Happy Birthday, Benedum! 'Smash' star headlines gala

| Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

There appears to be nothing quite as lovely as the sweet taste of success. Unless, of course, it's sprinkled with just a hint of good-humored revenge.

“I'm so happy to be back in Pittsburgh tonight,” confessed NBC's “Smash” starlet Megan Hilty as she took center stage at the Benedum Center for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Gala. “You know, I got to do so many great things while I was a student at CMU ... but I never once got to perform on this stage until tonight. In fact, I had sent the CLO (Civic Light Opera) my tape, but they never called me back. I hear (executive producer) Van Kaplan's in the room tonight. ... We'll talk later!”

Water under the bridge as the blond bombshell, made famous by her Broadway debut as Glinda in “Wicked,” sung her heart out to a crowd of 460 VIPs that included PCT prez Kevin McMahon, founding prexy Carol Brown, co-chairs Rich andScheryl Harshman, interim board co-chairs Carolyn Duronio and Charles Queenan Jr., Grant Oliphant, Milt andNancy Washington, Eva Tansky Blum, William andPride Winken-werder,Catherine Loevner, Bob andJane Krizner, Joe andLynn Smith, Ralph andRuth Anne Papa, Richard Rauh and Renee Williams, Lou and Veronica Guarino, and Harris andJanet Ferris.

Prior to the exchanging of friendly fire, guests were enjoying a tented cocktail hour across the street from the Benedum, where a burst of pyrotechnics from the marquee replaced the oh-so-standard dinner bell. Inside, tables set onstage were quickly attended to by the Duquesne Club, leaving no whim unattended to.

Centerpieces in the shape of birthday cakes served as a nod to the evening's other shining star, one that's growing ever more beautiful with age: Saturday's soiree signaled the 25th anniversary of the opening of our beloved Benedum Center for the Performing Arts.

By eve's end, the event had raised $575K.

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