Sidney E. Harman
It’s not like Washingtonians are ever sitting around on an autumn Sunday evening scratching their heads pondering, “What should I do tonight?” Frankly, there’s plenty to do.Â Many of us are cozied up on the couch watching HBO or Sunday night football or On Demand movies.Â Some are testing out a new potential beau on a date, or out on a casual relaxed dinner with friends, or enjoying a home cooked meal with the family.Â All of course because we want to delay the thoughts of Monday morning rush hour as long as possible.Â In Washington, we try to reserve our Sundays for our days of rest, albeit fun and sometimes lazy, indoors or outdoors.Â That is of course, unless you are attending one of the performing arts community’s annual fetes, like the Harman Center for the Arts Gala.
Hundreds of patrons of the arts decked out in their finest gowns and formal attire, entered the glass enclosed Harman Center Sunday night, dripping from the downpour (I feel it rains every year for this gala), eager to catch a glimpse of Will Awardee Annette Bening and her sex symbol husband Warren Beatty.Â The gala was of an Italian theme this year with a title of “Gala Shakespeareissimo!” We were treated to a packed reception then after we were finally all in and seated within the theatre, we were welcomed by Abbe David Lowell (Gala co-Chair with Molly Meegan and Giuseppe and Mercedes Cecchi), Chris Jennings (Managing Director) and Michael Klein (Chairman). The “Sidney Harman Award for Philanthropy in the Arts” went to the HRH Foundation.Â Mr. Sidney Harman himself took to the podium (and after a bit of microphone issues, which his wife the Honorable Jane Harman fixed by marching up to the stage and moving the mic – Mr. Harman said, “I recognized those footsteps…”) thanking everyone for their support over the past few years and talked of the success the center has been privileged to have.
The Master of Ceremonies was none other than (and I remembered him from “Benson”) Rene Auberjonois who provided his own version of comic relief in between the captivating performances which took us around Italy.Â Vocalists, ballet dancers, jazz artists and entertainers of the highest pedigree brought the house down.Â Then the revered Artistic Director Michael Kahn took the stage and introduced Annette Bening, who graciously accepted the Swan.Â Looking thin, but strong, gorgeous and classic, she performed a bit from “Romeo and Juliet” which brought us to our feet.
The night was far from over, as we paraded to the National Building Museum where the entire interior was in lavish Italian decor and the dinner the same.Â We dined on Italian wine, bruschetta, ricotta gnocchi, veal scaloppini milanese and finished the meal with limoncello semifreddo timbale.Â While many were hitting the dance floor, my date and I hit the exit door as it was just about midnight.Â And on Sunday nights that’s when I turn into a pumpkin.
For more information and list of the Shakepeare Theatre performances and events, please to go www.shakespearetheatre.org.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.