The massive ceiling restoration at the Fox Theatre is underway. But while the theater is dark, there will be a few things cooking this summer, literally. The lady of the house, MARY STRAUSS, has announced two ‘legendary’ summer four-course dinners to take place in the theater’s Grand Lobby: Dinner with the Stars (July 27) and Dinner with Josephine Baker & Friends (Aug. 24). Dinner with the Stars will offer ‘a taste of Old Hollywood’ featuring recipes culled from some of Tinseltown’s most storied establishments such as Chasen’s and The Brown Derby, as well as an homage to Frank Sinatra by vocalist Tom Heitman. The French-inspired Dinner with Josephine Baker and Friends will feature entertainment from actress Cheryl Howard, who stars in Off-Broadway’s The Sensational Josephine Baker. For reservations or more information, call 535-2369 or visit

Speaking of MARY STRAUSS, she recently returned from a whirlwind trip to New York to attend the Tony Awards and cheer on Best Musical nominee and Fox Theatricals’ offering Bring It On: The Musical. While there, she also had the chance to take in a few of Broadway’s others hot tickets, including The Assembled Parties, Motown: The Musical, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (winner of Best Play), and Pippin (Best Revival of a Musical).

More Tony footnotes…There’s a St. Louis connection to Best Revival of a Musical winner Pippin. St. Louis native KURT DEUTSCH, Grammy Award-winning producer of Ghostlight Records, co-produced the new Broadway cast recording of Pippin. But wait, there’s more: One of the tunes on the album, No Time At All, required a cast of 600 voices to sing with actress ANDREA MARTIN, who just won the Tony for her role. Among those lending her voice to the effort was none other than Deutsch’s mom, community volunteer and Woman of Achievement FRAN ZAMLER, who tells LN it was “a thrill to see my son in action!”

Up and away…When SOLAR IMPULSE touched down in St. Louis earlier this month, the crew experienced a few ‘firsts’ in the Gateway City. The 100-percent solar-powered aircraft, which is making its historic ‘Across America’ voyage from San Francisco to New York, stopped in St. Louis June 4, completing the longest-ever flight of its journey so far at 21 hours, 22 minutes. When it landed at Lambert Airport, Solar Impulse had to deploy its own inflatable hangar for the first time because the Lambert facility that was supposed to house the airplane was damaged by storms in late May.

Also during the stopover, members of the crew were awarded with Liberty Medals to honor their accomplishments. Leading the presentation of the medals was St. Louis sculptor DON WIEGAND and his Wiegand Foundation, along with the Lindbergh Foundation and the DRAFT organization. In the 1980s, Wiegand was commissioned to create a sculpture of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi for the 100th anniversary of Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty. When Wiegand learned that several of the plane’s crew members hailed from the same region where Bartholdi worked on Lady Liberty, he arranged for them to receive the medals to honor their contribution to international cooperation across borders. Wiegand tells LN he was honored, “They’re wearing the Liberty Medals—proudly—all coming out of St. Louis.” Solar Impulse left St. Louis June 14. It is scheduled to complete its journey in Washington DC and New York in early July.