23rd Annual REAF Gala Is A Showstopping Success

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Joe Seller, Francis Tsang, Willie Brown, Sophie Azouaou, and Johnny Cloutman
Joe Seller, Francis Tsang, Willie Brown, Sophie Azouaou, and Johnny Cloutman

Photo Credit: David Perea Photography

Sophie Azouaou was the belle of the ball on Sunday night. The elegant philanthropist was honored at the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation’s (REAF) 23rd annual Help is on the Way gala for her contributions to the organization. “As a Board Member of REAF, I was truly honored to co-chair our 23rd anniversary gala,” Azouaou said when she took the stage to receive a proclamation from the mayor. “It takes a village to co-chair Northern California’s biggest concert and gala. I am deeply grateful to have been honored tonight and that Mayor Ed Lee gave me a city proclamation. While it is wonderful to be honored, I could not have done it without the help of remarkable individuals.”

Sonya Molodetskaya shows off one of her Major Obsession creations
Sonya Molodetskaya shows off one of her Major Obsession creations

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

The event took place at Herbst Theatre and featured a VIP reception, outstanding show, and after party. Chic guests, like Farah Makras, Brenda Zarate, and Rada Katz, mingled with politicians and leaders in the LBGTQ community. Guests nibbled on extra sharp cheddar cheese while enjoying an open bar in the stylish green room. The performance was produced by REAF board chair Joe Seiler and executive director Ken Henderson. The highlight was an exceptional song and dance by the touring cast of Something Rotten that was specifically created just for the event. Other performances included local jazz lady Paula West, who sang a tribute to Bob Dylan, Garrett Clayton, who starred in the television movie Hairspray Live, and sang ‘It Takes Two’ from that show, and Tony award-winner Levi Kreis, who reprised his song from Million Dollar Quartet. The entire cast closed the show with REAF’s theme song, ‘Help is on the Way’ by David Freidman. The set design was by Josh Koral of Acme Scenery and consisted of a glorious shimmering backdrop with crystal curtains and glittering chandeliers.

Liam Mayclem and Jessica Aguirre lead the live auction
Liam Mayclem and Jessica Aguirre lead the live auction

Photo Credit: David Perea Photography

Liam Mayclem and NBC Bay Area news anchor Jessica Aguirre oversaw the live auction which featured lots for a chef’s dinner for 10 with paired wines prepared by the executive chef at Finn Town Tavern and a beautiful designer’s gown by Major Obsessions where the winner got to choose a gown shown with a mini fashion show featuring designers  Altana Danzhalova and Sonya Molodestkaya.

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