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Michael Barnes

That’s entertainment at Zach Theatre’s Red, Hot and Soul

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One reason we raced across town to catch at least part of Zach Theatre‘s annual upscale benefit — Red, Hot & Soul — is the company. And this year, we won the lottery at a Big Apple-festooned table captained by the immutable James Armstrong and Larry Connelly. To my left was restauranteur Eddie Bernal, taking a break from his breakneck schedule.

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We borrowed this picture from Lance Avery Morgan while an email glitch in my iPhone heals. (Thanks!)

To my right were theater aces, Michael Hartman and Nick Mayo. New York’s loss is Austin’s immense gain. They later ushered me over to spend a precious bit of time with Holland Taylor, now starring at Zach in “Ann,” and her romantic mate, actor Sarah Paulson. What a charming couple, even when mobbed, as they are wherever they go in Austin these days.

But who are we kidding? Zach is always about entertainment. The young pro group. The auction shenanigans. They season previews. It’s a three-ring circus.

On top of all that, we stood to salute Topfer Theatre namesake Mort Topfer on his 80th birthday. He and his wife, event empress Bobbi Topfer, permanently changed the game for Zach artistic director Dave Steakley and managing director Elisbeth Challener, as well as for all those in town who love theater.