A Recap of our 2018 Gala

by Northlight Theatre

Northlight Theatre’s Board of Trustees announced the Theatre’s premier fundraising event, “Home is Where Our Story Begins,” Friday, November 2, 2018, 6:00pm, The Evanston Golf Club, 4401 Dempster, Skokie, IL.

The evening celebrated Northlight’s commitment to providing intensely entertaining theatre –and so much more–to the community it calls home. Northlight distinguishes itself in the landscape of Chicago theatre through its compelling and compassionate work on stage and innovative and impactful work off-stage, including dynamic education and community engagement programs.

The event honored one of Northlight’s founders and two-time Tony Award winner Frank Galati with the Speak Up! Award, and former board chair Tom Stringer with the Leadership Award. Gala chairs include Julie Chernoff and Susie McMonagle, both of Evanston. Host committee members included Candace Corr and BJ Jones, Jane and Timothy Evans, Betsy Hohman, Catherine Hayden, Karen Hunt, Ann Jennett, Pat Price, Trimmy Stamell, Marcia Mead Stillerman, and Mark Tendam.

The Gala featured Chicago-based entertainer and producer Michael Ingersoll as the Master of Ceremonies and musical entertainer. The evening included a cocktail hour, seated dinner, paddle raise, and live and silent auctions filled with unique and priceless activities and excursions.

Proceeds from the event benefited Northlight Theatre’s mainstage productions, imaginative and inclusive arts education and community engagement programs, and the Interplay Program for New Play Development.

The Speak Up! Award is rooted in Northlight’s Speak Up! theatre for social change program — an initiative for middle and high school students throughout the Chicago area. Northlight’s fastest growing arts education program, Speak Up!, brings a custom-designed residency program to increase students’ participation in the arts by making theatre accessible while building creativity, reflection, confidence, and collaboration skills. Topics that have been addressed by students participating in Speak Up! include bullying, gang violence, police brutality, role models, and stereotyping.

Frank Galati is one of the founders of Northlight Theatre, and an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, where his adaptation of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden opened the theatre’s 40th anniversary season. He has received nine Joseph Jefferson Awards for his work in Chicago theatre. He has directed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkley Rep, Mark Taper Forum, Long Wharf Theatre, Chicago Opera Theatre, San Francisco Opera, Dallas Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, The Stratford Festival in Canada, and the Roundabout Theatre in New York. For twenty years Galati was an Associate Director at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. He won two Tony Awards in 1990 for his adaptation and direction of the Steppenwolf production of The Grapes of Wrath on Broadway and was nominated again in 1998 for directing Ragtime on Broadway. In 1989, Galati was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay (with Lawrence Kasdan) of The Accidental Tourist. In 2000 he was inducted into The American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Galati is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. He currently lives in Sarasota, Florida and is an Associate Artist at the Asolo Repertory Theatre.

The Leadership Award recognizes those individuals who have been extraordinary champions of Northlight Theatre. Outstanding leadership may be demonstrated in a variety of ways and impacts all aspects of the theatre including our Interplay new play development program, arts education initiatives, audience and community engagement efforts, endowment program and main stage productions.

Tom Stringer founded his eponymous multi-disciplinary firm, Tom Stringer Design Partners, over 20 years ago to conceive and deliver unique design solutions for residences, restaurants, and yachts around the globe. With the same energy that inspires his own love of travel and collecting, Stringer and his creative team bring this rigorous planning, enthusiasm, and joy of discovery to the comfortably glamorous homes they create.

Widely lauded and published, Stringer recently released his first book, An Adventurous Life: Global Interiors by Tom Stringer, a compendium of his world travels, personal photography and observations intermingled with over half a dozen of his most unique projects. He anticipates bringing his global sensibility to original product design, expecting to debut integrated collections of furniture, fabric, and accessories in 2019.

Stringer served as Design Director for Chicago firm Branca, Inc. before forming Tom Stringer Design Partners in 1995. Inducted into the Merchandise Mart Hall of Fame for Interior Design in 2015, Stringer and his team are headquartered on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

Stringer joined the Northlight Board of Trustees in 2008, and served as Chair of the Board of Trustees from 2015-2018.