Wide Eyed Productions is proud to announce its first annual Gala event, which will be taking place on Saturday, September 28th. We caught up with Wide Eyed Board member and Events chair Melissa Johnson to find out what delights await our guests attending this very special celebration.
- Let’s talk about glitz and glamour first. Can you tell us a little bit about Dune Studios, where the event will be held this year? What’s your inspiration in terms of décor for the Gala?
Dune Studios is a beautiful professional photography studio and event space in the heart of
SoHo. Guests will travel
up to the top floor of the space at 121
Varick Street, and be greeted with stunning views of
the city through the almost floor to ceiling windows. The space itself is very
minimal and we don’t want to take away from that too much, so you will see a lot
of small details in the décor. Twinkling lights, hints of gold accents and our
signature red and black here and there.
- I hear we have some fantastic sponsors for this year’s event, yes?
Absolutely! We are very lucky to have such amazing support for this event. Our official sponsor for this event is Stone Creek Bar and Lounge, which has been such a huge supporter of Wide Eyed for many years. Jon Pirozzi, the owner, is a good friend to Wide Eyed and will be providing the beer for the evening, as well as something small for our swag bags. We’ve also just gotten the support of a local vineyard Lieb Cellars from North Fork, who will be providing some of our wine for the event. We are very excited to have them involved! Also good friend and huge supporter to Wide Eyed, Tim Butterfield, provided us with some delicious wine, as well. He was the first one to come out and hand me a donation several months ago; now the big night's just a couple of weeks away!
- Word is we have some truly impressive items up for bidding in our silent auction. Can you share with us what items will be crossing the auction block?
Thanks to Charity Fundraising Packages, we have some truly amazing celebrity autographed memorabilia to auction off this year. We've never held a silent auction like this before, but they are such an amazing organization to work with, that we just had to give it a shot. Some of the items guests will have an opportunity to have bidding wars over: An electric guitar signed by Sir Paul McCartney; a framed Star Wars Movie Poster signed by 10 of the original cast members; a framed, autographed photograph of Michael Jackson; a framed, autographed photograph of Taylor Swift; an autographed record album signed by U2; and an autographed record album signed by Billy Joel!
Those are just the celebrity items. We also have restaurant gift certificates, exercise equipment, and headshot sessions. There truly is something for everyone so bring those checkbooks and credit cards because all donations are tax deductible!
- As a performing arts organization, it just makes sense that Wide Eyed would include live performances during the course of the evening. What can our glamorous Gala audience expect to see and hear on September 28?
We will start the evening with a little background music in the way of a live jazz piano set provided by Asen Doykin, then we will get into the performance program for the evening. Guests will see a short set by Wide Eyed’s new improv troupe, Real. Good. Spies. I am very excited about that; they are hilarious and I know they have been working very hard! After their set, we are going to get a sneak preview performance into a play that we read during our "Winks" series: Dan Kitrosser's Dead Special Crabs. I can’t say too much about what we will see, but I guarantee it will be highly entertaining.
- I hear we may have some paparazzi and creative photo opportunities at the event. I don’t want to give away *all* the secrets, but are there more special treats in store for our Gala guests?
All I can say is dress to impress, because you will be having your photo taken! And be ready to have some fun with us, because we want to enfold all of our guests into the Wide Eyed world, and by the end of the night we should be able to show everyone what it feels like to be on stage with us.
- I know that some people would love to come to our first Gala, but time or distance may make that a challenge. How can our fans still participate as “patrons of the arts” from a distance?
We completely understand that not everyone will be able to make it out to this event this time, but if you would still like to support Wide Eyed Productions and our next season, which is going to prove to be our most impressive undertaking yet, we appreciate any and all donations no matter how big or small. Donations can be made via our website, and all donations are tax-deductible. Also, look out for announcements for ways to get involved in our upcoming season! We are going to have lots of opportunities for artists in our area. We are so thankful to our supporters everywhere; there are so many that have been with us from the beginning and we would be nowhere without our families, friends and fans. We have been waiting to throw and event like this for years, and we can’t believe it’s finally happening. We just know those who do attend will not be disappointed.
- Final question: Are tickets still available? Where can those be purchased, and can our last minute guests still get tickets at the door?
Tickets are absolutely still available, and can be purchased through our website. You will also be able to get tickets at the door (credit card only), but I suggest getting them ahead of time. Also, I can’t stress this enough: The event starts at 7pm. I would highly suggest showing up on time! There will be a lot going on that starts right at 7, and some events will not be happening all night. You won’t want to miss anything! We'll see you at the Gala!