A sparkling prelude to Joffrey's Spring Gala

March 3, 2011
Pioneer Local


Joffrey Ballet, Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph St., Chicago; (312) 386-8921 or joffrey.org

Event: The setting for the Joffrey Ballet's 2011 annual Spring Gala kickoff was not chosen at random.

"It's this iconic American symbol and as Holly Golightly said - nothing bad ever happens at Tiffany's," joked Tiffany & Co.'s sales professional Scott Sichterman.

The famed Michigan Avenue store opened its doors for the Joffrey's elegant cocktail party, where more than 70 VIPs were treated to wine and hors d'oeuvres before turning their sights on the glittering displays to select just the right jewelry for their upcoming red carpet moment. The 2011 Spring Gala, put on by the Women's Board of the Joffrey Ballet, is set to commence April 29 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and culminate at the Palmer House.

The Players: Serving as this year's Gala co-chairs are Wendy Chronister, who encouraged attendees to "spend large," and Courtney Thompson, Hinsdale, who offered these words of wisdom for those still on the fence about making a purchase: "It is not too late for a belated Valentine's; Mother's Day is not too far away; birthdays are all year long and every woman has a neck every day of the year."

Astrid Armstrong McKinnon of Kenilworth, member of the Women's Board since its inception, noted that the Joffrey "is one of the best performances in Chicago. Everyone needs to make an effort at least once to see the ballet."

The annual black-tie event begins with a cocktail reception at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, where the Joffrey will hold its first-ever live auction for a luxury trip to Thailand and Bhutan. Following, guests will be treated to a private performance featuring a potpourri of the season's masterpieces and personal selections from Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater. The Exelon Strobel Touring Troupe will return to the stage, and the Joffrey Ballet's Choreographers of Color award winners, Creative Force, will unveil their newest piece.

From there, guests will be escorted down a red carpet-clad Wabash Street to Chicago's historic Palmer House Hilton where they will enjoy cocktails, dinner and dancing to music by the City Lights Orchestra inside the hotel's State, Grand and Red Lacquer rooms.

Bottom Line: A percentage of sales from the evening's purchases at Tiffany & Co. will go to benefit the Joffrey Ballet. Last year's gala raised $1.3 million in general operating funds; this year the Joffrey hopes to reach that same benchmark. Individual gala tickets are $600; tables are $6,000 to $25,000.