BREAK OUT THE TIKI TORCHES. This summer some of Northeast Ohio’s grandest homes are throwing house parties, and you’re invited. But these aren’t just any summer shindigs — the Beck Center for the Arts’ “Spring Fling! Summer Socials!” series will provide six musically themed events that are a mix of singing, dancing and tasty eats.
Beck Center board member Ann Elder visits potential homes with a list of ideas for mini-Broadway shows she may be able to stage in each and then works with artistic director Scott Spence, who selects specifics songs to go with the theme. “It’s like naming your children,” she says, laughing. “Each [home] has a certain uniqueness.”
A two-time Emmy-winning television writer and producer, Elder is remembered for her three-year stint succeeding Goldie Hawn on Laugh-In during the early 1970s. “Producing parties like this really is a natural outgrowth from what I did for the little screen out there in Hollywood,” she says.
On June 19, The Music Man and Sing-a-long will be staged in a Tudor Revival manor that was once the home of a former Canadian consulate. The home’s current owner, Francis Gross, whose love for show tunes and the piano led to the evening’s theme, will lead a sing-a-long. The party will be the Beck Center’s first East Side social.
“Once I toured the house, I would get a feeling about it,” Elder says, explaining her process of pairing homes and music.
The June 19 event will be followed by a West Side social on July 31. Elder says when she saw the crystal chandeliers, glamorous terraces and velvet Hollywood screening room of the 24,000-square-foot Westlake home belonging to Linda and Bob Smigel, she knew what she wanted to do.
“There was no question in my mind about that home,” she says. “It had to be Phantom of the Opera!”