Whether you measure success by its financial or artistic merits, last night’s Broadway in the Berkshires event at Shakespeare & Company was a major success. With dozens of illustrious performers and notables in attendance, the benefit raised – in one night – $110,000. More than $6,100 of that was during an exciting live auction that had plenty of drama and suspense all by itself.
From the elegant cocktail reception, to the dazzling performance, the delicious dinner and the extraordinary VIP after-party, Broadway in the Berkshires, Shakespeare & Company’s Gala Celebration was a resounding hit! The always charming Artistic Director Tony Simotes welcomed a full house at the Tina Packer Playhouse (formerly Founders’ Theatre) and a multitude of Broadway, opera and dance artists for the spectacular one-night-only benefit performance. Proceeds from Broadway in the Berkshires supports the Company’s wide-reaching and nationally-recognized Training and Education programs.
“Such a dazzling array of artists,” Simotes observed. “Their commitment to their craft resulted in incredible performances full of laughter, music, and inspiring passion. This spectacular evening would not have been possible without the unshakeable and enduring support of our beloved patrons, overseers, friends, and family. I am especially thankful for the talent and charm of producer Deborah Grausman (currently in Master Class) who brought this extraordinary event to us. I am so proud of this Company and all the selfless individuals that have helped make this happen. Bringing our Community the talent of our S&Co. artists and the talents of so many Broadway artists was truly a convergence of the stars. A palpable hit indeed!”
The stats from last night’s Broadway in the Berkshires are astounding: over 300 tickets were sold and upwards of 75 Shakespeare & Company artists and other special guests were also in attendance. This resulted in reaching a goal of $100,000 which includes some pretty nifty auction items.
1) Kinky Boots package (Two House Seats to the Tony Award winning hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots plus a three course dinner for two with wine pairings at the famed DB Bistro). This package went for a winning bid of $3600 by Robin Gerson Wong and husband Denis Wong, owners of the newly restored Seven Hills Inn in Lenox.
2) Blantyre Lunch with The Stars package (Lunch with Academy Award-winning Actress Olympia Dukakis, Obie Award and Lucille Lortel Award-Winner John Douglas Thompson, and Shakespeare & Company’s Artistic Director Tony Simotes at Blantyre Resort, the 5 star luxury Country House Hotel in Lenox) which went for a winning bid of $2500.
Producer Deborah Grausman was delighted by the success of the evening. “I am genuinely thrilled with the response we received from the extraordinarily enthusiastic audience.” said Grausman. “With such a talented group of Broadway stars and Shakespeare & Company artists, we were able to put together a show-stopping performance with only four hours of rehearsal. I am truly grateful for the extreme generosity of everyone involved who pulled together to make Broadway in the Berkshires such an overwhelming success.”
In traditional cabaret style, the cast performed a selection of some of Broadway’s finest numbers with a trio live musicians including Music Director Jason Yarho on piano (Wicked), Cellist Owen Young of the BSO, and local percussionist, Chris Mattoon. The performance was flawlessly staged by Director Sam Scalamoni. The performances in order of appearance included a rousing Beauty and the Beast medley, Michael Marcotte (Something’s Coming), Eleni Delopoulos and Ehren Remal (performing a comedic medley), Nora Menken (I Know Things Now), Forrest McClendon (Go Back Home), Deborah Grausman (I Think I May Want to Remember Today), Dana and Peter Mazurowski (Mein Herr), Sarah Corey (Breathe), David Joseph (Shiksa Goddess), Leah Edwards and Dimitri Pittas (Make Believe), Dana Mazurowski (Esmerelda), Jonathan Rayson (Way Ahead of My Time), Tonya Pinkins (Like It Was), Lauren Jelencovich (The Girl in 14G), Adam Alexander (Restless Heart), Peter Mazurowski (original solo choreography), Brian Charles Rooney (Audition Medley), Alec Donaldson and Deborah Grausman (Tonight), and a company closing number of I’ve Got Rhythm.
“One of the best nights I‘ve had in the Berkshires since we’ve been up here,” says Gerson Wong, owner of The Seven Hills Inn & Restaurant in Lenox, Mass. “What a wonderful treat for our guests and the community to be able to enjoy a top-notch star-studded evening with great food and entertainment.”
Following the highly entertaining 90-minute musical and dance performance was a delicious dinner reception prepared by Michael Roller of Savory Harvest Catering. The VIP after-party, hosted by Stan Rosen at The Hampton Terrace Inn, featured delectable chocolates (donated by Joshua Needleman of Chocolate Springs) and champagne as well as an impromptu sing-along with Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken who attended the even.