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A well-dressed crowd of art patrons and gourmands made their way into the beautiful Gaillard Auditorium on Thursday evening to celebrate Charleston Stage’s 15th Anniversary Dinner and Gala. The lavish affair kicked off with a cocktail hour and extensive silent auction, which included items such as a two night stay on Fripp Island, a Charleston Food + Wine Festival package, and an evening for six at Bottles ‘n Brushes. After whetting their palates on duck pate with truffled mushrooms and tomato basil shrimp wontons, guests made their way into the main auditorium for an incredible three-course meal, theatrical performances, and a live auction emceed by Tom Crawford of ABC News 4.

Eleven local restaurants contributed to the fundraiser, donating food and their chefs’ time and talent to the fundraiser. Headlining the event were Rue de Jean, Blu, Circa 1886, Fish, Grill 225, Jasmine Porch at The Sanctuary, McCrady’s, Muse, Ocean Room at The Sanctuary, Poogan’s Porch, and Roadside Kitchens. Each restaurant served a delicious meal with perfectly balanced wine pairings to a set number of tables.

Charleston Stage’s resident acting company took to the stage for a high-energy selection from Hairspray during the second course, and Tom Crawford began the live auction as dessert was served. The energy was infectious, and bidders and bystanders alike were soon caught up in the moment. Bidding wars broke out between tables, and Crawford brought out everyone’s competitive spirit with his auctioneer’s spiel and by dropping to one knee to coax an even higher bid out of a laughing guest.

The night was a great success and served to benefit Charleston Stage, South Carolina’s largest professional theater company. The organization recently returned to the newly renovated Dock Street Theater, where they continue to present a variety of theatrical performances as well as working to enhance education in the arts throughout the Lowcountry.