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By Roxanne Roberts
Monday, January 10, 2005; Page C03

GALA's New Home Sweet Home

For 29 long years, GALA Hispanic Theatre's loyal actors and patrons have been searching for a home to call their own. They finally found it at the historic Tivoli Theatre, and Friday was the time to celebrate. "No one knows how fabulous this is if they haven't been with GALA for three or four moves," said Joel Atlas Skirble, GALA board president. "It's a miracle!"

Beginning with the red-hot carpet outside the Columbia Heights landmark to the flaming red "Targetinis" donated by sponsor Target inside, it was clear that the Latin spirit was en la casa.

Rita Moreno at Friday night's party to celebrate GALA Hispanic Theatre's new performance space, the renovated Tivoli Theatre in Columbia Heights. (Rebecca D'Angelo - For The Washington Post)

"Sorry I have to kiss you, it's a Latin thing!" explained GALA board member Hector Torres amid a crowd of nearly 300 jubilant arts aficionados including Bill and Dorothy McSweeny, D.C. Council members Linda Cropp, Jim Graham and Carol Schwartz, and Tony Chauveaux of the National Endowment for the Arts.

"The fact is that we deserve it," said a proud Hugo Medrano, who founded the Spanish-language theater company with his wife, Rebecca, in their Adams Morgan townhouse. "We've worked very hard for this."

Nancy Monahan and Renee Lamont greet guests. (Rebecca D'Angelo - For The Washington Post)
Of course, having a famous friend doesn't hurt. "I was here a long time ago and they told me their dreams," said stage and screen legend Rita Moreno, who has donated rent money over the years. "I thought, 'Well, good luck,' but by God, they did it."

Home is where the corazón is.

Kay Kendall's Fancy Footwork

Just call Kay Kendall the dancing queen. The Washington Ballet board president celebrated her 60th birthday Saturday night at a bash hosted by Artistic Director Septime Webre. The effervescent Kendall and more than 250 fans including daughter Katherine, son Syd, Jack Evans, Raul Fernandez, Mary Haft, Bill Dunlap, Bitsey Folger, Nini Ferguson, Cindy Jones, Cheryl Masri and Holidae Hayes tore up the dance floor at "Studio 60" -- also known as the ballet's Wisconsin Avenue headquarters.

Cindy Jones, Cheryl Masri and Holidae Hayes help the birthday girl celebrate her 60th. (Rebecca D'Angelo - For The Washington Post)
"She's fabulous," Webre said. "She combines a Michelle Pfeiffer elegance with a Jennifer Lopez party-girl sensibility." Not bad. The birthday girl was, characteristically, much more modest. "Denial's better than therapy," she said with a laugh. "It's good to do this while my knees still work."

Never a Doll Moment

Janet Donovan guards the bar dolls at Teatro Goldoni. (Rebecca D'Angelo - For The Washington Post)
"What is the point of this evening?" teased Chuck Conconi of Washingtonian magazine. Well, Janet Donovan and Craig Crawford's bipartisan party Wednesday at Teatro Goldoni was an excuse to get together after the holidays, ramp up for the inaugural bashes, and play with Ann Coulter dolls. The 100 guests at the K Street eatery -- John McLaughlin, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, Mark Russell, Bill Press, John Fox Sullivan,Helen Thomas and other media and political types -- took inordinate delight putting the Barbie-like Coulters in naughty poses with "W" and Clinton dolls -- rather than listen to the doll's sound bites. Turns out Coulter (the doll) can change positions. Who knew?

With Laura Thomas

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