Orlando Shakespeare Theater: A Night to Remember!

When the Top 5 was invited to the Season Opening Gala at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, I knew we couldn’t resist. Great food, fun entertainment, hobnobbing with big wigs, and all supporting a great cause…what more could I ask for?!

Season Opening Gala

When we arrived, they had the red carpet rolled out to receive guests, and so we made our way into the lobby where elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen were already chatting it up over tasty hors d oeuvres and an open bar.

The Food

There were several stations set about, serving everything from pasta and lamb chops to crab salad and sushi. The displays were breathtaking and the food was even yummier!

One of the beautiful food stations!

Bubbalou's Bodacious BBQ.

Desserts from Seasons 52.

The Silent Auction

Inside the big domed room, there seemed to be at least one hundred items up for silent auction. Packages ran from opening bids of $25 (restaurant gift certificates) up to $4000 (sapphire necklace).  The room was packed with excited bidders, but I just couldn’t talk my hubby into anything!

The silent auction.

Some of the fun silent auction packages.

Sapphire necklace, opening bid of $4000.

The Big Wigs

Orlando Shakes was certainly the place to “see and be seen” as some of city’s biggest movers and shakers turned out for the night:

  • Philanthropist Harriett Lake
  • UCF’s President Dr. John Hitt and Provost Dr. Tony Waldrop
  • Chairman of the Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center Jim Pugh
  • Chairman and chief executive of Massey Services Harvey Massey
  • Orange County Commissioner Bill Segal
  • Orlando Sentinel‘s Scott Maxwell
  • Trinity Preparatory School’s headmaster Craig Maughan
  • The Analog Artist Thomas Thorspecken
  • And, of course, Central Florida Top 5 editor Bess Auer

Harriett Lake being welcomed by this year’s Gala Chair, Patti Strasberg.

Thomas Thorspecken busy sketching.

Top 5 editor Bess Auer and hubby Joe.

The Live Auction

After a welcome by Daniel McIntosh, the President of the Board of Directors at Orlando Shakes, the live auction got underway under the keen eye and sharp wit of Orlando Shakes’ Jim Helsinger and Tom Yochum of Lowndes, Drosdick, Kantor and Reed law firm who sponsored the event.  The highlight of the live auction had to be a bracelet donated by Harriet Lake. The replacement value of the piece was estimated at $32,000!  (It went for a steal at $12,000…Nice!)

Artistic director Jim Helsinger.

One of the live auction packages as presented by Anne Hering.

The Entertainment

Gala goers got a sneak peek at the theater’s upcoming The 39 Steps, which seems to be a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python… yep, it looks like it will be simply amazing! I can’t wait to go back and see the actual play… opens September 15!

Top 5 editor Bess Auer - Check out our seats!

A sneak peek...can't wait to see it!

Special thanks to Orlando Shakes’ Melissa Mason, who graciously provided us tickets to tonight’s gala. It was definitely a night to remember!


Filed under Charity, The Arts, UCF

2 responses to “Orlando Shakespeare Theater: A Night to Remember!

  1. Debbi Toohey

    Thank you for such a fun, in-depth description and photos of the OST Gala. It is a pleasure to produce and work among so many dining professionals who commit to this great night, gratis.
    The woman pictured greeting Mrs. Lake is none other than this year’s Gala Chair and fellow Board member of OST, Patti Strasberg.

    In tastes and drink,
    Debbi Toohey-OST Board Immediate Past President

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