CHICAGO, IL â€“ Four hundred of Chicagoâ€™s young arts supporters turned out for a high-energy evening of music, dancing, cocktails, impressive local cuisine and a silent auction at Steppenwolf Auxiliary Council’s 2014 Red or White Ball on Friday, March 28, 2014 at Chicagoâ€™s sleek, contemporary Venue One (1044 W Randolph St). The signature event for the cityâ€™s most active young professionals raised nearly $60,000, benefiting Steppenwolf for Young Adults, the theaterâ€™s nationally recognized arts education program, which annually impacts more than 12,000 students, teachers and families.
The evening kicked off with an exclusive VIP cocktail reception at 7:30pm, with VIP gift bags, special access to Steppenwolf artists, and delectable tasting stations from CH Distillery, City Winery, Freestyle, Gejaâ€™s CafÃ©, Goose Island, RA sushi and Summer House Santa Monica.
The party continued in the main room where guests enjoyed scrumptious tasting stations from Taco Joint and CafÃ© Ba-Ba-Reeba!, delicious samplings from Venue One catering, multiple open bars including a superb wine selection from City Winery and beer from Goose Island. Guests danced the evening away to hits spun by MDM Entertainment, enjoyed an Instagram scavenger hunt with live photo feed, and hit the photo booth from Fotio to capture the nightâ€™s best moments and a fantastic after party hosted by NellcÃ´te.
The silent auction featured 30 amazing and diverse packages with something for everyone including a custom suit from the Tom James Company, a getaway to the Grand Geneva resort and a Wrigleyville experience with Cubs tickets. Raffle prizes for the 2014 Ball included a Kindle Fire, a romantic â€œstay-cationâ€ at Hotel Lincoln with dinner for two at Gejaâ€™s CafÃ© and an exclusive Steppenwolf Opening Night package with pre-show dinner, opening performance and after-party with artists from the show. The eventâ€™s first ever Live Auction was a hit with packages such as a New York weekend getaway, a Steppenwolf experience for 8 with artists from The Way West and a private rooftop party for 12 from Chicago Specialty Gardens.
The 2014 Red or White Ball Honorary Chair was ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney, playwright of Head of Passes, which premiered at Steppenwolf last season, and The Brother/Sister Plays, produced at Steppenwolf in 2010. McCraney was also a recipient of a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship and was included in Crainâ€™s Chicago Businessâ€™s 2013 â€œ40 under 40.â€ The 2014 Red or White Ball Chair was Jennifer Stuart. Co-Chairs included Aimee Graham, Ryan Stafford and Tanya Stanfield. The Auxiliary Council President is Kim Davis.
Other notable guests in attendance included: Steppenwolf ensemble member Alana Arenas and numerous Steppenwolf artists from the 2013/14 season, including Delia Baseman, Judy Blue, Carolyn Braver, Cassie Calderon, Phil de Guzman, Rudy Galvan, Laura Glenn, Aaron Himelstein, Jerry Mackinnon, Clancy McCartney, Caroline Neff, Melanie Neilan, Cole O’Beirne, Zoe Perry, Brennan Stacker, Steve Walker, Brendan Meyer, Ty Olwin, J.J. Phillips, Loretta Rezos, and Gabriel Ruiz.
The annual Red or White Ball serves as the primary fundraiser for the Steppenwolf Auxiliary Council, a community of more than 100 dynamic young professionals who strengthen the theater’s ability to advance artistic experimentation and collaboration by developing new financial resources and new audiences for the creation and presentation of innovative theater. Since its inception in 2000, the Auxiliary Council has raised more than $1.5 million in contributions, enabling Steppenwolf to continue its mission of advancing the vitality and diversity of American theater.
Steppenwolf for Young Adultsâ€™ unique approach combines play production with educational components to enhance arts education for young audiences, as well as their teachers and families. SYA creates two full-scale professional productions each season specifically for teens. Working closely with the Chicago Public and metropolitan area schools and other community partners, SYA annually ensures access to the theater for more than 12,000 participants from Chicagoâ€™s diverse communities. The initiative also includes post-show discussions with artists; classroom residencies led by Steppenwolf-trained teaching artists in more than 30 classrooms in 12 public high schools; professional development workshops for educators; and the Young Adult Council, an innovative year-round after school initiative that uniquely engages high school students in all areas of the theaterâ€™s operations.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is Americaâ€™s longest standing, most distinguished ensemble theater, producing nearly 700 performances and events annually in its three Chicago theater spacesâ€”the 515-seat Downstairs Theatre, the 299-seat Upstairs Theatre and the 80-seat Garage Theatre. Formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, Steppenwolf has grown into an ensemble of 43 actors, writers and directors. Artistic programming at Steppenwolf includes a five-play Subscription Season, a two-play Steppenwolf for Young Adults season and two repertory series: First Look Repertory of New Work and Garage Rep. While firmly grounded in the Chicago community, nearly 40 original Steppenwolf productions have enjoyed success both nationally and internationally, including Off-Broadway, Broadway, London, Sydney and Dublin. Steppenwolf has the distinction of being the only theater to receive the National Medal of Arts, in addition to numerous other prestigious honors including an Illinois Arts Legend Award and 12 Tony Awards. Martha Lavey is the Artistic Director and David Hawkanson is the Executive Director. Nora Daley is Chair of Steppenwolfâ€™s Board of Trustees. For additional information, visit steppenwolf.org, facebook.com/steppenwolftheatre and twitter.com/steppenwolfthtr.