In celebration of 42 remarkable seasons of ensemble theater, nearly 700 guests gathered on May 12 to honor Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s world-renowned ensemble. With record-breaking attendance, the 2018 Gala raised more than $1.3 million for the theater’s pivotal programing in the arts and local community. Steppenwolf works with local Chicagoland schools and neighborhoods in providing their outreach programs. Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) offers workshops both in-class and after-school, in addition to producing two full-scale plays each season that speak to the teen identity. According to Steppenwolf, SYA reaches more than 15,000 teachers, teens, and families each year.
The evening, curated by Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro and the Steppenwolf ensemble, began with a cocktail reception followed by a seated dinner, program, and auction. Actor Rainn Wilson emceed this year’s Gala. Wilson is currently starring in the Steppenwolf production “The Doppelgänger (an international farce).”
The star-studded guest list also included Chris Rock, who served as guest auctioneer for the night alongside Christie’s Auctioneer Robbie Gordy.
A tribute was given to the late John Mahoney, beloved ensemble member. Longtime friend and actor Kelsey Grammer honored Mahoney alongside Shapiro. A video montage was shared in his honor.
The evening closed with dancing to Chicago band Soul Spectacular and DJ Matt Roan.
The Gala was hosted by Steppenwolf’s Board of Trustees and distinguished ensemble members. This year’s co-chairs included Verett Mims; Elliot Stultz; ensemble member Audrey Francis and Chris Froseth; Cathy and ensemble member James Vincent Meredith; and co-founder Jeff Perry and Linda Lowy.
The event was made possible thanks to the generous support of sponsors Allstate, The Bluhm Family Charitable Foundation, Exelon, Greenberg Traurig, Grosvenor Capital Management, The Harris Family Foundation – Caryn & King Harris, Liz and Eric Lefkofsky, PwC, and United.
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Emily Stone is Associate Editor at Make It Better. She earned a degree in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina. Along with writing, Stone has a passion for digital storytelling and photography. Her work is published in Chicago Athlete Magazine. Stone is a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stone is a fluent Spanish speaker who in her free time loves a good dance class.