparatory school entered from the rear of the ballroom, setting the tone for the rest of the night.
For dinner entertainment, the reunited cast of Four Part Harmony sang highlights from this original musical written over 30 years ago about the Vietnam War experience based on the Galantis’ real-life drama.
After this moving performance and a beautiful video about Phyllis’s life, Bruce Miller, Virginia Rep’s artistic director, presented the Founder’s Award posthumously to Phyllis Eason Galanti, and her husband, Commander Paul Galanti seen above with his granddaughter Ella, who is the spitting image of her grandmother Phyllis, accepted the award for their family.
The evening concluded with a live auction that netted a record sum for the Phyllis Eason Galanti Fund, which has been established in her memory to sustain the Theatre’s work and ensure its future. The Galanti’s devoted family, friends, colleagues and neighbors turned out in force to remember Phyllis and support this cause. The festive evening exuded a sincere sense of pride and purpose. Having had the pleasure of being acquainted with Phyllis, I was thrilled and humbled to be a part of this remarkable night.
February 2, 2015