Broadway bonanza at fabulous ‘Friends Fall Luncheon’

Centerpieces of brilliant yellow sunflowers burst with beauty and delight as harbingers of a spectacular afternoon at the Riverside Theatre Friends Fall Luncheon highlighted by a performance by the Broadway Tenors.

With a nod to Broadway, the décor also included playbills tucked into the centerpieces, vivid reminders of the bright lights of Times Square. Rosemary Haverland, event sponsor and Friends Committee chairwoman, credited the idea for the creative display to event chair Gloria Anderson. Before the performance, guests enjoyed a light luncheon catered by Elizabeth Kennedy & Co. featuring quiche Lorraine and tea sandwiches followed by a lush Key lime chiffon cake.

Afterward, vocalists Brent Barrett, David Burnham and John Cudia wowed everyone with a musical trip down memory lane, showcasing iconic musical numbers such as “New York, New York” and “That’s Entertainment.”

The crooners had guests wanting to hum along as they sang one musical tune after another, each accompanied by projections and videos on the screen. Beautiful cornfields rustling in the wind matched the lyrics as Cudia sang “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from “Oklahoma!” and the power of Burnham was electrifying as he sang “Over the Rainbow” as a tribute to “Wicked.”

The program was so well received that a number of the ladies returned later that evening to hear a repeat performance of the sold-out show.

“The theater enriches everyone’s lives; it’s a wonderful asset to the community,” said Haverland. “We’re so lucky to have the theater and Alan Cornell bringing all of these great names to Riverside Theatre. It takes a lot to get these productions going.”

The women of the Friends Committee raise more than $500,000 annually to supplement operating costs through the luncheon, Supper Club, VIP Premiere Gala and, as of this year, the Festival of Trees.

The Supper Club on Feb. 18 will feature Broadway and TV star Laura Benanti, and the March 19 Premier Benefit Gala will feature an Evening with Jay Leno.

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Photos by: Denise Ritchie
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