At Tented Fete, Houston Ballet Toasts World Premiere Inspired by Tennessee Williams Play

Daniel Ortiz and Wilson Parish
At Tented Fete, Houston Ballet Toasts World Premiere Inspired by Tennessee Williams Play

Jim Nelson, Hallie Vanderhider and Allison and Troy Thacker

HOUSTONIANS ARE FAMILIAR with living on the bayou — but not like this! The 2023 Houston Ballet Ball, chaired by Allison and Troy Thacker, homaged the Mississippi marshlands as depicted in Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke, a play that inspired the next world-premiere production by the Houston Ballet.


Spanish moss trees and a painted bayou landscape welcomed partygoers to a tent at the Margaret Alkek Williams Center for Dance, where a pianist tickled the ivories and silent auction items — luxury handbags, a Tulum getaway — tempted viewers.

Dinner was a proper southern feast, starring prime filet, corn succotash, asparagus and buttermilk biscuits. For dessert, a satisfying combo of chocolate fondant, pistachio creme, sweet toffee, vanilla ice cream and shortbread hit the spot. And wait! There's more! Party favors included truffles from Winfield's Chocolate Bar in flavors like champagne and cheesecake.

But before departing, partygoers joined Houston Ballet company members — who had not been permitted to attend events for the past several years due to Covid concerns — on the dance floor, where the sounds of Big Blast & The Party Masters kept everyone moving and grooving!

The evening, chaired by Allison and Troy Thacker, honored Hallie Vanderhider, who underwrote the Ballet's Summer and Smoke production, which debuts March 9.

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