Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater hosted its Homecoming Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, October 23 followed by an Opening Gala Celebration on Monday, October 25, 2010. The company's artistic director, Molly Smith, was present at both events.
The Homecoming Celebration included performances and talks by Matt Bogart, Kate Baldwin, Alice Ripley, Brad Oscar, E. Faye Butler, The Universes, Stephen Wade, The Manzari Brothers, Charles Randolph-Wright, Anna Deavere Smith, Marcus Gardley, Katori Hall, Amy Freed, and the cast of Arena's Oklahoma!
The Opening Gala featured cocktails, dinner, and an exclusive one-night-only performance featuring Tony Award winners Brian Stokes Mitchell and Alice Ripley. Award-winning journalist and ABC7/WJLA-TV lead anchor Leon Harris emceed the evening.
Notable guests at the gala included Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, Arlene and Robert Kogod, Victor Shargai, Jaylee Mead, Michele Berman, Beth Newburger Schwartz, and Vincent Gray.
The Opening Gala Celebration was further distinguished by the support of Honorary Chairs Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, who could not attend the event. Honorary Co-Chairs D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Michelle Fenty were in attendance.