The theme was "Pittsburgh Takes a Bow: A Gala Celebration of Our Town," and it had everyone checking to see if his or her name was on the list of notable Pittsburghers inside the program. Saturday's benefit for Pittsburgh Public Theater began with a celebration of the new space at the Wyndham Grand -- a room with a view and a staircase, at last! 'Burgh-type food like fish sliders with slaw was served during cocktails before the 450 guests were ushered into the beautifully decorated ballroom, with towering florals by Bill Chisnell Productions. Nick Dialosio and his 22-piece band were already playing as honorary chair Franco Harris (with Dana) and F. Murray Abraham (not present) were introduced by PPT's irreplaceable producing artistic director, Ted Pappas. His energy and enthusiasm are legendary, and he used it to propel the evening through a live auction (with Jim Roddey at the helm), a tribute to famous Pittsburgh composers and a film that held the gala hostage a tad too long. Waiting to dance were chairs Mike and Cathy Ginsberg and Dennis and Veronica Yablonsky, along with emcee Ken Rice, longtime patron Nadine Bognar. Frank and Debbie Coonelly, Diane Holder, Bill and Debbie Demchak, Tom and Bonnie Van Kirk, state Rep. Dan and Debbie Frankel, Joan Apt, Sam and Joanie Kamin. Gail Gerono, Al and Barbara Biglan, Suzanne and Von Campanella from Delta (they donated to the auction tickets to anywhere), Randy and Heather Hillier, Dr. Ron and Judy Linaburg, Van and Randi Dauler and Laura Ellsworth. The gala grossed 350,000 pierogies.
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