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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Theater

UH alumni honored by department


Billy Strtich, Sally Mayes and Sharon Montgomery who are alumni of the University, closed the “Legacy: A Celebration of the UH School of Theatre and Dance” event Friday evening at the Wortham Theatre when a rendition of a Grammy award-winning record. The event attracted many UH alumni throughout the city who are connected to the School of Theatre and Dance. | Courtesy of Pin Lim

Billy Strtich, Sally Mayes and Sharon Montgomery who are alumni of the University, closed the “Legacy: A Celebration of the UH School of Theatre and Dance” event Friday evening at the Wortham Theatre when a rendition of a Grammy award-winning record. The event attracted many UH alumni throughout the city who are connected to the School of Theatre and Dance. | Courtesy of Pin Lim

“Legacy: A Celebration of the UH School of Theatre and Dance” welcomed back six alumni to celebrate the program and its long tradition of producing successful entertainers in show business, Friday at the Wortham Theatre in the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.

Guests of honor included Brett Cullen, Sally Mayes, Sharon Montgomery, Brent Spiner, Billy Stritch and Robert Wuhl who entertained a sold out crowd with songs and stories.

They recognized the impact the school had in their careers and lives, and the proceeds from the ticketed event benefited the Cecil J. Pickett Scholarship Endowment Fund — a scholarship named after a former theater faculty member who made a significant impact to the school and Houston’s theater community.

The scholarship will benefit theater undergraduates and give the University of Houston’s drama program a chance to compete with prestigious drama schools such as New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Yale’s School of Drama.

Mayor Annise Parker declared Sept. 7 as Cecil J. Pickett Day in Houston at the start of the event.

The very touching moment was capped off by a short speech from Pickett’s daughter, Cindy, thanking the crowd and the University for their continuing support.

Cullen and Wuhl read off a list of UH alumni that included Loretta Devine, Star Jones, Master P., Jim Parsons, Dennis and Randy Quaid, Jack Valenti and Lil’ Wayne.

Afterwards, Wuhl kept the crowd laughing with an interactive comedy act that included stories of his parents, childhood, how he ended up at UH and he even gave the audience a pop quiz.

Spiner and Stritch, on the piano, were accompanied by 2012 graduate Jenna Simmons who was invited to perform with them and show off her vocal talents. The three sang tunes connected to Stritch’s time in Houston.

Dennis Quaid, who could not attend the event, sent a video message thanking everyone for their support of the School of Theatre and Dance.

Mayes, Montgomery and Stritch — a jazz vocal trio during their time at UH — reunited after 30 years to conclude the event.

The trio performed a variety of songs that ranged from ballads to comedies and even included Stritch’s 1994 Grammy award-winning song “Does He Love You?” recorded by country superstar Reba McIntyre.

As the event came to a close, UH President and Chancellor Renu Khator thanked the alumni and the audience for coming and for helping elevate the University to its Tier One status.

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