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Arts Center Celebrates 16th Birthday At “Star Struck!’ Gala on Oct. 27

Friends of the Great Neck Arts Center will celebrate the organization’s 16th anniversary at “Star Struck!,” an annual Gala to be held Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the Lake Success Village Club. In addition to honoring members of the community who have contributed to The Arts Center’s remarkable growth, the Gala will feature special performances by local and Broadway stars, including Trent Kowalik, who received a Tony Award for his starring role as Billy Elliot in the hit show Billy Elliot.

The Gala will honor Diana and Jeffrey Phillips, who will be presented with The Arts Center’s “Community Achievement Award.” The couple is the founders and owners of the popular Great Neck restaurant Café Rustica. Also being honored is State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, who will receive the “Inspiration Award,” Saddle Rock Mayor J. Leonard Samansky, who will be given the “Founders Award,” and performer Trent Kowalik, who will be named The Arts Center’s “Rising Star: Artist of Distinction.”

The Gala includes a VIP cocktail reception, dinner and show, beginning at 6 p.m. In addition, a commemorative journal will be published so that the community can extend wishes of support to The Arts Center and the honorees. Funds raised through the Gala and journal will be dedicated to the Arts Center education and outreach programs.

For one evening, the community will be able to gather to enjoy a fabulous performance, network, enjoy great food and pay tribute to the individuals who work so hard to enrich the lives of all in our community,” said Arts Center founder and Executive Director Regina Gil. She urged everyone to show their support for The Arts Center, “which is dedicated to enriching the cultural life of our community.”

The tribute performance will include Great Neck stars Michelle Raitzen, recording artist and songwriter, Adam Kantor, who was the lead in the Broadway production of Rent, and Caroline Sorokoff, a cabaret singer and Arts Center staff member.

Trent Kowalik, who will perform numbers from Billy Elliot, earned a Tony Award earlier this year for his performance. The 13 year old has been performing his entire life. He became the youngest American male to win the World Irish Dancing Championship at age 11.

Other performers include the Innisfree School of Irish Dance, Gossip Girl and One Life to Live star Amanda Setton, actress and singer Becky Ryan, and musician and composer Jon Weber.

In addition, maestros Joseph Rutkowski and Roger Ames, of the Great Neck North High School music faculty, will present special performances by Long Island’s finest young talent. This year’s gala performance will be produced by theatre director Alan Lehman and Annie Pasqua will serve as the musical director.

There is a wide range of prices for performance and dinner tickets. Event sponsorships are also available at a number of levels. Journal ads range in price from $180 for a business card size ad to $3,000 for the back cover.

Further information is available about the event and journal by calling Arts Center Gala Coordinator Ronni Berger at 829-2570.