Chicago Shakespeare executive director Criss Henderson, Spirit of Shakespeare Award honoree ComEd CEO and president Anne Pramaggiore, CST Board of Directors chair Sheli Z. Rosenberg and CST artistic director Barbara Gaines at the Theater’s Gala 2016 on April 23, 2016 (photo by Michael Brosilow).

Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) celebrated the global impact of Shakespeare with its Gala 2016 at the theater’s home on Navy Pier on the 400th Anniversary of his death—April 23, 2016—a date which also marked the playwright’s 452nd birthday. As the signature celebration of the yearlong Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival, the night raised a record-breaking $1.4 million that will benefit the Tony Award-winning theater’s Chicago Shakespeare in Urban Classrooms and Communities initiatives, including Team Shakespeare education programs and the free citywide Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour. CST presented the Spirit of Shakespeare Award to Civic Honoree ComEd, represented by president and CEO Anne Pramaggiore.

​Five hundred attendees from Chicago’s civic and cultural community came together to toast Shakespeare’s enduring legacy and enjoy a one-night-only performance featuring Tony- and Olivier Award-winner Alan Cumming, followed by a spectacular Aon Fireworks display over the city skyline.

In addition to honorary co-chairs Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Amy Rule, CST's Gala 2016 co-chairs Ally and Suzette Bulley, Barbara Malott Kizziah and Keith Kizziah and Paulita Pike and Zulfiqar Bokhari spearheaded the evening’s events. The record fundraising total was made possible by the support of a host committee of 34 individuals and corporations led by Lead Sponsors ComEd/Exelon and Food For Thought Catering.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Gala 2016 Raises a Record $1.4 Million for Shakespeare in Urban Classrooms and Communities Initiatives