Goodman Theatre’s Scenemaker’s Board is officially calling all flappers and fellas for the 4th annual “Scene Soiree,” the Scenemakers young professionals board’s signature fundraiser for Goodman Theatre’s PlayBuild: Youth Intensive (formerly General Theatre Studies) program for Chicagoland youth. Inspired by the decade of the Goodman’s founding (1925) and styled in the spirit of the classic speakeasy, the event will include prohibition-era classic cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from catering partner Paramount Events—plus a silent auction, raffle and dancing. The Scene Soiree will take place at Ovation Chicago (2324 W. Fulton) on Saturday, June 13 from 8 p.m. – 12 midnight. Nesek Digital is the Presenting Sponsor for the event and Robert W. Baird & Co. and Kobrand are Presenting Partners of the Scenemakers Board season.

Chaired by the program’s Board President and co-founder Gordon C.C. Liao, treasurer Justin A. Kulovsek and members Heather M. Grove and Elizabeth M. Balthrop, the Scene Soiree has grown exponentially as an annual signature fundraiser; attendance and proceeds raised have nearly tripled since the event’s inception in 2012.

“The Scene Soiree has fast become one of Chicago’s hottest summer social events,” said Liao, “This year, we are thrilled to honor the Goodman’s 90th anniversary in a hip new creative space retrofitted by a DJ collective—so the night will feature beats of all different genres. We encourage folks to come dressed accordingly, which will add to the fun. Most importantly, it’s a fabulous party for a great cause: making theater accessible for Chicago’s underserved youth.”

Proceeds from Scenemakers’ events benefit the Goodman’s new play development programs and education initiatives—in particular, the summer youth program, PlayBuild: Youth Intensive. The program has been putting up some impressive numbers since inception. More than 700 students have participated in PlayBuild since its launch; approximately 79% of participants attend public schools, with 51% enrolled in Chicago Public Schools. The comprehensive six-week intensive is designed to further critical thinking, literacy and storytelling skills in 14-18 year-old students. Led by Willa Taylor, director of education and community engagement, in collaboration with teaching artists, PlayBuild introduces participants to theater using ensemble building, object work and writing exercises.

The 43-member Scenemakers Board—the highest membership in its 12-year history—works to raise awareness of and financial support for Goodman Theatre among Chicago's young professionals. Networking events, fundraisers and special projects during the current 90th anniversary season (in addition to the “Scene Soiree”) included “Two Trains and Sidecar,” in conjunction with Two Trains Running (March 11, 2015), and “Cocktails with a Twist,” in conjunction with Twist Your Dickens, Or Scrooge You! (December 9, 2014). 

Guests enjoying the lively dance floor at Goodman Theatre’s Scene Soiree fundraiser at the National Hellenic Museum on June 21, 2014 (photo by John Riley Photography).

Roaring 20s Setting the Stage for Goodman Scenemakers'  Scene Soiree Fundraiser this June