What: Honoring Donald Kennedy, President Emeritus, Stanford University. Cocktails, black-tie dinner, benefit auction, one-act version of "Emma"
Where: Hotel Sofitel, Redwood Shores, California
More information: TheatreWorks gala page
Tickets: Contact Director of Advancement Jodye Friedman at 650-463-7135 or email email@example.com
When: 5:30 p.m. November 2, 2013
Where: Palo Alto Hills Golf and Country Club, 3000 Alexis Drive, Palo Alto
to significantly swanky
So, here's the deal: The people who are the mighty foundation of TheatreWorks the supporters, the generous people who do most of the actual paying for the generally impressive and often brilliant plays that grace stages at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, the Lucie Stern Theatre and schools all over the Bay Area they like to have some fun every once in a while other than just sitting in an auditorium seat.
And, ya know, they find it worthwhile to donate money, too, which helps make the great shows possible at ticket prices much lower, say, than what is needed to see the 49ers play at their fancy new stadium in Santa Clara.
That's where various fund-raising events come into the picture.
In 2013, one such even was the Anything Goes gala, where people with the necessary could dress up in duds from TheatreWorks gigantic store of costumes (or bring their own). Really, a great deal of fun. We were there, we know.
This year, 2014, the TheatreWorks board has decided to not hold the 12th costume gala, and instead will ask everybody to dress up extra special nice for a black-tie event, which will be held November 8, 2014, at Hotel Sofitel in Redwood Shores, California.
This report, which has mostly been sitting on my computer since November of 2013 (I've been busy, OK?), is about the 11th Anything Goes costume gala, which was a lot of fun. My educated guess? The 2014 black tie gala will also be a lot of fun, and will include some pretty amazing stuff, such as a one-act staging of Jane Austen's "Emma," which was a huge hit in the 2007/8 season. Also, TheatreWorks will fete Donald Kennedy, President Emeritus, Stanford University. The ties between TheatreWorks and Stanford are considerable, starting with the fact that TheatreWorks founder Robert Kelley attended that impressive school.
I've met a lot of the TheatreWorks board members and staff, and can easily say I am quite fond of many of them. Nice people, fun people, creative people, who are dedicated to theater. So, I can easily enourage y'all to attend the November 8 black-tie event, and be happy to attend the costume gala, too, in 2015, if they return to such a fun party.
In the meantime, please read the following, about the 2013 event:
It's TheatreWork's annual Anything Goes gala, and at the event on November 2, 2013, TheatreWorks Managing Director Phil Santora told the crowd it was one of the reasons he decided to leave Illinois and come to work at TheatreWorks.
(Our guess? There were lots of other reasons, too, such as being able to live in San Francisco and to work with the brilliant Robert Kelley, TheatreWorks' founder and artistic director, and the rest of the impressive staff.)
The 2013 party was the gala's 11th anniversary, and its first time to be located somewhere other than the TheatreWorks scene shop. That cavernous facility used to be located in Menlo Park (just blocks from the Facebook campus in one direction, and just blocks from one of the most violent gang-violence 'hoods on the Peninsula), but TheatreWorks has moved its offices and rehearsal spaces to Redwood City and its scene shop to the East Bay.
So, the gala committee found a new venue, the Palo Alto Hills Golf and Country Club. And, it was beautiful.
As people came in, during the late afternoon, the view from the patio outside the banquet room was delightful in any direction: People dressed in all kinds of costumes in one direction, a verdant view of the golf course and the hills in the other direction.
(Yes, people with money get the goodies; do well in school, babies! Learn to code! Don't go into journalism!)
Anything Goes is a sweet deal, a fun way for people with money to share some of it with a truly excellent theater company, one that has become a national leader in terms of the excellence of its productions and the quality of the plays that develop in its New Works Festival, not to mention the good it does with its educational outreach programs.
Companies donate stuff to the auction. For that, they get a bit of a tax break. People come to the gala and bid on the stuff, then pay for it, and in the process maybe pay a little more than they would on the open market, but also get a little tax break. Sweet.
One of my favorite moments during the auctions was when the item was to buy tickets for ten children to go to a TheatreWorks production. When they asked for people who were bidding to stand up so the auction workers could identify, almost everybody stood up. Sweet.
Among the speakers and entertainers were Bill Grundfest, a television writer and producer and founder of New York's Comedy Cellar. He was fun. Also on hand were Omari Tau, Dawn L. Troupe and Safiya Fredericks, who performed some music from "Once on This Island," which TheatreWorks is to stage at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto in March 2014.
Accompanying everybody on piano was TheatreWorks Music Director William Liberatore.
It was a fine event and a lot of fun. Hats off to gala committee chair Jodi Corwin and her crew.