On December 5, CenterStage at the Jewish Community Center will host its annual fundraiser: Light Up CenterStage. The evening is more than just your typical auction and hors dâ€™oeuvres gala in that it features a spectacular Broadway-style revue featuring some of the favorite faces of the CenterStage company. To learn more about this enchanted evening, as the theme is this year, and what it benefits, we caught up with CenterStage Artistic Director John Leffert.
What is Light Up CenterStage?
Light Up CenterStage is CenterStageâ€™s one and only fundraiser throughout the season. This marks our 11th year in producing this incredible event. For many years, Light Up funded lighting and sound improvements. Last year, the proceeds allowed us to purchase new chairs for our auditorium. This yearâ€™s proceeds will all benefit CenterStage Acting Out, our professional touring childrenâ€™s theatre troupe that travels and performs for schools in our area. These funds will help underwrite the program costs for schools that otherwise may not be able to afford the program.
What can guests expect at the event?
The first floor of the Jewish Community Center is transformed and unrecognizable. As you enter Light Up CenterStage An Enchanted Evening, you will enter an enchanted forest. Enjoy an open bar and passed hors dâ€™oeuvres as you bid on over 155 incredible silent auction items easily using your phone. Once the auction is finished, you will indulge in our decadent dessert buffet and pick up another cocktail on your way to your seat at a cabaret table in our auditorium, where an exclusive Broadway-style revue was written just for you and will be presented by the CenterStage company. The fast-paced show will feature a variety of contemporary songs as well as Broadway classics. During the show, there will be a live auction where you can purchase everything from a Miami Beach trip to an exclusive cocktail party at the artistic directorâ€™s home. Our Light Up guests will be the first to hear the announcement of CenterStageâ€™s 2016-17 season. As you leave the event, donâ€™t forget to pick up your gift bag as a thank you for your attendance.
Why is the event important for CenterStage?
Funding arts programming is always a challenge. There is usually a gap between ticket revenue and the expenses it takes to produce a big musical. This fundraiser not only helps CenterStage bridge this gap but also ensures that our tickets remain reasonable and that CenterStage is able maintain the production quality our audiences have come to expect. With our strategic focus on the educational components of CenterStage, we have delegated all the proceeds from this yearâ€™s event to CenterStage Acting Out, our educational outreach touring childrenâ€™s theatre program. These funds will help ensure the arts reach ALL children in our area and provide them with the benefits and outcomes that live theatre can produce.
How has the event grown over the years?
This event began to raise money for new light and sound for our auditorium. Light Up began 11 years ago with volunteers doing all the decorating, using one room in the JCC with 150 guests in attendance. The event now uses the entire first floor of the JCC where Eventualities works their magic, transforming the space into something incredible. Over 260 guests will be in attendance. Each year, changes are made to the event improving our guestsâ€™ experience. This year we will introduce a new auction platform where our guests will register prior to the event and will bid that night by using their phones. This will not only make things easier and clearer but will open up many new and exciting opportunities for them.
How do you hope the event changes in years to come?
My biggest wish is that guests will continue to attend and recognize this is not your normal fundraising auction event. It is a production from start to finish with our audienceâ€™s experience driving all the decisions. This night is the ultimate CenterStage experience that you must attend to understand. The night is magical, a favorite night of the year.
Is it too late to get tickets?
Tickets are still available. For more information, visit centerstagejcc.org. Reserve your seat today by calling 502.238.2763. VT