Elegance and finery with a 1930s flair was the defining look as Westport's A-List gathered Monday at an iconic venue to celebrate musical theater. And while they recalled the past, the group also looked to the future. In fact, their presence ensured there would be one.

About 500 supporters of the arts, philanthropists, staff and performers convened at Westport Country Playhouse for the landmark theater's major fundraiser of the year.

Titled "Playing Our Songs: Celebrating 80 Years of Musical Theater," the event featured a cocktail reception, performances by Broadway friends, a tribute to actress Bernadette Peters for her dedication and service to the American musical theater, dancing, dinner and a silent auction.

The auction was limited to 100 tickets at $100 apiece, with proceeds dedicated to playhouse operations.

Westport's Lux Bond & Green added to the intrigue, raffling modern rock candy gem drop 18k gold earrings and matching bangles, with a combined value of over $6,000.

"This is a very important event," said playhouse Artistic Director Mark Lamos. "Private funding is an essential part of keeping us going. Many nonprofits have had a rough time over the past year. We've been lucky to have great supporters. Subscriptions are up. This is the penultimate night of the year."

Adding to the evening's panache was actor James Naughton, who appeared in nine Westport Country Playhouse productions between 1999 to 2008 and is a member of its Artist Circle.

Also on had was actor Larry Luckinbill, with three Westport productions, 1981-1995, to his credit, and his wife Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball, who has performed in two playhouse productions. Luckenbill and Arnaz appeared together in 1981's "Educating Rita."

Sandra DeFeo, the chairwoman of the playhouse board, turned out for the glittering event with husband Neil. Joanna Heimbold, responsible for the event's floorplan and accents, attended with Gianluigi Longinotti Buitoni.

Playhouse Managing Director Michael Ross moved from patron to patron extending a warm welcome. Kim Harizman, a playhouse trustee and gala co-chairman with husband Niv, compared notes with fellow Westporters Amy Katz, Donna Slavitt, Melissa Shein and Nancy Wilson.

Also enjoying the festivities were First Selectman Gordon Joseloff and Westport Arts Center's Helen Klisser During.

Feathered boas and silk wraps were in evidence as the wine and champagne flowed and the glitterati met and mingled.

Others on the guest list included Westport resident Bill Scheffler, who just completed another successful year organizing the Concours d'Elegance classic car event at Fairfield County Hunt Club, with wife Ann Sheffer. Scheffler said he and Ann met in 10th grade homeroom -- their names followed each other alphabetically so they were always placed together in lines and photos. A lifelong town resident, Scheffler said, "I've been coming to plays here for 45 years. The playhouse is an invaluable cultural resource.

"I'd do anything to support it," Scheffler added.