A Night [On-Stage] at the Theater

JJLA was proud to partner with new client Center Theatre Group to help produce their return to live events – the first gala to take place since 2019. This year’s gala theme was “Stories Unite Us”, celebrating the art of storytelling and those who tell it best and the one-night, immersive theatrical exploration took place on the Ahmanson stage. Guests began their evening with an outdoor cocktail reception. After checking-in, guests found themselves among some bars and seating vignettes that were pulled from the CTG prop and set house. The 360* Photo Booth was designed to look like a star’s dressing room – filled with unique props and costumes. During the reception, guests were also entertained by The Dave Stephens band, playing a combination of Broadway classics and some instrumental jazz. Guests began to hear live stage manager calls, asking guests to take places on the stage, as their performance was about to begin. The stairs down to the main dinner area was the stage door entrance, typically reserved for performers and crew. Once backstage, guests found more decor, props, and a behind-the-scenes experience of entering the stage as a performer, with the curtain down. The stage was dressed minimally with tables, raw linens, and matte black flatware. Lighting illuminated the gargantuan fly system and the majority of the theater was bare and raw. As guests began to take their seats, they continued to hear the Stage Manager calling the show – from light changes to speaker announcements. Upon finishing the welcome remarks, the room was transformed into a vibrant, beautiful dining hall with a change of lighting, delivery of festive feather centerpieces, the addition of a theatrical backdrop, and the lowering of beautiful, over-sized chandeliers into the space. During dinner, up-and-coming playwrights stood and read pieces of new work, with their narration creating change in the lights, sound, and scenery. The final transformation of the space revealed a mysterious and illuminated space, filled with haze. Tony and Grammy-winning Broadway star and original Dreamgirl, Jennifer Holliday took the stage to close out the show. The theater curtain was lifted and the house was illuminated prior to a magical feather drop to end the evening. Other special guests who participated in the show included Phylicia Rashad, Michael Urie, Steven Weber, and Bill Irwin.

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