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A fabulously decked-out crowd turned out to the Memminger Auditorium on Thursday, October 4 for the 17th Annual Charleston Stage Gala. Long, dramatic frocks, short sparkly cocktail dresses, and one velvet men’s evening coat were among the most notable looks, and guests milled about the silent auction during the cocktail hour. 

As partygoers bid competitively on the various silent auction items, they snacked on foie gras deviled eggs and chicken and waffles from Cru Cafe. The bidding heated up as the auction began to draw to a close, with several attendees hovering over their bids in the final moments. “Excuse me, my wife bid on a vacation package,” one gentleman explained, as he and his wife hurriedly pushed their way through the crowd.

Soon it was time for the three-course dinner, and the curtains swept aside to allow partygoers into the noticeably cooler dining room. The space was filled with beautifully decorated tables, and each table featured a different gourmet restaurant. Rue de Jean, Blu, ‘Cesca, Circa 1886, Jasmine Porch at The Sanctuary, the Library at Vendue Inn, Muse, The Ocean Room, and Tristan all served up three delicious courses, each accompanied by a complimentary wine pairing.

As the meal drew to a close, the live auction went into high gear. Everyone bid generously, and the Charleston Stage actors were joined by members of the TheatreWings Apprenticeship Program, Charleston Stage’s pre-professional training program for high school students. They treated the audience to a beautiful performance, and partygoers ended a wonderful night by giving generously to this outreach program.

Charleston Stage is the largest professional theatre company in South Carolina, and has presented over 300 productions, including more than 20 World Premiers. The 501(c)3 nonprofit organization employs 13 full-time staff members, as well as guest artists, musicians, actors, dancers, and musicians, and strives to cultivate future talent through the TheatreWings Apprenticeship Program.