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TheatreWorks Raises Funds With Bond-Themed Virtual Gala


Fans and supporters of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley gathered online Saturday, October 17 for TheatreWorks's first-ever virtual gala.

A legion of fans and supporters of TheatreWorks Silicon Valley gathered online Saturday, October 17 for TheatreWorks's first-ever virtual gala, From TheatreWorks with Love: A Party with Bond... Tim Bond, a 007-themed event that celebrated new Artistic Director Tim Bond as he begins his tenure at the Tony Award-winning theatre company.

Guests participated in the unique, socially-distanced festivities from the comfort of their homes, attending online via micro-parties of up to six. Some 180 guests joined virtually for this event, raising more than $200,000 for TheatreWorks, which like theatres across America has been forced to cancel in-theatre performances to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Guests pre-selected from at-home party options, each named for a James Bond actor. Party packages included special perks such as delicious hors d'oeuvres from Weir Catering, exquisite libations from J. Lohr as well as signature event cocktails, exclusive gifts and memorabilia, and James Bond-themed décor (featuring a standee of the man of the hour, Artistic Director Tim Bond) that was delivered straight to participants' doors. Following the online festivities, guests received elaborate three-course meals from Le Papillon restaurant, accompanied by dinner music provided by TheatreWorks Music Director William Liberatore.

From TheatreWorks with Love: A Party with Bond... Tim Bond began with a welcome from Artistic Director Tim Bond and Executive Director Phil Santora. TheatreWorks Artistic Associate and Director of New Works Giovanna Sardelli served as the evening's emcee and introduced a bevy of online auction items, which included treasures such as a personal music request, performed via zoom by virtuoso pianist Hershey Felder (who has conjured the spirits of Irving Berlin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Debussy in sold-out performances at TheatreWorks), a private post-COVID house party with composer Min Kahng (The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga), an exclusive tour from Mauritson's Rockpile Ridge Vineyard, an elegant weekend getaway to Carmel, and professional stage combat lessons structured around the iconic sword and hand-to-hand fight choreography of Die Another Day starring Pierce Brosnan as 007. Bidding was fierce for a private dinner party with composer Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family, Big Fish), to be held once gatherings are once again safe. The digital party also included Pay to Plays, where guests participated in guessing games with exclusive prizes. Jim Lattin made the closest guess to the diamond weight of a stunning grand prize necklace from the Stephen Silver Company, winning him the coveted jewels. Also, Sardelli asked a surprise James Bond trivia question, answered by Roy Johnson, who won a pair of Vuarnet VL Edge 1613 sunglasses, the same model worn by Daniel Craig as James Bond in the upcoming 007 film No Time to Die.

While guests enjoyed their at-home cocktail hour, select parties received virtual visits from TheatreWorks fan favorite artists, including Artistic Director Tim Bond, Pulitzer finalist Rajiv Joseph, Tony Award-nominated composer Andrew Lippa, Obie Award-winning actor Francis Jue, actor/ playwright Jeanne Sakata, actor Lianne Marie Dobbs, actor Travis Leland, actor Hilary Maiberger, and actor David Crane.

The evening culminated in a Bond-inspired live streamed show, directed by Jeffrey Lo with musical direction by William Liberatore, a globetrotting musical adventure through Tim Bond's favorite places. TheatreWorks veteran Michelle Jordan dazzled in spirited renditions of "Take the A Train" and "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm." Nick Nakashima and Will Springhorn Jr. delighted in a mash-up of "In Seattle" and "Singing in the Rain." Sharon Rietkerk sang "Lost and Found" from City of Angels, and Melissa WolfKlain performed a Twelfth Night inspired "Olivia." Nakashima, Rietkerk, and WolfKlain closed the thrilling performance with "Astonishing" from Little Women, reflecting on the company's anticipation for the safe return of live in-person theatre.

Among the guests enjoying the festivities were Barbara Shapiro of Menlo Park and Judy Heyboer of San Francisco, the co-chairs of From TheatreWorks with Love: A Party with Bond... Tim Bond. The event's third co-chair was former Board chair Mike Kahn, who passed away this summer due to cancer and whose memory was honored at the event.

TheatreWorks board members hosting mini-parties included: Roy Johnson (Chair), Patricia Bresee, Denise Brosseau, Cabell Chinnis, Sarah Donaldson, Wynne Dubovoy, Peggy Woodford Forbes, Matt Fuller, Mark Greenstein, Anne Hambly, Rose Hau, Charlotte Jacobs, Derry Kabcenell, Julie Kaufman, Donald Matsuda, Ellice Papp, Nancy Ginsburg Stern, Lynn Szekely, Mark Vershel, Holly Ward, Jane Weston, and Gayla Lorthridge Wood, as well as TheatreWorks founder Robert Kelley.

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