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Spirit of Community Drives Return of Eberly Luncheon

It takes a community to bring back an event the Austin American-Statesman has called, “an Austin tradition.”

On March 25, members of the AHCA, the Austin Playhouse, the Elisabet Ney Museum, and the Austin Club join talents, forces, and resources to produce the first in-person Angelina Eberly Luncheon since February 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic changed everything.

The Angelina Eberly Luncheon is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the AHCA. This year’s Eberly Luncheon will feature a performance of Sursum! Elisabet Ney Conquers Austin, the third installment of Our Austin Story, by playwright Paullette MacDougal.

“Elisabet Ney was devoted to her art, courageous, and unconventional,” explained MacDougal. “She was a feminist before her time and relentless in doing what she wanted to do. I admire women who have accomplished much against great odds, and I see this as an homage to that. It’s history that every kid in Austin should know.”

Celebrated Austin actress Babs George will portray Elisabet Ney and actor Marc Pouhe will reprise his role as Rev. Jacob Fontaine, Austin preacher, publisher, and civil rights leader. A portion of the performance will be videotaped at the Elisabet Ney Museum, the Hyde Park studio where Ney lived and sculpted, and a portion will be live at the luncheon. The hybrid theatrical production is being directed by Producing Artistic Director of the Austin Playhouse, Lara Toner Haddock.

“Austin Playhouse is proud to be part of the Eberly Luncheon for the third year and join the Austin History Center Association in bringing a piece of Austin's history to life,” said Haddock. “This year's play is especially meaningful to me because it focuses on the impact of the arts in Austin's history. Elisabet Ney is at the center of the story and you see how her legacy continues to resonate in what we love about the character of this incredible city.”

Haddock and the Austin Playhouse were also instrumental in production of the first two installments of Our Austin Story, which were featured at Eberly Luncheons in 2020 and 2021, the most recent produced as a virtual event.

“The pandemic has been a huge challenge to the arts community and I'm grateful to the Austin History Center Association for creating an opportunity to celebrate Austin's artistic legacy,” said Haddock.

KXAN-TV news anchor Britt Moreno will serve as emcee for this year’s Eberly Luncheon and guests will once again gather at Captain Millett’s Opera House, better known today as The Austin Club.


“We have certainly missed seeing all our members and friends walk through the doors and join us for lunch and a celebration of Austin history,” said AHCA President Kent Collins. “We’re looking forward to seeing faces in person instead of on screen and getting reacquainted.”

To learn more about the Eberly Luncheon and to purchase tickets, visit the Eberly Luncheon website page or contact AHCA Executive Director Jeff Cohen at 512-484-4119.

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