Better Makers: Chicago Shakespeare Theater Raises Record $1.74 Million at GALA 2017

Theatrical lighting illuminated the soon-to-be-completed seating towers of The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare during the paddle raise of GALA 2017 on June 9, 2017. (Photo by Michael Litchfield.)

On June 9, 2017, Chicago Shakespeare Theater celebrated its 30th anniversary with GALA 2017 at the theater’s Navy Pier location. The fundraiser broke all past records with a total of $1.74 million raised for Chicago Shakespeare in Classrooms and Communities, which includes the theater’s nationally acclaimed education programs and their free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour.

A partner in literacy to Chicago Public Schools for more than 20 years, Chicago Shakespeare Theater offers programs that support and unite English teachers and readers to bring Shakespeare inside the classroom as well as put on performances for 40,000 students annually. The tour offers free summertime entertainment, with productions in parks all over the city, to about 30,000 families a year. This summer, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks offered 25 free showings of “Romeo and Juliet” in 18 locations all over the city.

Among the 450 attendees, made up of Chicago’s social and cultural leaders, were honorary Co-Chairs Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Amy Rule and Event Co-Chairs Carole and Gordon Segal of Winnetka. The guests enjoyed performances by Tony Award-winning Broadway actresses Heather Headley and Jessie Mueller. The guests were also given an exclusive first look at the theater’s new performance venue, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, which will be open to the public in September 2017. The Yard will be different from the other two venues, boasting a unique versatility with its movable audience “towers.”

“I can’t wait to experience the artistic virtuosity of this new venue — one that will host local and internationally acclaimed artists and, most importantly, double this theater’s service to students in the years ahead,” Mayor Emmanuel says.

Chicago Shakespeare Executive Director Criss Henderson (Evanston), CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines (Chicago), honorary event co-chairs Amy Rule and Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Chicago), and CST Board of Directors Chair Steve Solomon (Naperville) at Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s GALA 2017 on Friday, June 9.

Chicago Shakespeare Executive Director Criss Henderson (Evanston), CST Artistic Director Barbara Gaines (Chicago), honorary event co-chairs Amy Rule and Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Chicago), and CST Board of Directors Chair Steve Solomon (Naperville) at Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s GALA 2017 on Friday, June 9. (Photo by Johnny Knight Photo.)

GALA 2017 Event Co-Chairs with Chicago Shakespeare leadership in the soon-to-be-completed The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare (from left to right): Gordon Segal (Winnetka), Artistic Director Barbara Gaines (Chicago), Carole Segal (Winnetka), and Executive Director Criss Henderson (Evanston).

GALA 2017 Event Co-Chairs with Chicago Shakespeare leadership in the soon-to-be-completed The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare (from left to right): Gordon Segal (Winnetka), Artistic Director Barbara Gaines (Chicago), Carole Segal (Winnetka), and Executive Director Criss Henderson (Evanston). (Photo by Michael Litchfield.)

Jill Isselhard (Chicago), Carl D. Thoma and CST Board Member Marilynn Thoma (Chicago), Therese and Thomas Daugirdas (Wilmette), and Terry Isselhard (Chicago) in the lobby of The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare which adjoins to the Theater’s existing venue.

Jill Isselhard (Chicago), Carl D. Thoma and CST Board Member Marilynn Thoma (Chicago), Therese and Thomas Daugirdas (Wilmette), and Terry Isselhard (Chicago) in the lobby of The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare which adjoins to the Theater’s existing venue. (Photo by Michael Litchfield.)

Tony Award-winning Broadway stars Jessie Mueller of Evanston and Heather Headley of Wheaton headlined the performance portion of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s GALA 2017.

Tony Award-winning Broadway stars Jessie Mueller of Evanston and Heather Headley of Wheaton headlined the performance portion of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s GALA 2017. (Photo by Michael Litchfield.)

 

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Amrita-Krishnan

Amrita Krishnan is an editorial intern at Make It Better. A rising sophomore at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications, Amrita is interested in pursuing journalism. In her free time, Amrita enjoys reading, running and painting.