Theatre Under the Stars
Q2: Issue 2, DEC. 2021

Holiday Joy This Season At TUTS!

Hi TUTS supporters,

I have had the privilege of working at Theatre Under The Stars for the past 13 years. I’ve been a fan since the 1980s when my father, Fred, introduced me to the world of musical theatre. My first show was The King and I with Yul Brenner which got me hooked! Dad and I still come see TUTS shows together, here we are at Into The Woods, the 2016 TUTS holiday show.

Even with my TUTS history and love, I think this may just be the year that I am the biggest fan!

After all we have collectively been through, I cannot wait to celebrate the holidays with you and yours at Disney’s The Little Mermaid! From the anticipation of your tickets arriving to the excitement of arriving at the theatre- it all just seems more exciting when it’s part of this season. Family and friends creating fun memories here at Theatre Under The Stars is what keeps the TUTS staff, crew, and creatives going through the glorious frenetic energy that is putting up a musical during the holidays!

Wishing you and yours a most joyful holiday season!

Elizabeth England

Audience Development

P.S. I invite you to stop inside the Grand Lobby to take a picture at our photo opportunity, and make sure to tag us on social media and use hashtags #tutshouston and #tutsthelittlemermaid – we love seeing all the photos and videos!

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | TikTok

A message from Shane Platt, Annual Fund Manager

Dear Friends,

My name is Shane Platt and I am Annual Fund Manager at TUTS. Our Annual Fund comprises more than 3,500 households who go beyond their investment in tickets and subscription packages and give philanthropically to TUTS. Thank you for your generosity!!

With ticket and subscription sales covering less than 60% of our operating budget, members of our Annual Fund make everything TUTS does possible – from our mainstage performances, to educating future performers and audience members in both of our schools, to the important work of bringing our artform to the Greater Houston community. Our Annual Fund members are the heart of TUTS.

I get a lot of questions wondering what the difference is between a subscriber and a donor. We love our subscribers who purchase tickets and subscriptions to our main stage shows. But it is our donors who go the extra mile to fulfill the mission of TUTS with their charitable contributions. Without our annual fund donors, we could not perform our mainstage shows and keep ticket prices accessible. We could not operate our schools or do our community outreach work. TUTS would be a vastly different organization without your support.

As a donor, you are the reason the next generation of Broadway stars are being trained right here in Houston at the Humphreys School for Musical Theatre. You help students with disabilities, and their siblings, find their voice and share it with the world through The River programs. You allow members of often underserved communities articulate their life stories and become empowered by sharing their journey with others with the training and coaching offered in our Community Outreach programs. TUTS is a non-profit musical theatre company and achieving our mission is only possible through your charitable donations. Of all the causes in Houston you may have an opportunity to support, we are so grateful that you have chosen to support TUTS.

Right now, we are asking you to renew your Annual Membership by making a gift at With our new donor benefits, we invite you to get closer to TUTS and the mission. Visit membership to learn about all our donor levels and benefits and choose the level that best suits your interests.

If you have any questions about your annual support, you can always reach me at

Your Friend Under The Stars,

Shane L. Platt,

Annual Fund Manager


Hi there,

I’m Laura Peete and I am beyond thrilled to be joining the Theater Under The Stars team as the Director of Education, TUTS Musical Academy providing strategy and oversight for HSMT, The River, and Community Engagement. I come to you by way of Orlando, FL in which I previously served as the Director of Education Programs at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. As a committed arts administrator, as an artist/arts educator of color, and as an individual who had to work ten times harder to claim a seat at the table, I strive to create opportunities and experiences to provide people the ability to see themselves represented in the arts. I am honored to bring my experiences to the TUTS legacy and join you as we continue to build high standards of excellence to exemplify how the arts can help the world be a more belonging, equitable, and inclusive place on a local, state, and national platform.

I look forward to meeting you and all the members of our TUTS community soon!

Laura Peete

Director of Education, TUTS Musical Academy

Donor Profile: Lainey Balagia Croucher & Megan Hotze

TUTS: How did you first get involved with TUTS?

Lainey: I started out as an HSMT Academy student (back when we were still off San Felipe!). As soon as I finished law school and returned to Houston, I found ways to start donating and getting involved with TUTS again. TUTS is one of the first places I was able to find “my people” so I’m basically indebted to TUTS forever.

Megan: My involvement also started at a young age! My mom and grandmother always made it a priority to take us to see shows as a family when I was younger and I fell in love with the beauty of live performance and with TUTS in particular. As my best friend, and partner in most aspects of life, when Lainey asked me to consider joining her as an ambassador and volunteer for TUTS, my answer was a resounding YES!

TUTS: How do you enjoy TUTS as a family?

LB & MH: We’ve always taken our kids with us to the family friendly shows – especially at the holidays – but this year we’ve had the added bonus of bringing them to the Starlites program during the last two shows. During Rock of Ages they got to dress in their 80’s best and learn a choreographed dance to an 80’s hit and they had a dance party and did theatre-themed crafts while we enjoyed Sister Act! It’s an incredible experience for our little humans.

What have been some of your favorite TUTS experiences?

LB: Well, mine is not just my favorite TUTS experience, it’s literally the greatest experience of my life, and that’s getting to sing with Idina Menzel at Gala two years ago. No offense to my husband or daughter, but it’s literally the best thing that ever happened to me.

MH: So many of my favorite experiences have been the interactions my family enjoyed with the TUTS staff and talent. My daughters have had the opportunity to meet the cast of various shows during rehearsal or at a cast after-party and the TUTS team always goes above and beyond to ensure our experiences are positive. All that said, I think my ultimate favorite is watching the talented children from The River program perform in shows and at special events!

Do you have any special TUTS holiday memories?

MH: We LOVED seeing Elf and TUTS invited my girls to enjoy a Meet and Greet with the cast prior to seeing the show! It was so much fun for them to get that special peek behind the scenes!

You’ve been very generous donors to TUTS and our programming; what motivates you to support TUTS?

LB & MH: We’re most passionate about supporting the education component of what we do. As two women who spent our younger days on stage, we both know how important it is to provide a safe place where kids can feel like they belong; a haven that not only gives a child a voice but that also feeds this magical part of the brain that’s so developmentally important. Children who are exposed to and participate in theatre build powerful skills in areas like public speaking, reading, and creative writing, but they also develop emotional intelligence while learning how to express themselves in healthy, productive ways. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give a child, and we will do and give everything we can to ensure these types of programs stay alive.

TUTS: We’re so excited about our new donor group The Company which you’re co-chairing. What can potential members look forward to if they join?

LB & MH: SO many things! First of all, you’re joining a community of like-minded couples and families who want to support the arts and usher the TUTS message out into the community. From a benefits perspective, we have a calendar full of incredible special events, holiday parties, cast parties, karaoke nights, and family-friendly gatherings. We are offering the Starlites program where the younger children of The Company can attend classes with our teaching instructors during shows and learn songs and dances from the pros. You get valet parking and snacks (we’re always here for the snacks!) AND you get to give back to the greatest arts institution in this city. What more could you ask for?!


This Fall, Theatre Under The Stars was selected as the Arts and Culture finalist for the Impact100 Houston’s inaugural grant, one of just five non-profits selected from more than 60 applicants. Impact100 was created to empower women to award large grants that transform lives in their local communities. The other grant finalists were Angela House (Family), SPARK School Park Program (environment), The Chinquapin School (Education), and Kid’s Meals (Health & Wellness). TUTS was awarded a $22,000 grant at the Annual Awards Celebration on November 3 at the Rice Hotel.

This grant will be used for operations of The River – our affordable, accessible arts education program for individuals with disabilities and their siblings. TUTS salutes Impact 100 Houston and their 188 members for all they have accomplished in just their first year, an amazing feat to achieve in the middle of a pandemic! We are deeply honored to be selected as a finalist and to be included among these incredible non-profit organizations working hard every day to making Houston a better place to live.

Freeport LNG

Theatre Under The Stars is proud of our incredible 47-year funding history with Enbridge and its heritage companies. Enbridge’s financial support has played an important role in our evolution from a fledgling theatre troupe at Miller Outdoor Theatre into one of the nation’s leading non-profit musical theatre organizations. We salute Enbridge for their production sponsorship of Disney’s The Little Mermaid in December.

“We didn’t spend years perfecting our craft or battle a case of nerves every single time we performed. But, as proud sponsors of Theatre Under The Stars we are helping to create a new generation of art lovers in Houston. When the energy you invest in life meets the energy we fuel it with, standing ovations happen

Welcome to our new Annual Members


  • Mr. and Mrs. Shaw Ottis


  • Cathy & Robert Binstock
  • Mr. Doug Pitcock / Williams Brothers Construction Co.
  • Leslie & Sean Roark

Thank you to all supporters of Lights Up 2021!


  • Marsha & David Taylor
  • Stephanie and Frank Tsuru


  • ConocoPhillips
  • Cheryl & Herb Listen
  • John P. McGovern Foundation
  • John L. Nau, III
  • Amy & Rob Pierce


  • Martha & Guy Benham
  • Patricia & Sig Cornelius
  • Ernst & Young
  • Freeport LNG
  • Schlumberger
  • Sandy & Randy Stilley
  • Jeff Smith/Doug Lionberger/Winston & Strawn


  • AIG Life & Retirement
  • Baker Botts L.L.P.
  • Cathy and Bob Binstock
  • Laura & Jerry Edrington
  • EXL Services
  • Mr. Mitchell Fane
  • Grant Thornton LLP
  • Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Demetra & Franklin Jones
  • Brigitte & Bashar Kalai
  • The Kayser Foundation
  • Mr. Ajay Khurana and Dr. Sippi K. Khurana
  • Jay Landa & Daniel Turner
  • Latham &Watkins
  • Locke Lord LLP
  • Margaret C. Lombardo & Steven L. Burkett
  • Sara & Bret Oliver / PwC
  • StoneTurn / Alan & Tricia Ratliff
  • Reich and Binstock, LLP
  • Mr. Troy Thacker
  • Mr. & Mrs. Stephen M. Trauber


  • Margaret Alkek Williams
  • Mr. Arturo Chavez
  • Sue & Chris Conway
  • Marcela E. Donadio & Lawrence R. Dickerson
  • Patrice & Pete McKinney
  • Lindsey & Scott McReaken
  • Amber Mostyn

  • $4,999-$1,000

    • Amegy Bank
    • Nancy & Dr. Avin Brownlee
    • Dolores Cavatore & John Tobola
    • Mr. Nolan Clark
    • Connie & Dr. Cal Dalton
    • Mr. Reginald Desroches
    • Ms. Melissa Ferguson
    • Ms. Jessica Fields
    • Mr. Mark Gibennus
    • Mr. Don M. Glendenning
    • Mr. Michael Gonzales
    • Sharon & Jim Hickey
    • Stephanie & Randy Holcombe
    • Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Levasseur
    • Alexandra & James Marshall
    • Becky & Bart McAndrews
    • Mr. and Mrs. Patrick McWilliams
    • Mr. & Mrs. Edward Middleman
    • Shelly & Jerome Mulanax
    • Roxann & Timothy Neumann
    • Mr. and Mrs. Shaw Ottis
    • Mr. Caryn Papantonakis
    • Mr. Joe Perillo
    • Joanna & Robert Perkins
    • Pierpont Communications
    • Suzanne Reyes & Rob Scheinerman
    • Ms. Heather Sirdashney
    • Mr. Halden Smith
    • Jessika & Jeff Smith
    • Sterling
    • Meredith & Raffi Tcholakian
    • Andrea & Trent Tellepsen
    • Mr. Don Traweek
    • icki & Adam Valentine
    • Vinson & Elkins LLP
    • Charlotte & Larry Whaley
    • Gina & John Williamson
    • Carrie & Ron Woliver


    • Mr. Alfredo Arribas
    • Roselle & Dennis Baldwin
    • Mr. Stewart Barnes
    • Margaret & George Basu
    • Mr. Joshua Bauer
    • Mr. John Black
    • Mr. Stephen Bouis
    • Ms. Carol Brooks
    • Ms. Treopia Cannon
    • Brady & Zane Carruth
    • Elaine & Brant Croucher
    • Mr. Derrick Cyprian
    • Jennifer & Chris Daniel
    • Mr. Michael Day
    • Ms. June Deadrick
    • Mr. David Emmons
    • Dr. Constance Faro
    • Mr. Aaron Foley
    • Arlene & Alan Gerger
    • Ms. Karen Gilmore
    • Mr. Frederick Graney
    • Mr. Bryson Grover
    • Mr. Nicholas Haley
    • Mr. Dallas L. Hall
    • Ms. Brenda Hampton
    • Mr. Craig Harwerth
    • Ms. Amy Heaton
    • Mr. Jeremy Henderson
    • Mrs. Jenée Jongebloed Bobbora & Mr. Bill Bobbora
    • Mr. Marc Laborde
    • Amy & Paul Lampi
    • Mr. & Mrs. Paul B. Loyd, Jr.
    • Paige & Ron May
    • Dawn Neal
    • Krystal & Jay Patout
    • Mr. David Peck
    • Leslie & Sean Roark
    • Mr. Ross Robin
    • Mr. Brennen Simpson
    • Gavin & Stephanie Smith
    • Debbie & James Venditto
    • Julia & Bruce Vincent
    • Ms. Stephanie Wall

    Leading Ladies

    • Leeanne Aguilar
    • Michelle Arnold
    • Brittany Clark
    • Johanna DeYoung
    • Jamie Ennett
    • Abimbola Farinde
    • Susan Fontenot
    • Lauren Harrell
    • Heather Hennekes
    • April Hiemstra
    • Leticia Jaroski
    • Isabel Kuri
    • Jennifer Lamb
    • Patrice McKinney
    • Debra Mosier-Young
    • Dawn Neal
    • Kim Nguyen-Coleman
    • Teresa Pettit
    • Amy Pierce
    • Valentine Reed-Johnson
    • Jacquelyne Rocan
    • Sanvita Sample
    • Julie Schweers
    • Dena LaBarbera Scott
    • Verr Soltes
    • Sonia Soto
    • Sarah Stegall
    • Marsha Taylor
    • Mary Valle-Cooper
    • Mary Carmen Varley
    • Chival Washington
    • Carey West
    • Carrie Woliver

    † 2021/22 Committee Members