Guests are invited to pick an outfit from one of TheatreWorks' past productions to wear to the party. Featuring: Entertainment by James Monroe Iglehart, from the TheatreWorks and Broadway casts of "Memphis"; auctioneer Brendan Milburn of GrooveLily; music for dancing by Pride & Joy; Catering by Grace Street Catering.
When: 5:30 p.m.-midnight, October 20, 2012
Where: TheatreWorks Scene Shop, 1100 Hamilton Court, Menlo Park, California.
Tickets: $275-$500. Tables: $2,750-$10,000. Contact TheatreWorks Special Events Department at 650-463-7159 or email email@example.com. www.theatreworks.org.
As dreams are made on'
They are all impressive, accomplished people.
That's why they are the co-chairs of the Anything Goes costume gala, which is major fundraiser for TheatreWorks, which one of the most accomplished and productive theater operations in the nation.
Anything Goes is one of fun ways people with money have of spreading some of it around for the greater good. The cheap seats are $275. A table can be had for from $2,750 to $10,000. And once it begins, there is an auction, giving people chances to spend even more money. The event raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for TheatreWorks. Most of the ticket money is tax-deductible.
So, impressive, accomplished people are picked to run the committee that makes the gala happen.
But put them in the costumes department at TheatreWorks, and they become almost ... giddy.
Because that's part of the fun of Anything Goes: Getting to play dress-up by picking a costume from the among the tens of thousands available in the TheatreWorks costumes warehouse.
That's why the co-chairs - Lynn Szekely-Goode, Gayla Lorthridge Wood and Judy Heyboer, were at TheatreWorks in Menlo Park on September 17, 2012, to pick out their costumes for the gala.
Sure, they are very serious women, but on this day it was like watching teenagers at a mall, when anything is possible. When Anything Goes.
Sure, Mary Carr, the TheatreWorks costumes rentals manager, was there (with her little dog, Rocky) to help, but these women go to all the openings, and one of the things they do at the openings is check out the costumes worn by the actors, to get ideas about what they might wear to the gala. So they all had some ideas already.
When I got there, Szekely-Goode had her hat already, but just needed to find an ensemble to go with it. Lorthridge-Wood brought husband Walt Wood along, and he found a fine outfit pretty quickly, while she considered many options. Heyboer found a beautiful gown early, then experimented with sashes and other details.
Me? I was the problem child.
I was invited, on a press pass - not as someone who could spend the $275 - because I cover theater for Triviana Arts & Entertainment.
But, most actors, of course, are slim and dashing.
I am more like a large piece of scenery. Perhaps a movable hillock.
So, it seemed unlikely to me that even TheatreWorks' huge holdings of costumes would have something I could wear, which is one of the reasons why I am anxious about attending this event.
But, no worries, said Carr, who left the room briefly, returning soon with the robes of Oberon.
Oberon! Cool! He's the King of the Faeries, who gets in a tussle with Titiana, Queen of the Fairies. All cranky, he puts some juice from a magic flower into Titiana's eyes while she is sleeping; when she wakes, she falls in love with the first person she sees, who is Bottom, a weaver. Who has the head of an ass, again thanks to Oberon.
And thereby you have a play, one of Shakespeare's funniest and most charming.
So, yeah! I could be Oberon!
I try on the robes and find the armholes are too small. But that's OK, the robes look great as a cape, so I am set. True, wearing the robes, I look like a large couch set on end. But that's OK.
The Oberon robes are from "Shakespeare in Hollywood," which was a premiere at TheatreWorks, January 19 through February 13, 2005.
Here's what the Samuel French site says about it: "It's 1934, and Shakespeare's most famous fairies, Oberon and Puck, have magically materialized on the Warner Bros. Hollywood set of Max Reinhardt's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' Instantly smitten by the glitz and glamour of show biz, the two are ushered onto the silver screen to play (who else?) themselves."
In the TheatreWorks production, an actor named Don Carrier wore the robes.
I've never seen "Shakespeare in Hollywood." But, I've seen "Midsummer Night's Dream" a few times, and dig it. So ... Oberon's robes are now hanging up in my office at Triviana central, airing out. They've been worn to other Anything Goes gala, I was told, but mostly they have spent the last seven or eight years in a warehouse. They are kind of musty.
Now, I have to figure out a crown. I'm looking forward to it.
Be advised, I will not be part of the entertainment at Anything Goes, although I expect, perhaps, to be laughed at by some people.
The entertainment will include James Monroe Iglehart, who originated a role in "Memphis" at TheatreWorks, then went with it to Broadway. Also on hand, to run the auction, will be Brendan Milburn, keyboards player for GrooveLily, which has been part of many great shows and fundraisers at TheatreWorks. The band Pride & Joy will play music for dancing. Catering - undoubtedly a swell meal - will be by Grace Street Catering.
Get yer tickets at www.theatreworks.org/give/gala.