Cal Shakes' RAISE ROOF Gala Raises $688,000

Cal Shakes' RAISE ROOF Gala Raises $688,000

San Francisco's elegant Four Seasons hotel, its ballroom transformed into a mesmerizing swirl of vibrant, electric colors, provided the dramatic setting for California Shakespeare Theater's 19th annual gala, Raise the Roof, on Saturday, March 15, 2014. Led by Gala Co-Chairs Jean Simpson and Maureen Knight, and Honorary Co-Chair Annette Bening, the event was the most successful in Cal Shakes history, grossing more than $688,500 and welcoming 330 attendees.

"What a fantastic way to kick off our 40th anniversary and embark on our next 40 years of building character and community through authentic, inclusive, and joyful theater experiences," says Cal Shakes Managing Director Susie Falk. "We are tremendously grateful for the support of the individuals and corporations who made "Raise the Roof" such an overwhelming success, and even more thrilled about the impact that this support will enable us to have in the coming months."

Subtly-lit bubble walls by Blueprint Studios and colorful costumes from Cal Shakes performances lined the red carpet, welcoming guests as they mingled, wined, and bid on an array of silent auction items. The lively crowd engaged in a number of good-natured bidding wars for one-of-a-kind packages including private tours of di Rosa, Sausalito's Marine Mammal Center, and Oakland Museum of California; an Algonquin Roundtable-style luncheon with Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Robert Mailer Anderson (Boonville), Joe Di Prisco (All for Now), and Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone; 18 holes at San Francisco's exclusive Olympic Club; a cocktail party and private concert at the Getty Mansion; VIP seats to the Golden State Warriors and the San Francisco Giants; a McRoskey Mattress shopping spree; and a signed football by SF 49er's legendary quarterback Steve Young; to name a few.

Following the cocktail hour, the party-goers joined Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone and Managing Director Susie Falk in the ballroom to dine on artichoke "velouté" with cilantro, olive oil, and crouton; local baby lettuce salad with pickled beets, breakfast radish, and fresh horseradish vinaigrette; slow-cooked beef short rib with red flint polenta, pickled ramps, chilies, cherries, radish, fava beans, and charred onion jus; and orange bar, hazelnut ice cream, espresso meringue, and lemon curd for dessert.

In honor of Cal Shakes' 40th anniversary, Managing Director Susie Falk kicked off the festivities by announcing the Moscone Permanent Endowment Fund, established by gifts from lead donors Ellen & Joffa Dale and Barclay & Sharon Simpson, and the formation of the Cal Shakes Legacy Circle, a group of individuals who have provided for Cal Shakes in their estate plans. Charter members of the Legacy Circle are: Mary Jo & Bruce Byson; Phil & Chris Chernin; Debbie Chinn; Ellen & Joffa Dale; Peter Fisher; Doulas Hill; Xanthe & Jim Hopp; David Ray Johnson; Mark Jordan; Debby & Bruce Lieberman; Tina Morgado; Richard Norris; Shelly Osborne; James & Nita Roethe; Laura & Robert Sehr; Barclay & Sharon Simpson; Jean Simpson; Valerie Sopher; Kate Stechschulte & David Cost, in memory of Margaret Cost; M.J. Stephens & Bernard Tagholm; Carole Jackson Upshaw; Jay Yamada; and Monique Young.

Expanding on the evening's theme of "Raise the Roof", Jonathan Moscone's inspiring speech was followed by a short video created by Corduroy Media featuring Associate Artist L. Peter Callender, educator Jana Maiuri, and Ten Thousand Things Artistic Director Michelle Hensley answering the question, "Why Shakespeare?", by sharing vivid stories of Cal Shakes' impact in the community which set the stage for a rousing live auction. Led by auctioneer extraordinaire Greg Quiroga, guests bid enthusiastically and generously on exclusive packages, including: trips to Italy, France, and Ashland; a week's stay at a beautiful casa in Mexico with airfare provided by United Airlines; a specially-cooked Italian dinner for 8 by Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone and husband Darryl Carbonaro; walk-on role in Cal Shakes' upcoming production of Pygmalion, directed by Moscone; private screening for 30 people of the Hollywood classic, Singing in the Rain, at Meyer Sound's state-of-the-art West Berkeley headquarters, hosted by Gene Kelly's daughter; VIP all-access passes to the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York City, including four nights in a luxurious Manhattan apartment; lunch for four at Chez Panisse with owner Alice Waters; and a private, behind-the-scenes tour of Facebook's Menlo Park campus and five-star meal in the company's New York Times-lauded cafeteria.

One of the many highlights of the evening was a spoken word performance created especially for the event by internationally-renowned poet and activist Sonya Renee Taylor. Her thrilling performance about Cal Shakes' community tour of Twelfth Night galvanized the crowd and sent their bid paddles flying into the air to support the "Make a Difference" portion of the auction; coupled with a generous $40K matching bid from Nicola Miner and Robert Mailer Anderson, "Make a Difference" shattered all previous records and earned a whopping $237K for Cal Shakes work in schools and communities. Ms. Taylor's performance at the event is available for online viewing at http://youtu.be/ncejDkCOOew.

Finally, guests packed the dance floor and boogied into the night to the sounds of DJ Stan Loh.

The Lead Corporate Partners for Raise the Roof were City National Bank and John Muir Health; other distinguished Corporate Partners include Archer Norris, Baker Ave, Meyer Sound, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and San Francisco magazine.

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