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GRACE's Michael Shannon and Rockit Ranch's Billy Dec Co-Host AROT's 20th Anniversary Gala Tonight, 11/12


A Red Orchid Theatre's (AROT) Board of Trustees and Gala Committee, together with Rockit Ranch Productions, presents the 2012 A Red Orchid Gala.The 2012 Gala will celebrate 20 years of creating exceptional, ensemble-based theater in Chicago.

The event will be held tonight, Monday, November 12, 2012 at Sunda Restaurant, 110 W. Illinois, with a cocktail party and auction to follow at The Underground, 56 W Illinois. The evening will be co-hosted by A Red Orchid Co-founder and Academy Award Nominee Michael Shannon and Rockit Ranch Productions CEO Billy Dec.

The Gala evening will take place in two of Chicago's hottest venues, beginning with a VIP Dinner at Rockit Ranch's Michelin-recommended Sunda New Asian and continuing with a cocktail party and auction at The Underground, Rockit Ranch's buzzing River North nightclub. The VIP Dinner will feature live performances from the company's upcoming season, performed by Michael Shannon, AROT co-founder Guy VanSwearingen, Artistic Director Kirsten Fitzgerald and other Ensemble Members. Auction prizes will include an Extra Walk-On Role* in HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" (*non-speaking, non-credited).

Each year A Red Orchid's critically acclaimed theatrical productions attract diverse audiences from across the country. With the funds raised through the event, AROT will advance its commitment to creating exceptional Ensemble-based theater, and fostering new theatrical works, both at home in Chicago and on the national stage.

"Words cannot express how proud we are to be celebrating our 20th Anniversary Season. We are thrilled to have all three founding members on stage in 2012-2013 and honored to be presenting Chicago premieres from such renowned playwrights as Howard Korder and Annie Baker, to produce our first Sam Shepard and to bring audiences a world premiere penned by our own Brett Neveu. The love and loyalty of our Artistic Ensemble, our Board of Directors and our audiences alike empowers us to look forward. What better way to share out past and celebrate our future than with a spectacular party? And what better co-host than Billy Dec?" says Artistic Director Kirsten Fitzgerald. "A natural fit for A Red Orchid, Dec is a passionate long-time supporter of Chicago's vibrant theater community: he is the founder of the Lookingglass Theatre Junior Board, winner of the Byrne Piven Community Service Award, and an Emmy-winning TV personality on ABC-TV's "Windy City Live!" His loyalty to, and enthusiasm for, Chicago's world class theaters makes him an ideal partner for A Red Orchid as we celebrate this milestone in Chicago theater."

The Gala Committee is led by Board Event Chair Ann McCartney and Event Coordinator Jennifer Sultz. Fellow committee members are Rebecca Eaton, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Karen Kawa, Giulia Sindler, Tamara Solarich, Mollie Stromberg, Guy Van Swearingen, and Natalie West.

The Presenting Sponsors include Sunda New Asian, The Underground, Bacardi, Grey Goose, and Folie à Deux.

A Red Orchid Board of Directors includes Christian Chadd Taylor, Michael Fatall, Darren Guccione, Pam Harrington, Steve Kreynin, Ann McCartney, Michael Shannon, Giulia Sindler, Tamara Solarich, Mollie Stromberg, and Guy VanSwearingen.

Michael Shannon, an Ensemble Member of A Red Orchid Theatre since 1993, currently plays the role of Agent Nelson Van Alden on HBO's celebrated drama "Boardwalk Empire." Michael recently starred in the award winning film Take Shelter and was nominated for an Academy Award for Revolutionary Road. He will be playing the role of villain General Zod in the upcoming Superman movie Man of Steel. Michael originated the role of Peter in Tracy Letts' Bug, which had its Chicago Premiere at A Red Orchid before playing off-Broadway and being adapted into a major motion picture, also starring Shannon. He has performed on numerous Chicago stages and is currently appearing in Uncle Vanya at New York's Soho Rep. In the fall of 2012, he will perform in the Broadway production of Grace, a play written by fellow Red Orchid Ensemble Member Craig Wright. Michael will return to A Red Orchid's stage in the 2012-13 Season to perform in Sam Shepard's Simpatico.

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