Steppenwolf is no stranger to attracting big-time celebrity names at their annual gala and this year was no different, with headliners including actor James Franco and Armie Hammer. Over 600 guests attended the gala on May 11th that was held at Rockwell on the River.
Co-chairs for the evening included Kate Arrington & Michael Shannon, Pam & Dennis D. Howarter, Mary & Bill Ludford, Sandra Marquez, and Tarell Alvin McCraney. Armie Hammer was the night’s emcee, who attended with wife Elizabeth Chambers. The actor who is known for film roles that include Call Me by Your Name, On the Basis of Sex and The Social Network, recently performed “Straight White Men” on Broadway, directed by Steppenwolf Artistic Director, Anna D. Shapiro.
The live auction raised $280,000 and was a success thanks to guest auctioneer actor, director, and producer James Franco and Mr. Hammer who came up with a drinking game for guests to take a sip every time the word “ensemble” was spoken, which was often! Unique auction experiences included The Great Wolf Way: VIP NYC Experience where six guests could enjoy premium seats to Broadway’s Frankie & Johnny in the Claire de Lune followed by a meet and greet with actor Michael Shannon, premium seats to Broadway’s Hillary and Clinton followed by cocktails with Laurie Metcalf and Kathryn Erbe, premium seats at Broadway’s Hillary and Clinton and Broadway’s All my Sons followed by a meet and greet with Tracy Letts and co-star Annette Bening, brunch in a Chelsea loft with Joan Allen, Kate Arrington, and Bruce Norris and a two-night stay at The Lexington Hotel.
All Aboard The Pineapple Express auction featured a gourmet dinner for six guests in New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago with ensemble member Gary Cole and co-stars James Franco and Rosie Perez.
I Bless the Rainns Down in Utopia featured a set visit with Rainn Wilson in Chicago while he films Utopia, an Amazon series that co-stars John Cusack. After guests visit the set, they will get the chance to sit down with Rainn and talk about his life and career.
During the auction, guests indulged at a seated dinner and started with umami roasted mushroom miso doughnut and gold beet and goat cheese salad, wood grilled butcher’s steak for entrée and a strawberry lemon cake for dessert.
After, partygoers hit the dance floor to the beats of Chicago Soul Spectacular. The event was a huge success, raising over $1.28 million for the prestigious company’s artistic and educational programming.