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Theatre set for ‘Midnight in New Orleans’ fundraiser

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By Kyle Mooty

LPR Editor

The historic Gaslight-Baker Theatre, with plans of being better than ever in the years to come, will host a fundraiser members of the century-plus old Lockhart landmark believe wilk be like nothing the town has ever experienced.

On New Year’s Eve, Gaslight-Baker, along with Little Trouble and El Dorado, will hold Midnight in New Orleans, a two-story bontemps ball.

The event will be from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Tickets for the event are $75 through Dec. 18, then will be $86. Tickets – proceeds split 50/50 between the theatre and the host businesses — will be $100 at the door. A limit of 150 will be sold.

Included with the tickets will be a five-course meal by Chef Casey Wilcox with a New Orleans theme, two drink tickets for a Midnight in New Orleans cocktail or Endless Night mocktail, a trio of deejays for dancing (Dave Francis, Clara Francis, and Kevin Thuerwaechter) at the El Dorado, a jazz singer Haley Tuck. Nicknamed the “Cowgirl of Paris.”  Tuck and her band will perform downstairs at Little Trouble. Also included will be a champagne toast at midnight as they ring out 2022 and ring in 2023. An added bonus for the event will be banana pudding from the Culinary Room served at midnight during the champagne toast.

There will also be event photography provided by Maple Street Pix, a French Quarter photo booth, all at El Dorado, and a silent auction for items at a side room at El Dorado. Donations thus far include the following items for the silent auction (8-11 p.m. at Gaslight-Baker Theatre on Dec. 31): Houston Astros signed baseball, Tito’s Vodka gift basket, Kids Swimming Lessons (5), The Thinkery Family Fun Pass for 4, Ceramic Tea set, Good Woman 60 Minute facial, Lockhart Arts & Craft Workshop for 5, Fiddler’s Green Ukelele, and miscellaneous art, jewelry and more.

Ticket wristbands may be picked up at Little Trouble. All of the silent aucton proceeds will benefit Gaslight-Baker Theatre.

The final menu for the evening includes: Fried Alligator with Little Trouble sauce; Cajun Buttermilk Romaine Salad; Gumbo – Andouille sausage and crawfish, okra, mushrooms, trinity, crawfish, with rice; BBQ Shrimp with Grilled Sourdough; Pork Belly with Maquechoux.

Tam Francis, Vice President of Gaslight-Baker Theatre, said the new event will be exciting for all involved.

“It’s new,” Francis said. “I don’t think Lockhart’s seen anything like this before. This is a really unique thing for Lockhart. I think this is even a little more upscale than our past galas.”

The paper moon backdrop will be moved from the theatre to the photo booth for the New Year’s Eve event.

Kelly Dugan, Event Coordinator at Little Trouble and El Dorado, is also a member of the cast of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, which shows at Gaslight-Baker Theatre through Dec. 17.

“Who wouldn’t want to dress up?” asked Dugan. “It’s fun. I try to keep it a little thing time-period wise, like 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, jazz lounge singer maybe. But people can come as they wish.”

Finally, there will be a ball drop from El Dorado down to Main Street, something Dugan hopes becomes a tradition in Lockhart. Anyone is welcome to watch the ball drop from outside.

The theatre has incurred a plethora of new expenses.

“Insurance has tripled at the Gaslight-Baker Theatre,” Francis said. “It had a new roof installed. We just put in a bunch of new safety measures. We had some stairs rebuilt. We’ve had to spend a lot on building improvements. We’ve set aside money for scholarships for the camps for kids. Of course, there are general costs for putting on productions. We’ve spent more money this year than in the 13 years I’ve been with them.

“And the two COVID years were rough… really rough.”

The play Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, is a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that is set two after the novel ends, Miss Bennet continues the story, only this time with bookish middle-sister Mary as its unlikely heroine. Mary is growing tired of her role as dutiful middle sister in the face of her siblings’ romantic escapades. When the family gathers for Christmas at Pemberley, an unexpected guest sparks Mary’s hopes for independence, an intellectual match, and possibly even love.

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