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The Crowd:

Celebrating 45 years of dreams

August 26, 2008|By B.W. COOK

The summer sunset haze obliterated the Pacific Ocean view, turning sea and sky into one massive silver horizon.

One hundred guests of Pam and Jim Muzzy mingled on the limestone terrace of the sprawling California contemporary ocean residence infused with touches of old-world European elegance and inspired by artistic vision, oblivious to the gray pale surrounding them.

They had come together, once again, as they have done year after year, on behalf of their much-loved South Coast Repertory Theatre. The summer patron party was underway with the click of a glass and a toast from the hosts and repertory staff welcoming the upbeat assemblage of citizens in support of the Costa Mesa-based theatrical icon.

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They called the summer gathering a prelude party to the theater’s upcoming gala “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” celebrating 45 years of the repertory’s achievement turning the dreams of new, experimental and avant-garde playwrights into staged reality.

As in years past, the theater’s patron party is the late summer event in anticipation of the fall social season on the California Riviera.

Wylie Aitken, board president of South Coast Repertory, joined his lovely wife, Bette, welcoming the crowd. Aitken is one of the county’s most celebrated attorneys and a force in local Democratic political circles.

Recently, the Aitkens were among those welcoming Barack Obama to Newport Beach, helping to raise $1.2 million for his campaign. They have been long-time devotees of the repertory and many other philanthropic and artistic endeavors. Several years ago they hosted the same event at their Spanish villa in the hills, continuing the legacy and the train of ongoing South Coast Repertory support.

The Aitkens were joined by a team of volunteers including hostess Muzzy, Linda Hovee, Nancy Kelley, Danuta Schenke, Valerie Fearns and Connie Spenuzza. Also working for the repertory are Gail Doe, Betty Eu Huang, Marlene Hammontree, Olivia Johnson, Teri Kennady and Laurie Staude.

These women will join others in creating, underwriting and producing the major gala fundraiser at The St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach on Sept. 6.

On hand for the prelude celebration at the Muzzy residence were Toni and Steve Berlinger, Elana and William Donovan, Nadine and Bob Hall, Pat and Carl Neisser, Donna and Ron Phelps, Jan Seitz Jashinski and Ralph Baumann, Elaine Weinberg, Ron Soderling and Jean and Tim Weiss.

Jean Weiss is set to chair the major gala ball.

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