(see photo gallery below)
On Saturday evening December 6, CenterStage celebrated one milestone with another: A century of theater at the Jewish Community Center of Louisville was the backdrop for the tenth annual Light Up CenterStage, the theater’s yearly fundraiser. With 260 in attendance, it was the biggest turnout in the event’s history.
CenterStage Artistic Director John R. Leffert (with an assist from the Louisville event planning firm, Eventualities) elegantly transformed the first floor of the JCC with black and white drapes and magical lighting. Cocktail-attired guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, drinks and desserts while browsing a silent auction. The evening was capped off with a live auction and a musical revue featuring members of the CenterStage acting company.
The silent auction alone brought in a record $19,000, and in a Light Up first, professional auctioneer Rick Wardlow emceed a fun and exciting live auction that garnered $6,500, another fundraising record.
CenterStage has been raising money all season to purchase new, comfortable chairs for the Linker Auditorium. Thanks to the generosity of Light Up guests, CenterStage’s Meet the Challenge Campaign was completed and raised more than $23,000. Thanks to the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence’s generous offer to match all contributions, CenterStage audiences will enjoy the new seating by the end of the 2014-2015 Season.
The delightful, energetic Light Up revue, dedicated to CenterStage past, present and future, included moving cast reunions from past CenterStage productions of Big River, Next to Normal, and RENT, plus musical numbers from a few of next season’s shows, officially announced that evening, including Nine to Five, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Big Fish. The revue also featured a special encore performance by Hairspray’s Edna Turnblad, a.k.a., John R. Leffert himself, in full, show-stopping style.
Leffert summarized the event: “The hard work of staff, commitment of our volunteers, the talent of our terrific performers and the generosity of our donors all came together to make the 10th Anniversary Light Up CenterStage the perfect night. I couldn’t be happier. Each year seems to get better and better!”