President of the University of Chicago Robert J. Zimmer (far right) honoring Marilyn and David Vitale (photo by Tori Soper Photography)

Court Theatre 60th Anniversary Gala Raises $330K for Artistic, Education and Outreach Initiatives

On Saturday, April 18, 2015, more than 300 guests joined Court Theatre’s Board of Trustees and Gala Committee at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago for the theater’s 60th Anniversary Gala, celebrating Court’s six decades of artistic excellence in creating and reinvigorating the legacy of some of the greatest plays the world has known. The elegant black-tie affair raised more than $330,000 to support Court’s artistic, education and outreach initiatives.

At the gala celebration, University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer honored Marilyn and David Vitale for their longstanding generosity and leadership not only to the theater but to the University and the city. Mrs. Vitale has served on Court’s Board of Trustees for more than two decades and currently serves as Board Chair. Mr. Vitale has been a visionary force for arts education in Chicago, most notably through the groundbreaking Chicago Public Schools Arts Education Plan.

Guests enjoyed a festive cocktail hour, followed by an exquisite three-course dinner and live performances by some of Chicago’s finest artists. They also participated in a raffle and silent auction, with the opportunity to bid on an array of high profile items and experiences including vacation packages in Tuscany, Santiago, Hong Kong and Shanghai, a Q&A session with the Command Module Pilot of Apollo 11, Michael Collins, and backstage tours to Broadway’s hit musical, Aladdin. Funds raised at the Gala will be used to support Court Theatre’s artistic initiatives and education and outreach programs, all of which reach nearly 40,000 students, families and program participants throughout the City of Chicago each year.

As Court marks its historic 60th Anniversary Season milestone, the performances of the evening paid tribute to Court’s six decades of artistry. Artistic director Charles Newell, together with Rob Lindley, music director Doug Peck and a host of beloved Court artists, including Timothy Edward Kane, Bethany Thomas, and Elizabeth Ledo, presented an array of performances from Court’s most popular productions, including Guys and Dolls, Porgy and Bess, and a special preview of The Secret Garden.

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