Posted by Amanda Farrar on April 1, 2015
The Big Wedding: Everyone Get Married was a Fancy Schmancy Fundraiser benefiting Barrel of Monkeys, and the event held on March 28th marked our 13th fundraiser. Thank you for all who came out and celebrated the imaginations of children! What was the amount raised to support our work in Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Park Districts, you ask? $34,325 and counting! Board Member, Mike Maddaloni, provides his point of view of his first Barrel of Monkeys’ gala.
The Big Wedding Was Outrageous!
By Mike Maddaloni
It was about 11:30 pm last Saturday night. The last of the guests of the Barrel of Monkeys’ annual Fancy Schmancy gala, “The Big Wedding,” had left the Drucker Center in Chicago and it was time to clean up. As the lights came up, the space that was this great event was transformed back to its primary function as 2 gymnasiums, prompting me to stand there in disbelief, and the only word I could use to describe it?
When I say outrageous, I mean it in a good way. No, I mean it in a great way. If you are curious to why this came to mind, it was a line that Lionel Richie shouted over and over and over during the 1985 American Music Awards – you can get a taste of it here in this YouTube video.
These adjoining halls just hours before were the intimate setting for a great fundraiser and party for Barrel of Monkeys, not to mention the setting for a wedding of Rosanna and Buck, the story by a student of a Barrel of Monkeys’ creative writing class that inspired the theme for the event. From once you entered and got your corsage and then over to the gift registry, silent auction, candy buffet, photo booth and bar (what’s a wedding without a bar?), then into the main wedding reception complete with tables for guests and the dance floor. Designed by the creative team that puts on That’s Weird Grandma and our other shows, it was a truly beautiful space with plenty of room to dance and socialize with friends or complete strangers.
The Drucker Center was not the only thing decked out for the night. Many people wore wedding dresses, tuxedos, tacky bridesmaid dresses as well as other choices for dressy attire. The theme of the wedding, which was performed by the company actors, engaged all of the attendees, who watched from either their tables or chairs resembling a house of worship. The fact that everyone “got into it” made the night even more fun.
Of course this was not a complete surprise to me, but as I had never been to a Barrel of Monkeys gala event before, I had not experienced first-hand the magic and elegance of it all. I just joined the Board of Directors for the organization last fall, and this was my first major event with them. With the coupling of the aforementioned creative team and help from the staff, company, board and friends of the Monkeys, the transformation to a great space was possible.
Overall the night was a success. Thanks to the handiwork of many who worked to setup, run and takedown the event, as well as the myriad of sponsors and donors of items to the silent auction, it was a true win-win for Barrel of Monkeys and all the students they teach, as well as those in attendance on Saturday evening.
If you don’t believe me, look for photos for yourself on our social media channels – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It was truly an outrageous night in Chicago – if you were there, thank you, and if you were not, as we say here in the Windy City… next year!