Event Honoring Offerle, Lopez, Keilson and the late Sam Johnson to Fund Permanent Endowment
Laredo Theatre Guild International (LTGI) will hold its first event toward funding into its new permanent endowment with Laredo Area Community Foundation supporting LTGI’s “Class on Stage” program and other LTGI “theatrical edutainment” initiatives. Titled “Celebrating Icons of the Arts” and underwritten by the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Foundation, the cocktail, dinner, and live entertainment event honors Hortense Offerle, Elmo Lopez Sr., Stanley Keilson, and the late Sam Johnson, and will be held at the Laredo Center of the Arts on Saturday March 29, beginning with a cocktail mixer at 6:30 PM, followed by dinner.
Each of these iconic notables have, in their own imitable way, impacted theater, music, and education for more than six decades, with their paths crossing at least once when they all worked together in a full-scale theatrical production of the musical My Fair Lady presented 50 years ago. This production was the very first live theater presentation inaugurating the then newly opened Laredo Civic Center Auditorium. Sam Johnson was the producer and director for My Fair Lady, Hortense Offerle and Stanley Keilson starred as Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins respectively, and Elmo Lopez Sr. was the conductor of the live orchestra that accompanied them.
“When we decided upon the great musical My Fair Lady for the 2014 summer finale to LTGI’s Special 5th Anniversary Season, we immediately thought back to that legendary production and marveled at our great blessing to have known and worked with these four Laredo icons at some point in many of our lives,” said LTGI Producing Artistic Director Joe Arciniega, “Having this event underwritten by the generosity of the Guadalupe and Lilia Martinez Foundation allows us to dedicate all proceeds from it to assure long term funding for our educationally targeted theatrical efforts, very fitting considering the great contributions of each of our icons toward education in Laredo.”
Along with cocktails, dinner and live entertainment, featuring song selections from My Fair Lady by John Maxstadt, Joe Arciniega, and Kristelle Martin, the evening will include tributes to Offerle, Johnson, Lopez and Keilson by Veronica Ramirez, Vernon Carroll, Robert M. Lopez, Joe Arciniega, followed by a few words from each of the honorees present. Dr. Ray M. Keck will accept the award on behalf of the family of the late Sam Johnson, and will offer his own tribute to this most unique and beloved person who passed away on Friday February 28.
The Laredo Center for the Arts will be decorated with a costume exhibit featuring elaborate period costumes from LTGI shows, including those from “The Sound of Music,” “Macbeth,” “Cinderella,” “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and others, along with a sneak preview of one of the more “iconic” costumes from My Fair Lady.
Laredo Theater Guild International (LTGI) is a 501c3 nonprofit community based theater organization presenting a season of quality theatrical productions at Texas A&M International University and Laredo Community College, further enriching the community by engaging its members of all ages to provide a rewarding experience for them and for Laredo theatergoers. LTGI has also funded scholarships for eligible youth participating in their shows toward college credit in theater, music, and dance studies, as well as for acting workshops in New York, Los Angeles, and abroad. In February 2012, with its production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, LTGI launched its “Class on Stage Series,” an annual presentation of literary works conceived in participation with school district officials to present productions that are relevant, if not directly applicable, to the academic objectives of Laredo’s educational institutions toward learning enhancement for local students. They have since also presented the shows Romeo and Juliet and The Crucible to local and surrounding high school students under the “Class on Stage” program.
LTGI was formed in 2009 by conjoining Laredo Musical Theatre International, which was launched in 2001 and Laredo Theater Guild, which was launched in 2008. Its founders are Joe Arciniega, Dr. Mary Grace Carroll, Vernon Carroll, Hortense Offerle, and the late Sam Johnson. Joe Arciniega is Producing Artistic Director of Laredo Theater Guild International; Vernon Carroll is President Emeritus, and Henry Mejia is the current President of the Board of Directors. There are twenty-nine members on the board and nine board advisors.
Tickets to the this very special event are $75 per person or $1,000.00 for a premium table of 10, and are available by calling LTGI at (956) 319-8610, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit LTGI on the web at www.laredotheaterguild.com and on Facebook.