Photo Flash: Steppenwolf's GALA 2009 Raises Nearly $1 Million

Steppenwolf celebrated its 33rd season with GALA 2009: A Celebration of the Season of the Imagination on Saturday, April 18, 2009 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St.  The “urban chic” event was attended by 550 guests and raised nearly $1 million for Steppenwolf’s artistic and community programming.

The evening began with a unique glimpse into Steppenwolf’s production of The Tempest directed by ensemble member Tina Landau.  Following the performance, members of Steppenwolf’s acclaimed ensemble invited guests on a backstage journey, culminating in cocktails on stage.  The cocktail hour spilled over into a custom-designed tent by Heffernan & Morgan, Inc. where members of the ensemble hosted dinner, prepared by Limelight Catering.  A special tribute was made to outgoing Board Chairman Douglas Brown by Co-Founder Gary Sinise. The evening continued with a live auction featuring once-in-a-lifetime adventures with Steppenwolf ensemble members.  GALA 2009 wrapped up with dancing and musical entertainment provided by Steppenwolf co-founder Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.  

The GALA 2009 Co-Chairs were Nora Daley Conroy, Charles H. James III, Randall K. Rowe, Manuel “Manny” Sanchez, Pat Pulido Sanchez and Anna D. Shapiro.

GALA 2009 was hosted by Artistic Director and ensemble member Martha Lavey.  Other Steppenwolf ensemble members in attendance included Alana Arenas, Kate Arrington, Ian Barford, Robert Breuler, K. Todd Freeman, Frank Galati,  Frances Guinan, Jon Michael Hill, Tim Hopper, James Vincent Meredith, Amy Morton, Sally Murphy, Yasen Peyankov, Martha Plimpton, Molly Regan, Anna D. Shapiro, Gary Sinise, Lois Smith, Jim True-Frost and Alan Wilder. Additional notable guests included Mayor Richard M. and Maggie Daley, Chaz Ebert, Cheryle Jackson, Congressman Mark Kirk, Bill Kurtis, Fred Latsko, Merle Reskin, Linda Johnson Rice, Jerry Roper, Amy Rule, Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon and Steve Traxler.  

The GALA 2009 auction featured the following one-of-a-kind celebrity prizes:

A personal visit with ensemble member Kathryn Erbe on the set of LAW AND ORDER: Criminal Intent in New York City. Includes airfare, hotel and dinner.

LA Weekend on the set of HBO’s Entourage with ensemble member Gary Cole. Includes airfare, hotel and dinner.

Gourmet dinner prepared on the Steppenwolf stage by acclaimed Chef Michael Kornick of MK Restaurant with the cast and director of Steppenwolf’s Endgame:  ensemble members Ian Barford, Frank Galati, Fran Guinan, William Petersen and Rondi Reed.

InStyle Weekend in New York City with ensemble member Joan Allen. Includes private, in-studio viewing of a top designer’s collection, lunch with Joan Allen, spa treatment, airfare and hotel.

Dinner with the playwright and the original New York and London cast of August: Osage County at Julie Latsko and Chef Art Smith’s restaurant TABLE fifty-two. Guests include Deanna Dunagan and ensemble members Fran Guinan, Tracy Letts, Mariann Mayberry, Amy Morton, Sally Murphy, Jeff Perry, Rondi Reed and Rick Snyder.

Exclusive Dinner at the home of acclaimed Chef Rick Bayless with the Founders of Steppenwolf Theatre Company: Terry Kinney, Jeff Perry and Gary Sinise, and Artistic Director Martha Lavey.

Ernst & Young LLP is the Live Auction Sponsor; Merle Reskin is the Performance and Backstage Experience Sponsor; Ogilvy is the Marketing Partner; United Airlines is the Official Airline Partner; Exelon and National City – now a part of PNC, are the Golden Circle Sponsors. Lead Sponsors are Grosvenor Capital Management, Mrs. John M. Hartigan, David and Susan Kalt and Liz and Eric Lefkofsky. 

Committed to the principle of ensemble performance through the collaboration of a company of actors, directors and playwrights, Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s mission is to advance the vitality and diversity of American theater by nurturing artists, encouraging repeatable creative relationships and contributing new works to the national canon.  The company, formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, is dedicated to perpetuating an ethic of mutual respect and the development of artists through on-going group work.  Steppenwolf has grown into an internationally renowned company of 42 artists whose talents include acting, directing, playwriting, filmmaking and textual adaptation.

Photos by Robert Carl and Dianne Brogan

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf's GALA 2009 Raises Nearly $1 Million

David Hawkanson, Gary Sinise and Anna D. Shapiro

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf's GALA 2009 Raises Nearly $1 Million
Martha Plimpton, Sally Murphy and Jim True-Frost

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf's GALA 2009 Raises Nearly $1 Million
Amy Morton and Martha Plimpton with Stephanie Childers

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf's GALA 2009 Raises Nearly $1 Million
Gala décor by Heffernan & Morgan, Inc

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf's GALA 2009 Raises Nearly $1 Million
Kate Arrington and Michael Shannon

Photo Flash: Steppenwolf's GALA 2009 Raises Nearly $1 Million
Gary Sinise and Dan Band

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