After many years at the Century Plaza, the Thalians transported their annual (56th) Ball to the House of Blues, a popular musical hangout a tad east of their former Century City location (via a stop last year at the Playboy Mansion.) Motown legend, Smokey Robinson was honored and named Mr. Wonderful to a SRO crowd of over 600.
“This should not be called Mr. Wonderful, but Mr. Wondering,” the youthful singer/songwriter said modestly. “I am always wondering about my success and why I receive awards.” Smokey spent time in The Confessional (located in the Foundation Room) meeting and greeting fans who purchased tickets.
Super-couple Kira Reed Lorsch and Bob Lorsch, along with Thalian founder and Chair Emeritus Ruta Lee spearheaded the event benefiting UCLA’s Operation Mend to restore wounded vets. Army Specialist, Joseph Paulk, who had major reconstruction from life-threatening injuries, gave a heartwarming speech.
The evening: cocktail hour, a buffet dinner catered by Whole Foods, silent and live auction with the world’s fastest talker, John Moschitta, Jr. Chaka Khan, who had a Vegas engagement, sent congrats in a video.
Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. as well as Florence LaRue (both ladies from the Fifth Dimension are now blondes), and Taylor Dayne rocked it. Surprise singer, Cheech Marin (of Cheech & Chong) accompanied by his wife, pianist Natasha Rubin, belted out a Smokey number. Ron Moss, of Bold and Beautiful fame, sang with his rock band Player. His TV brother, Winsor Harmon, was a guest as was Florence Henderson, Laura McKenzie, Kerry Gordy, Leon Issac, and members of the Gordy Foundation, Smokey’s second family.
Debbie Reynolds, who is a founder, recently resigned as President. Her predecessor: Dr. Irwin Lehrhoff.
Kira Lorsch, in a blue Herver Leger dress, wrote the script and produced with her husband, Bob. Actress Ruta Lee, the Thalian heart, pitched her heart out in a fashionable red cocktail dress with her signature boa.
Guy Sebastian, an Aussie with a voice of an angel, jetted in from his native Australia, despite leaving behind his week-old baby. Even the man of the hour was impressed with his voice. “I just met Guy tonight, whoa! And then he repeated, whoa. This is a future superstar.”
My “plus one” (former Yankee pitcher, Arnie Costell) and I were given Rock Star badges and sat on the Mezzanine with a great view of the stage and near Carol Connors, Merrie Lynn Ross, Tom Hallick, Tamara Henry, and an MD who vigorously bid on auction items. Sponsors and Thalian board members sat in the orchestra with badges of honor that said Super Star.
With a generous donation from the Peterson foundation, the event raised over a million dollars.
Sue Facter writes about the luxury brand. Her work appears in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Women’s Day Australia, as well as on broadcasts and the web. Follow her on Twitter @TheFacter.