With the dashing duo of Brian Teichman and Andrew Cordes at the helm, the Alley Theatre Ball was destined for theatrical elegance, thanks in part to the sophisticated involvement of Gucci, the lead sponsor. It was also in the script that this would be the theater's most successful gala ever. The black-tie "Ultimate Construction" ball brought in a cool million and change.
Loyal Gucci shoppers, Teichman and Cordes cajoled the luxury retailer into joining the party, which it did in a big way. Gucci not only contributed mucho dinero but also dictated the sleek platinum draping of the Silver Street Studio and commanded the yellow rose centerpieces (more than 70 blossoms in each) in chic, square stainless containers. For the evening, the gents wore white, made-to-order tuxedos from Gucci's Lapos Wardrobe collection. And, yes, they flew to Italy to have them made.
Gucci upped the elegance factor with a spotlighted display of red carpet ensembles— gowns worn by Amy Adams, Mila Kunis and Salma Hayek Pinault and tuxes worn by John Legend and James Franco.
The European influence began with the VIP party for which Christofle brought in a gleaming champagne vasque (over-sized bucket) from which the Alley served Perrier Jouёt Belle Epoque and concluded with the live auction of an Audi 2014 Q5 luxury SUV.
Even dinner had an Italian flavor, thanks to the talented hands in Tony Vallone's kitchen. Showpiece was the melt-in-your-mouth osso bucco which vied for top billing with dessert — individual raspberry vacherins topped with the Gucci "G" in meringue.
When it came to the entertainment, the night went all-American beginning with dinner music by cabaret singer Julie Johnson. The gala hit its high note when Gladys Knight, looking and sounding in top form, rocked the stage with an hour of her top R&B tunes. In addition to backup singers and full band, she was joined on stage by her brother, Merald Knight, one of the original Pips. As soon as she began, guests flew to the dance floor, many with camera phones in hand.
The night concluded (as it had begun) with Yvonne Washington warbling in the reception area with Positive State of Mind. Before the party shut down, waiters carried in trays of Egg McMuffins, compliments of 2015 Alley gala chairs Mady and Ken Kades, who own more than two dozen McDonald's franchises.
Among those who did and didn't go for the McMuffins were Alley artistic director Gregory Boyd, Alley managing director Dean Gladden and Jane Gladden, Lynn Wyatt, Carmen and Butch Mach, Sallie Sargent, Diane Lokey Farb, Cynthia and Tony Petrello Joni Baird, Winell and Doug Herron, Melinda and Sam Stubbs, Donna Teichman, Behnaz Grahramani, Trini Mendenhall and Lenita and Doug Sanders.