Virginia Repertory Theatre is one of Virginia's largest and most acclaimed nonprofit performing arts organizations in the region providing the highest caliber of live, professional theatre. The Anything Goes Gala has become one of our favorite projects to have the opportunity to work on in support of Virginia Rep's community outreach programs. It was a thrill to see months of planning and organization (directing over 150 staff, board, volunteers and performers) take flight this past January 31. Surpassing all previous years’ goals, the third annual fundraising event proved to be a huge success, and an evening to remember for nearly 350 special guests in attendance.
Upon arrival at The Hotel John Marshall, an Honor Guard flanking the patriotically adorned entrance greeted guests.
Cadets, Benedictine High School
The evening was particularly special because it honored the memory of Phyllis Eason Galanti, one of Virginia’s bravest and most admirable women.
Phyllis was the wife of our Honorary Event Chair, Lieutenant Commander Paul Edward Galanti, who suffered nearly seven years as a POW in Vietnam. Phyllis' activism on behalf of POWs and service to veterans is well known, and is widely recognized by Virginia War Memorial and beyond. She was one of the longest serving board members of Virginia Rep and they posthumously honored her with The Founders’ Award at the event, recognizing her commitment to their board, her country, and Virginia’s veterans.
Phyllis and Paul Galanti, 1973.
The festivities began in the Marshall Ballroom with cocktails, “A Toast To Phyllis” and a silent auction offering a variety of exciting packages.
A toast to Phyllis, the signature drink of the night.
The Cigarette Girls greeted guests entering the Marshall Ballroom and sold raffle beads that also supported the cause, all red white and blue of course!
The Marshall Ballroom, full of excited guests bidding away during the silent auction!
The wall featured a slideshow that captured amazing moments in the lives of the Galantis, and the room was decorated with family photos and historic memorabilia that the family generously provided.
Guests also had the benefit of viewing live entertainment throughout the evening provided by the theatre's talent. We loved these USO girls that served as the centerpiece and focal point of the ballroom during the silent auction and cocktail hour.
The Bellini Sisters performed a tribute act to the Andrews Sisters, and announced the end of the silent auction and cocktail hour. They sang and danced the guests into the Virginia Ballroom to commence the second half of the evening, dinner and a live auction.
Once guests were seated in the Virginia Ballroom, the Color Guard from Benedictine High School entered for the presentation of colors. There was an amazing sense of pride and commemoration in the ballroom!
The cast of the Four Part Harmony reunited to provide dinner entertainment for the guests. They sang highlights from this play written based on the real-life experience of the Galanti’s during the Vietnam War.
The Cast of Four Part Harmony singing “Freedom”
The event featured several key speakers such as Bruce Miller, Virginia Rep’s Artistic Director, who presented the Founder’s Award.
Paul Galanti and his adorable granddaughter accepted the award on Phyllis' behalf.
The live auction followed with Justin Swisher, whose energy was contagious and did an amazing job getting the crowd excited to support Virginia Rep!
The entire evening proved to be a huge success for this valuable non-profit organization in Richmond. The event in total grossed a record high of $318,000! The funds raised will be used to support the theatre's quality work and ensure the continuation of Virginia Rep in the future. We were so pleased to be apart of such a wonderful and important evening that will have such a positive affect on the future of Virginia Repertory Theatre!