Rock(in’) Lobster Feast 2019 with Actors Theatre
By Laura Ross
Photos by Tim Valentino
Need something to blast you out of the winter blues and help you think of sunnier times? How about enjoying an all-you-can-eat lobster dinner surrounded by hundreds of your craziest, most entertaining friends? Actors Theatre of Louisville’s perennial event, Lobster Feast, will not disappoint.
Benefitting Actors, the event arrives at the Louisville Marriott Downtown Jan. 26 for its 17th year of fun and feasting. Consistently rated as one of Louisville’s best parties, Lobster Feast features an all-you-can-eat lobster and locally-sourced dinner buffet, Old Forester cocktails and open bar, live and silent auctions, dancing all night to the sounds of Hay DJ. and a few outrageous surprises await guests.
“Let me tell you, I had no idea what to expect,” said Kevin Moore, managing director of Actors Theatre, who came to the company and to Louisville just two years ago. “People told me we do this really, really fun fundraiser with lobster. Frankly, those are two words you don’t always put together. We are a theater after all, and it should be fun, but, all-you-can-eat lobster? I couldn’t imagine it and was completely blown away by how much fun it is.”
“People who are used to more traditional fundraisers should be prepared to have fun, get down and dirty with the lobster and be up to your elbows in butter,” noted Lobster Feast co-chair Stewart Lussky. “You will eat, you will dance, you will enjoy the antics of our professional training company and you’ll be a part of a show. We think we set the bar for other fundraisers through the year in Louisville.”
The 2019 theme is “It’s Showtime” and focuses on the backstage world of the theater – from the actors, set designers, staff, costumers, directors, make up artists and more. Costumes are encouraged for Lobster Feast but not necessary. Guests can come as they are or dress as a favorite character, actor, writer or theater geek. “Literally, anything goes,” said Moore. “If you don’t dress up, you can just say you’re an audience member!”
In addition to the lobster, the Marriott provides a full buffet that includes partnerships with locally-sourced food providers including Bourbon Barrel Foods, Cellar Door Chocolates, Old Forester Bourbon and Falls City Beer. “It’s fun watching these local providers geek out and partner with each other to develop special dishes,” said event co-chair Wendy Sirchio. “It’s amazing how the entire community comes together to support Actors.”
Live and silent auction items include traditional dining packages, vacation homes, sporting items and high-end trips to England and Sweden. Unique theater-themed offerings – such as opportunities to “name” parts of the theater or a show – are up for grabs also. “We even have opportunities to help with the live rats in Dracula,” added Sirchio. “You can support the rats, visit them and hold them backstage during the run of the show.”
As for the lobster, the matter is taken very seriously and the crustaceans are flown in from Northern waters. Organizers expect to order 2,500 pounds of lobster since guests typically eat an average of two each. How many bibs are on hand? More than 600. It gets messy at Lobster Feast.
“I’ve seen some people eat up to five whole lobsters, I swear,” laughed Moore. “The craziest thing is it is just so beautifully done. The ‘lobster parade’ is amazing, and the Marriott’s presentation is such a sight to behold. Everyone is ready, they have their bibs on and they just dig in.”
Lobster Feast consistently raises several hundred thousand dollars for Actors, with the 2019 goal set at $350,000. The event sells out each year and ticket sales this year are brisk. Individual tickets are $300 each, with tables of 10 available for $3,000. VIP tables of 10 for $5,000 include premium seating, dedicated serving staff and special pours of Old Forester bourbon.
“You’ll want to work out a deal with your stomach to make sure you have room for the lobster, the buffet and the desserts. Make sure you’re ready,” said Lussky.
“You know, there comes a point in every organization where you ask, ‘How much more of this can we do?’” said Moore. “But we have a lot more in store. People love it and we love producing it. Lobster Feast raises an enormous amount of money for us. Actors wouldn’t be able to do what we do without Lobster Feast.” V
Lobster Feast 2019 is Jan. 26, at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. Doors open at 6 p.m. and dinner is served at 8 p.m. Purchase tickets online at actorstheatre.org or contact Mark Warner at 502.584.1265 ext. 3013, or firstname.lastname@example.org.