Centerstage Gala | Dallas Theater Center

On Saturday, May 4, 2024 Dallas Theater Center’s annual fundraising event, CENTERSTAGE 40: A BRAND NEW DAY, will take place at Fashion Industry Gallery (F.I.G.) in the Dallas Arts District. 

The highly anticipated fête will mark the 40th year for the annual Centerstage gala, as well as the 65th anniversary for the Dallas Theater Center organization. The cabaret-jazz-inspired evening of multimedia and fine dining will include a cocktail reception highlighting many of the Public Works education and community engagement programs and featuring the Diane & Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company, followed by a seated dinner and program, vibrant live auction & paddle raise, and ending with a musical performance by a celebrated Broadway Deity, legendary activist and iconic philanthropist André De Shields.

The evening will also celebrate the 65 years of producing incredible work on and off stage and the community that makes it possible. And it is with great pride that on the night, the 2024 Linda and Bill Custard Award will be given to Donna M. Wilhelm, Life Trustee of Dallas Theater Center, recognizing her steadfast, thoughtful and tailored support to the DTC.

Funds raised from Centerstage make it possible for DTC to continue the inclusive and creative work of our organization. Join us!


Photo Credit Lia Chang


In a career spanning fifty-five years, André De Shields, at age 78, has distinguished himself as a legendary actor/activist, iconic philanthropist and Broadway deity. As Actor, Mr. De Shields’ mission is to fill intimate spaces with enormous beauty, defining intimate spaces as the hearts of humanity. As Activist, he endeavors to to restore majesty, elegance and literacy to the Black Thespian’s toolbox, to advocate for long term survivors of HIV and AIDS, and to champion the legacy of the Wellderly (elderly individuals who continue to kick butt).Additionally, he has—since 1989—served as Distinguished Visiting Professor at a variety of colleges and universities: Southern Methodist University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, SUNY Buffalo State University, Florida Atlantic University, CUNY Hunter College and NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, among others. As Philanthropist, he founded the ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS FUND FOR TRANSFORMING THE PERFORMING ARTS at his Alma Mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to benefit those students who experience cultural marginalization. There also has been established an André De Shields Scholarship at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.

Mr. De Shields was the triple-crown winner of the 2019 awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Grammy and Tony Awards as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his unanimously critically acclaimed performance as Hermes, Messenger to the Gods, in HADESTOWN. Immediately following his achievement in HADESTOWN, he co-starred as Ben Loman opposite Wendell Pierce’s Willy Loman in a multi-ethnic Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s DEATH OF A SALESMAN.Prior to his Tony Award, Mr. De Shieldswas best known for his show stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: THE WIZ (title role), AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ (Emmy Award), PLAY ON! (Tony nom.), and THE FULL MONTY (Tony nom). Among his many other accolades are three honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees, the OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence, three JEFF Awards, nine AUDELCO Awards and the 2023 89th Annual Drama League Award for Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater. Of his many distinctions, Mr. De Shields is particularly proud of having created the role of Barrett Rude Senior in the world premier of FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE at the Dallas Theater Center in 2014, directed by Daniel Aukin, choreography by Camille Brown, music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, book by Itamar Moses, adapted from the novel THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE by Jonathan Lethem.

The ninth of eleven children reared in Baltimore, Maryland Mr. De Shields is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA and SDC.



2024 Linda and Bill Custard Award Honoree :
Donna M. Wilhelm, Life Trustee of Dallas Theater Center

The Linda and Bill Custard Award is presented to individuals or organizations that show a sustained and profound commitment to American Theater and support Dallas Theater Center in providing meaningful experiences for diverse communities through the arts. The 2024 Linda and Bill Custard Award will be presented to DTC Life Trustee, Donna M. Wilhelm.


Support Dallas Theater Center by purchasing raffle tickets today! With support from Amazon, NorthPark Center, and Sidley Austin you could win one or more incredible prizes including a $2,500 Amazon Gift Card, $1,500 NorthPark Center Shopping Spree, A DTC 2024-2025 Season Experience or enjoy the Suite Life at a Dallas Mavericks or Dallas Stars game!

1 for $50 • 3 for $100 • 8 for $250 • 20 for $500
Proceeds from the Luxury Raffle benefit Dallas Theater Center’s Public Works Department. Dallas Theater Center’s Department of Public Works partners with community-based organizations, schools and government to invite people of all ages to take theater classes, attend performances and events, and join in the creation of ambitious works of participatory theater. Deep and sustained relationships with organizations and individuals who share our collective vision are the bedrock of our work throughout our diverse community.
Through this process, strangers become neighbors – creating a region that is welcoming for all.
Public Works embodies DTC’s belief in theater of, by and for the people; rooted in the values of equity, imagination and joy.
CONTEST INFORMATION: Must be a legal resident of Texas, age 18 or older. No limit on ticket purchases by one person. All major credit cards, cash, and checks accepted. Winning names will be drawn Saturday, May 4, 2024. Need not be present to win. Ticket price is not deductible as a charitable contribution. Winners will be notified on Monday, May 6, 2024, and must claim prizes within 30 days of drawings. Prize recipient is responsible for all taxes and any IRS tax implications.


Our Live Auction Packages will be announced the week of April 29. Please check back for updates!

Can’t attend? Please a proxy bid. Email for more details about

how to place your proxy bids


Jennifer and Peter Altabef • Linda and Bill Custard • Diane and Hal Brierley
Edward W. Rose III Family Fund at The Dallas Foundation

Hamilton A Sneed
Brett and Lesty Levy

Paula and Scott Orr
Cindy Thomas and Bert Headden
Donna M. Wilhelm

Stephanie and Todd Anderson
Kay and Elliot Cattarulla
Rebecca and Barron Fletcher
Ruth Robinson
Stacey Jones Angel & Venise and Larry Stuart
Texas Instruments


Current as of April 24, 2024


T.D. and Serita Jakes
Helen and Frank Risch
Hamilton A Sneed
Kevin Moriarty


Mickie Bragalone
Diane Brierley
Rebecca Fletcher
Deborah McMurray
Amber Scanlan
Sarah Warnecke
Krista Weinstein


Meredith Bjorck
Brett Levy
Lynn McBee
Crystal Z. Perry
Cyndi Phelps


Purvi Patel Albers and Bill Albers
Troy C. Alley III
Jennifer and Peter Altabef
Stephanie and Todd Anderson
Stacey Jones Angel
Sharon Ballew
Meredith and Rick Bjorck
Vicki D. Blanton
Mickie and Jeff Bragalone
Calvert Collins-Bratton and Vince Bratton
Diane and Hal Brierley
Stephanie and Michael Byrd
Zenola Campbell
Morgan Nicole Clayton
Mary McDermott Cook
Linda and Bill Custard
Deborah McMurray and Glen Davison
Toni Duclottni-Harich
Lacy L. Durham, Esq.
Lauren Embrey
Bess and Ted Enloe
Millicent Finney
Susie and Curt FitzGerald
Rebecca and Barron Fletcher
Hilda and Mike Galvan
Anita Hawkins
Craig Haynes
Angela and John Howell
Jolie Humphrey
Danyel Surrency Jones
Suzan Kedron
Chuck Steelman and Scott Kehn
Julie H. Kosnik
Brett and Lester Levy
Sarah and Alan Losinger
Lynn McBee
Lindsay Lee McCain
Chris Luna and Kent Mecklenburg
Stacey and Sam Megally
Maria Moats
Deve Sanford and Brooks Morrow
Paula and Scott Orr
Crystal Z. Perry
Cyndi Phelps
Gail H. Plummer
Holly and Kelvin Reed
Lynn and Elvenn Richardson
Carla Rockmore
Melody and Rick Rogers
Deedie Rose
Stephanie and David Russakov
Sylvia and Hernan Saenz
Teri and John Shaffer
Lisa and Marvin Singleton
Dawn Weeks Spalding
Anne and Steve Stodghill
Venise and Larry Stuart
Edwin D. Tatum
Andy Smith and Paul von Wupperfeld
Sarah and Don Warnecke
Donna M. Wilhelm

Current as of 04.24.24


We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to all of our event partners for their generosity and support! CENTERSTAGE 40 would not be possible without your partnership.

Fashion Industry Gallery
HAS Events
Murray Media Worldwide
Posh Couture Rentals
Quest Events
Shag Carpet Prop Rentals
Vestals Catering
Willamette Valley Vineyards

Event Produced By
The Event Nerd


Leslie Chatman, Director of Development

Dennis Coleman, Chief Revenue and Advancement Officer

Augusta Abene, Donor Stewardship Associate

Leah Frazier
Think Three Media