By Emily Williams
The Alys Stephens Center will present a different side of Oscar- and Emmy-nominee Jeff Goldblum at the 2019 Viva Health Starlight Gala on June 2.
Goldblum will take the stage at the Jemison Concert Hall as a pianist, accompanied by the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, for the center’s annual gala fundraiser.
Chair for this year’s gala, Mark Tarr, president and CEO of Encompass Health, sees it as a privilege to be able to present this year’s headlining act.
“I’m from the era that is very familiar with Jeff Goldblum as a wonderful actor, so I’m excited to see him at the piano with his band,” Tarr said. “From what I hear, Jeff Goldblum not only has a huge fan base from my generation but is also well known to the millennials.”
Through his position as gala chair, Tarr has been raising awareness for the purpose of the event, to raise funds for UAB’s Visual and Performing Arts through the Alys Stephens Center and the Abroms Engel Institute for the Visual Arts.
“Through its educational programs, learning in K-12 schools is enhanced and truly levels the playing field for students. With its arts programs in assisted living facilities and local hospitals, the healing environment is transformed,” Tarr said. “All of the programs align with Encompass Health’s mission to help change lives for the better.”
Tarr’s parents exposed him to the arts at an early age, though he says he was less than enthusiastic about having to sacrifice Little League baseball time for piano lessons.
“My piano skills never fully developed, but my appreciation for talented musicians has only grown with time,” he said.
After attending his first few shows at the ASC, Tarr was driven to become more philanthropically involved with the institution.
“Not only did I think it was a great venue with incredible artists coming each season, but it was also partially sponsored by Encompass Health, formerly HealthSouth, which made it seem like an easy fit for me as a means to get involved,” he said.
Not only are the educational and outreach programs vital to the community, Tarr also sees the institution as a whole as a major influence in supporting the current cultural renaissance in Birmingham.
“Between its location and proximity to the bustling UAB campus, the diverse and talented artists, and the venue itself, ASC plays a critical role as a cornerstone to the many cultural alternatives from which to choose,” he said.
The gala will begin at 5 p.m. with a pre-show cocktail reception, followed by Goldblum’s performance. VIP tickets are also available, which include a dinner package.
Tickets are limited and must be reserved by May 22.
For more information, visit alysstephens.org.