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Joan Mangum’s Society Scene—American Ballet Theatre’s ‘Holiday Benefit’ Honors Judy Morr

American Ballet Theatre’s “Holiday Benefit” at The Beverly Hilton brought out, from left: Co-Chair Elizabeth Segerstrom, ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, honoree Judy Morr and ABT Executive Director Kara Medoff Barnett. Photo by Vince Bucci

Posted: Monday, December 18, 2017 – 12:33 PM

It was an elegant and magical evening… American Ballet Theatre (ABT) hosted its annual “Holiday Benefit” dinner and performance at The Beverly Hilton. Sponsored by Harry Winston Inc., the benefit honored Judy Morr, executive VP of Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Board Chairman Andy Barth introduced the 300 guests to Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, who spoke about ABT’s 50-year love affair with Southern California. “ABT has also enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with our honoree Judy Morr for nearly five decades,” said McKenzie. “She has been single-handedly responsible for curating a world renowned international dance program of the highest quality, presenting more than 1,000 dance performances to more than two million audience members.”

The evening featured a one-night-only performance by the world-renowned artists of American Ballet Theatre, including principal dancers Stella Abrera, Misty Copeland, Gillian Murphy, Hee Seo, Daniil Simkin and Cory Stearns, in scenes from the company’s repertoire, followed by a post-performance dinner and dessert with the performers.

The “Holiday Benefit” included excerpts from works by choreographers Benjamin Millepied, Alexei Ratmansky and Christopher Wheeldon, as well as scenes from the company’s most treasured classics, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. The performance also included a first look at Ratmansky’s full-length ballet Harlequinade, which will have its world premiere during ABT’s 2018 spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House.

At the conclusion, American Ballet Theatre Executive Director Kara Medoff Barnett thanked the dancers and guests and acknowledged: “ABT is America’s National Ballet Company, and we travel all over the country and around the world. Our offices and rehearsal studios may be in New York City, but Southern California is our second home.”

Co-Chairs were Sarah Arison, Avery and Andy Barth, Lisa Love, Michael Moser, Elizabeth Segerstrom, Stewart Smith and Robin Ferracone and Sutton Stracke, while Hannah Selleck was junior co-chair.

Proceeds from the benefit support ABT and its educational programs.

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Bruce Resnikoff threw a once-in-a-lifetime surprise party for his wife Claudia’s 60th birthday on Nov. 19.

More than 100 friends completely shocked her at the Wiltern Theatre, where she was led to believe Bruce was addressing a charity event.

After dinner, the crowd adjourned to the lounge, where Bruce surprised everyone with a 75-minute concert by Earth, Wind & Fire, Claudia’s favorite band.

Before its last song, the band sang Happy Birthday to Claudia, and a confetti canon went off, covering the stage and everyone in the theater.

Some in attendance included Claudia’s children, Nicole and Blake Resnikoff; her mother, Marianne Berman, her sister and brother-in-law, Michelle and Alan Kaye; as well as Marla and Michael Kantor; Amy and Noah Furie, Shirley Sherman, Laura Goldfeder, Brenda and Steve Dubin and many others.

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It is a combination of both joy and sadness that I say good-bye to one of my favorite publicists Katy Sweet, who has decided to retire at the end of the month after almost a half-century of service. Katy, along with Pam Giangregorio, Anna Yan and other members of her staff, are thoroughly professional and have been an invaluable aid to this column and the entire Courier family.

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