SCR’s Patron Party on Peninsula Point

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David Emmes, Bette Aitken, Paula Tomei and Marc Masterson.

Photos by Debora Robinson

South Coast Repertory’s gala is the opening event of the O.C. cultural and social season, and last week the theater’s major patrons and gala underwriters gathered at Wylie and Bette Aitken’s new home in Newport Beach to celebrate.

Elaine Weinberg and Nancy Dahan.

“This is a party to celebrate a party!” marveled SCR’s new artistic director Marc Masterson, who will no doubt quickly learn that when it comes to art and culture (and parties!) OC and NB know how to go big.

The Aitkens welcomed the SCR elite to the first of what will likely be a series of soirées at the highly cultured couple’s beautiful beach bungalow that sits on the sand on Peninsula Point. Wylie and Bette are among the most generous of SCR supporters. This season they’re underwriting “How the World Began,” the sixth play they’ve helped produce in the past several seasons; they support SCR’s Pacific Playwrights Festival; and Bette is on the board of the theater, while Wylie is a former chair.

Plus, they’re a whole lot of fun.

The SCR gala, to be held Sept. 10 at The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, is chaired this year by Newport’s Elaine Weinberg and Nancy Dahan – the first mother-daughter team to chair the ball. The gala’s theme will be “Theater Magic,” with a black-and-white motif reflected in the decorations, the gowns and tuxedos (it’s always easier for the guys!) and perhaps even the music from the always-entertaining J.T. and the California Dreamin’ 46-member band, John Tu’s group which features the Kingston Technology co-kingpin on the drums. The gala is the year’s major fundraiser for SCR, and is thus crucial to the cultural climate of the county.

For details, visit

Wylie Aitken with Diana and Rick Stasand.
Tom Slattery, Jim Driscoll and Michael Penn.


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