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Monday May 10th

Red Clay Ramblers to be honored at PlayMakers Ball

The Red Clay Ramblers perform in the Beasley-Curtis Auditorium at Memorial Hall on Wednesday night. The band changed from the opening act to the main event when it was announced that Earl Scruggs was too ill to play.
Buy Photos The Red Clay Ramblers perform in the Beasley-Curtis Auditorium at Memorial Hall on Wednesday night. The band changed from the opening act to the main event when it was announced that Earl Scruggs was too ill to play.

This year’s PlayMakers Ball will mix a little country in with its usual glitz and glamour.

The ball’s theme, “Diamonds and Denim Hoedown,” is a tribute to the down-home music of its honorees, The Red Clay Ramblers.

Attend the ball

Time: 6 p.m. Saturday
Location: Carolina Inn
Tickets: For tickets, call (919) 452-8417

The Tony-Award winning band will receive the PlayMakers Distinguished Achievement Award at the ball Saturday at the Carolina Inn.

“In honor of The Red Clay Ramblers, we decided to mix it up a little,” said Hannah Grannemann, managing director for PlayMakers Repertory Company.

“Since we were honoring a band that plays traditional music influenced by bluegrass, we thought we’d mix in some country and western into the decor.”

Award recipients are honored for their work in the performing arts and usually have some connection to PlayMakers or UNC.

Last spring, the Red Clay Ramblers joined PlayMakers in the production of “Big River.”

The Ramblers performed the original music for the 1984 Broadway show and reprised their role at Paul Green Theatre last April.

Past recipients include actors David Hyde Pierce, Billy Crudup, and Faye Dunaway.

The Red Clay Ramblers, are native North Carolina musicians who have worked with PlayMakers and on Broadway. The band’s personnel includes two UNC alumni.

The ball, in its 24th year, is the company’s major fundraising event, said Lenore Field, events coordinator for PlayMakers.

Tickets are $500 per person and $5,000 per table.

Stacy Payne, director of development for PlayMakers, said in an email that the ball’s financial net goal is typically $100,000.

Proceeds go to the artistic needs of PlayMakers and cover the cost of their various performances.

But Grannemann said funds also go to educational and outreach programming, which includes student tickets, work in area schools and programs like the Vision Series that give audiences a deeper insight into performances.

Payne said the idea for a black-tie ball began in the late 1980s.

The idea was launched by Carroll Kyser, director of special events, her sister Kimberly and some of PlayMakers’ patrons.

UNC philanthropist Betty Kenan found community organizations to serve as benefactors, and the tradition of the annual PlayMakers Ball began.

“Soon the event became known as the best party in town — elegant, fun and an effective fundraiser, qualities that have remained true throughout the years,” Payne said.

Grannemann said the ball is a great way to introduce people to PlayMakers.

“It’s a really fun evening, and I always enjoy seeing our supporters and people from across the universe eat a good meal together,” she said.

“It’s great for people who want to support the theatre and have a fun evening out.”

Contact the Arts Editor at arts@dailytarheel.com.

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