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The Buzz

Posted: 12:27 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Smash" star Megan Hilty performs at Alliance Gala 

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Stephanie Blank and Jada Loveless photo
Jennifer Brett, jbrett@ajc.com
Event co-chairs Stephanie Blank, left, and Jada Loveless thank supporters at the Alliance Theatre fundraising gala, "A Tony Evening."
Megan Hilty  photo
Vikki Locke
Megan Hilty gave a "smashing" performance at the Alliance gala.
Alliance gala photo
Jenny Costantino
Honorees Howard and Victoria Palefsky, from left, with Kristin Hathaway-Hansen, Jody Feldman, and Mike Schleifer at the Alliance gala.
Jonathan Shapero and Megan Hilty photo
Jeweler Jonathan Shapero with Megan Hilty at the Alliance gala.

By Jennifer Brett

"Smash" star Megan Hilty, also known for her Broadway role as Glinda in the hit musical "Wicked" and on the NBC comedy "Sean Saves the World," joined Atlanta's beloved jazz singer Francine Reed and adorable young tap dancer Leilani Negron to thrill a packed ballroom at Saturday's Alliance Theatre gala. 

Check out the video at the top left for a little sampling of all three performers!

The fundraiser, titled "A Tony Evening," was chaired by Jada Loveless and Stephanie Blank with Tracie Arnold and Jonathan Shapero serving as auction chairs. The auction committee included Kristin Rambo Adams, James Anderson, Melanie Boltax, Erin Brown, Catharine Burkett, Mary Hattaway, Andrea Jones and Eleanor Ringel.

Hilty arrived following a performance earlier in the evening at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. She had planned on just singing at the Alliance event with just a piano player accompanying her. Then she noticed that band members performing with Reed, who went on first, had left their standing bass and drum set behind. Hilty made an impromptu decision and suddenly her band was playing with her.

"This is life in the theater!" Hilty quipped.

"A Tony Evening" was held in the W Midtown's ballroom and honored ardent Alliance supporters Vicki and Howard Palefsky. Since moving to Atlanta in 2007, the Palefskys have become active in the city's cultural community.

Vicki Palefsky shared her and her husband's lifetime loves of live performances during a touching and humorous acceptance speech. She grew up in Alabama and used to love seeing the Ice Capades at the Montgomery, Ala. Normandale Mall as a child. Her husband grew up in the Bronx and his parents would take the family to see a Broadway show each year as an annual splurge.

The couple had lived in San Francisco before relocating to Atlanta, a decision spurred by the city's large airport and vibrant arts scene. It was Vicki's idea to launch the "Tony Evening" event several years ago, and she confessed that not everyone thought an annual black-tie gala was feasible. 

"They are nameless," she said of the detractors, "...and they are dead to me!"

In closing Vicki said she and Howard wished everyone "the wealth of a Republican and the sex life of a Democrat" as the crowd roared with laughter.

Among the evening's many highlights was the live auction. One of the items up for grabs was the dazzling "Pearl of the Alliance," a piece custom-created by Buckhead jeweler Jonathan Shapero. After a fierce bidding war the item went home with, guess who? Vicki Palefsky. At the end of the evening Hilty concluded with the perfect number: "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend!"

About Jennifer Brett

Jennifer Brett writes The Buzz blog for accessAtlanta.com

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