See How the Chairs of the Phoenix Theatre Company’s Applause! Gala Are Breathing New Life into a 100-Year-Old Local Gem

The Phoenix Theatre Company turns 100 this year and as a staple in the community has planned an evening featuring an original musical tribute highlighting the history of the company and its significant contributions to the community. The Applause! Gala will be a star-studded event this fall benefiting The Phoenix Theatre Company’s great work, both on stage and in the community.

Chairing the centennial Applause! Gala 2019 are couples Nan and CA Howlett, Maja and John Langbein and Sandy and Mac Magruder. The ladies shared their excitement for the event.

“Being a part of this star-studded gala means we’ll have a small part in continuing to recognize and support the growth of the Phoenix Theatre for years to come,” Maja says. “We want our children to grow up knowing their interest and support in the arts and the community of Phoenix will serve as a platform of higher purpose for the generations that will follow.”

Maja and her husband are active with theater and arts and feel that the Phoenix Theatre Company exemplifies value, diversity, endless support and an overall good feeling.

“These values are essential in our lives, and we know they are embraced and shared endlessly throughout the community in everything the Theatre is committed to,” she says.

A native of Phoenix, Nan grew up with a love for theater thanks to her grandmother. She feels that theater is essential in child development and emotional growth.

“It’s very moving to see the confidence that young people gain through participation in the Theatre’s summer camp,” Nan says. “It helps so many children and young adults overcome social awkwardness, fear, anxiety and the stresses that are part of growing up.” 

Nan and her husband credit Artistic Director Michael Barnard for the positive dynamic the Company is known for.

“The Theatre is driven by Michael’s vision to make a positive difference thanks to the freedom and healing created by theater.”

Sandy feels this is a monumental event that will bring an enhanced passion for the arts to the community.

“There are very few cultural venues in our state that have been in continuous operation for 100 years,” Sandy says. “I am very proud to be a part of The Phoenix Theater’s Gala, and while I’m not sure how many of our surprises we want to disclose yet, I can say it is going to be a really fabulous evening with our friends and celebrity guests.”

“Mac and I moved to Arizona almost 50 years ago, and both of us strongly believe in being involved and giving back to our community. I was a founding member of WINGS, a Women’s Board for Phoenix Children’s Hospital, which is where I first learned and saw the Phoenix Theatre’s program Partners that Heal. This remarkable program helps children in the hospital and their families better deal with pain and fear through humor therapy. I love this approach so much and particularly appreciate the impact it has had on kids and their families over the years. I love that the Theatre goes beyond its walls to touch the lives of more in our community.” –Sandy Magruder