Chairs of Applause! Gala named as Phoenix Theatre Company celebrates 100 Years

From left is Nan Howlett, Maja Langbein and Sandy Magruder. The ladies and their husbands have been named Applause! Gala’s chairs. (Submitted photo)

Raise your glass — The Phoenix Theatre Company is turning 100 this season with a show-stopping evening featuring an original musical tribute highlighting the history of The Phoenix Theatre Company and its significant contributions to the community on Oct. 19.

The Applause! Gala, held at The Phoenix Theatre Company, includes a cocktail reception and dinner under the stars-provided by M Catering with dancing and live music following an unforgettable stage show featuring celebrity guests, according to a press release.

The theatrical celebration benefits The Phoenix Theatre Company’s great work, both on stage and in the community.

Chairing The Centennial Applause! Gala 2019 are couples Nan and CA Howlett of Scottsdale, Maja and John Langbein of Paradise Valley and Sandy and Mac Magruder of Paradise Valley.

Mr. and Mrs. Howlett have a long history of serving the community.

Since 2001, Mrs. Howlett served as the chair for numerous galas, as well as serving on several boards of directors. Her key philanthropic projects include being named by The Phoenix Theatre Company as its 2017 Woman Who Cares, serving as American Heart Association Heart Ball Chair 2008, as Phoenix Symphony Gala chair 2010-2016, and numerous others over the years.

Nan Howlett

Mr. Howlett, who served as an executive for US Airways for several decades is also a long-time Phoenix business and civic community leader. He is the recipient of several honorary recognitions, including receiving the Phoenix Theatre Company Man of Character Award.

He has served as on numerous charity boards including chairman of the Arizona State Chamber of Commerce, the Phoenix Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix and Valley of the Sun Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, the Grand Canyon State Games and the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra.

He has served or currently serves on the boards of directors of such organizations as the United States Chamber of Commerce, Goldwater Institute, Barrow Neurological Institute Foundation, St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, Tourism and Sports Authority, The Phoenix Theatre Company, and many others.

Mr. Howlett has also been active politically, serving on numerous presidential, senatorial, congressional and gubernatorial campaign committees.

“The Phoenix Theater Company is a world-class theatre providing not only Broadway level productions, but extensive community outreach programs, which we have seen first-hand make a difference in the lives of young people,” said Mr. and Mrs. Howlett in a prepared statement. “Programs like Partners That Heal, Adventure Stage and Summer Theater Camp entertain, educate, and inspire thousands of children each year and we feel extremely blessed to have The Phoenix Theater Company in our community and we appreciate everyone who lends their support every day.”

For more than a decade, Mr. and Mrs. Langbein have played a role in philanthropic efforts across Arizona.

A nearly lifelong Arizona resident, Mrs. Langbein has been involved in several of the state’s most well-known charitable endeavors including serving as co-chair for the Arizona Children’s Association annual gala in 2007, the Foundation for Blind Children’s Annual Night for Sight in 2009, Phoenix Children’s Hospital Beach Ball in 2012 and for the Make-A-Wish Gala in 2014.

Maja Langbein

She has also served on the committee for the Phoenix Heart Ball since 2017.

Mr. Langbein who specializes in delivering top notch client experiences at world class events, currently serves on the boards for Celebrity Fight Night, Foundation for Blind Children, Mayo Leadership Council, Merging Vets & Players and ASU’s Sun Devil Club.

He supports numerous charities and enjoys a special relationship with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Garth Brooks and Troy Aikman’s Teammates for Kids Foundation.

“The cultural sophistication of art is measured on many levels and we know that it has never been more important than today,” said Mr. and Mrs. Langbein said in a prepared statement.

“We believe art should be celebrated, valued and continually shared and we hope everyone will join us in supporting this amazing organization and celebrate The Phoenix Theatre Company, an incredible resource that is right in own backyard and here for everyone to enjoy.”

Mr. and Mrs. Magruder share a philosophy that “To whom much is given, much is required.”

The couple has been involved in charitable work and community leadership since moving to Phoenix in 1969. Mrs. Magruder has served on the Heart Ball Committee since 1995 and chaired the Heart Ball in 2004. She served on the Heart Ball Governing Council and is currently being honored as The Sweetheart for the 60th Heart Ball.

She is a member of the Barrow Women’s Board, chaired Barrow Grand Ball in 2006, and is the Ball Advisor for the 2019 Ball and has served on board for several other charitable organizations.

Mr. Magruder, who owned and operated McDonald’s restaurants here in the Valley, served on various civic and charitable boards over the past years, including the Phoenix Thunderbirds, Ronald McDonald House Board, Crisis Pregnancy Centers Board, and Barrow Neurological Institute Board where he served as treasurer.

He was a board member of the Free Congress Foundation and served on the Executive Council of the Council for National Policy.

Sandy Magruder

“We would like to congratulate Michael Barnard, Vincent VanVleet and the whole team who have worked so tirelessly to create our ‘state of the art’ Phoenix Theatre Company. Thank you also to all of the generous donors who have made this a reality. We feel so very privileged to be a part of this community,” said Mr. and Mrs. Magruder in a prepared statement.

The Phoenix Theatre Company, founded in 1920, is the first and largest producing arts organization in Arizona, celebrating its 100th birthday this upcoming season.

The Phoenix Theatre Company not only provides entertainment to more than 100,000 residents annually, but also delivers essential outreach programs to children with autism, families in healthcare and crisis facilities, and so many more through the magic of its theatre programs.

Attendance to The Centennial Applause! Gala sustains efforts to provide nearly 500 performances on three stages each season, adds to the canon of American theatre through the creation of new plays and musicals, and engages over 600 arts and culture workers each year.

Through participation in the Gala, the contributions will also embolden the theater’s outreach programming that continues to spread hope, healing and understanding of children and families across the Valley and beyond.

For more information or to purchase tickets to The Applause! Gala or call 602-889-5291.

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