Chicago Shakespeare Theater concluded its 25th season with an anniversary celebration gala June 11 at Navy Pier. More than 350 supporters were treated to an evening of fine dining, top-notch performances and the presentation of the second annual "Spirit of Shakespeare Awards."
Guests enjoyed dramatic views of Chicago's skyline while actors dressed as characters from past productions were scattered throughout the multilevel theater. Patrons dined on stages that were transformed into enchanted spaces.
Following dinner, board chair Ray McCaskey welcomed the crowd in the Courtyard Theater.
The program, created by artistic director Barbara Gaines, creative producer Rick Boynton and artistic associate Bob Mason, included a "Follies" tribute by the show's stars Brent Barrett, Susan Moniz and Hollis Resnick, and special appearances by musical theater artist Felicia Fields and hip-hop group Q Brothers. Testimonials and performances by students and teachers from CST's arts-in-education programs were featured throughout the evening.
The "Spirit of Shakespeare Awards" are presented to those who keep the Bard's spirit alive through community service and leadership. This year's civic honoree was Frederick Waddell, chairman and CEO of Northern Trust, with artistic honors going to Tony Award-winning actor Brian Bedford.
The gala raised nearly $1 million, which will benefit the theater's education and civic engagement programs.
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