Friday, February 18, 2011
Our 30th Anniversary Party and Valentines Day Benefit, just the other day, was a great event! We started with a great reception featuring young Tony Milano on the piano: Among the dishes were CJ’s authentic Lebanese hummus, Kristen Vehill’s savory spinach balls, Kat O Connor’s home-baked bread, Jeanne Carr’s fennel pasta salad, and Diane Hamm’s shrimp cocktail medley and artisan dark chocolate truffles.
Although you may have been unable to participate in that, your presence as a contributor to our old Prop Thtr, would put a much needed further feather upon the affair. Beginning, three decades ago in a time marked also by recession, Prop Thtr was slow to ask grantors or the government to support us. We felt, first, we must be sure of our own ability to make the art we care about really worth our while. Although, since that day, we have written and received many grants indeed, been supported in numerous fashion – one year even, we were a separate line item in the Illinois State Budget, our project of bringing new play theaters from around the country deemed so important - our philosophy remains the same, if more matured, as at the outset: We do not look to others to make our work worthwhile to us and we do not feel entitled to have others bear the majority of burden for supporting us.
The opening set flooded the theater with the sounds of innovative jazz riffs by Joannie Pallato and Bradley Parker Sparrow, of Southport Studios fame. Colorful steampunk costumes adorned the ladies from the Sewing for Stage Dancers to open the Cabaret portion of the evening. Then a captivating story by Chicago legend, Beau O Reilly was followed by the charming silliness of lip-syncing Andy Soma with his signature thrift give-aways; Arin Mulvaney and Mark Dodge (The Shakespeare All-stars) brought some serious fun with a delightful Shakespeare puppet show and Prop’s most recent Rhino Fest intern, Maria Jacobson, took a chance to shine with song on stage. To close the show, circus aerial and stunt man Tom Hill walked barefoot across broken glass to climb astonishingly into our rafters to retrieve his valentine heart. A memorable postscript was touchingly performed by emcee and co-artistic director, Scott Vehill -- a surprise serenade to wife Kristen (and our audience)!
Prop does not ask everyone for support and Prop does not ask often. The occasion and our current economy do make us ask you now, please give, please give now and please give what you can, large or small. Of the current economy and the slapdash, reckless divesting from long term commitments to our culture, enough has been said elsewhere, you surely know.