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Asolo Repertory celebrates 50th anniversary with black-tie gala

Fifty years is a milestone in anyone’s book. A local theater company celebrating its half-century is even more remarkable.

The Asolo Repertory Theatre marked its golden anniversary with a black-tie gala held Feb. 28 at the Sarasota Hyatt. However, rather than resting on its well-deserved laurels, the theater company celebrated the opening night of its next 50 years.

More than 400 partiers were shoulder-to-shoulder during the cocktail hour before spilling into the ballroom. While dinner was served at elegantly set tables, groupings of couches and chairs made cozy lounge areas in the back of the room, perfect for post-dinner schmoozing.

Before the dinner started, several long-time supporters were inducted into the Asolo Ambassadors Society. Proudly wearing their new medals on gold ribbons were Donna Gerdes, Beverly Koski and Brad Wallace. Charlie Huisking also received the honor but was out of town.

Veronica Brady and Matt Orr co-chaired the party, and Cliff Roles was the auctioneer for the live auction. Asolo Rep Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards was working the crowd and teamed up with FSU/Asolo Conservatory Director Greg Leaming to offer an Italian dinner for the auction.

Managing Director Linda DiGabriele and her husband, photographer Gary Sweetman, also will be doing some cooking at their Manatee County home.

The dinner that the couple offered for the auction was so popular, they agreed to sell it twice.

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