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Bay Street Theatre’s Summer Bash A Groovy Good Time

Originally Posted: July 21, 2009

Christy Smith

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Bay Street Theatre 'Sailed Back to The 1960s' At Annual Summer Gala Bash held on Saturday, July 18 in Sag Harbor. Photos by Christy Smith and provided by Bay Street Theatre

Sag Harbor - Bay Street Theatre's 2009 Summer Gala Benefit Bash lit up the Long Wharf in Sag Harbor this past Saturday evening, treating guests to a celebration of the 1960s from start to finish, providing a groovy good time.

Lesley Gore entertained guests at Saturday's gala benefit.

As guests entered the tent, which sparkled with a truly mod décor, designed by Bay Street's Gary Hygom, they enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and cocktails including a martini bar from Jewel of Russia, authentic Russian Vodka and a sit-down dinner with a 1960s style menu catered by Sterling Affair, complete with a dessert bar that included locally made ice cream provided by Joe & Liza of Bay Burger in Sag Harbor.

The evening's entertainment provided a flashback to the 1960s with a dance medley performed by go-go dancers outfitted in 1960s attire by lisa perry, a tribute to Janis Joplin sung by Denice Given, a medley from "Hair" sung by Max von Essen and Matt Walton (original leads in Bay Street's production of "Hair") and culminated with a performance by the one and only Lesley Gore who sang her smash hits "It's My Party" and "You Don't Own Me" to a crowd that cheered and sang along as they were transported back in time.

The Silent and Live Auction, with guest Auctioneer Stanley Zareff, offered items that truly were a fantasy with highlights including tickets to the Live Season Finale for the 2010 "American Idol" in LA, won by Pat Malloy, tickets to the Opening night of "The Addams Family-A New Musical," and a walk-on in the hit FX series "Damages" both won by Donna and Dick Soloway and Lunch for 10 with Mercedes Ruehl aboard the 75-foot classic yacht, "America," won by Rainer Kirchgaessner. The evening capped off with guests dancing to the beat of the Denice Given Band.

Go-Go dancers swing into action.

"Special thanks go out to all those who supported this important fundraiser for Bay Street", said Managing Director Julie Fitzgerald. "In these difficult economic times we are truly grateful to our sponsors, our auction donors and to all those who took part in the evening."

The billowy, white tent just about covered the entire 300-foot length of Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. The pier normally serves as a summer home to luxury yachts and amateur fishermen, but on Saturday, July 18, the normally sedate wharf morphed into a groovy scene overflowing with go-go dancers, hippies, mile high bee hived hairdos, fringed jackets, head bands embedded with peace signs, platform shoes, go-go boots and multi-colored strobe lights, when it hosted the Bay Street Theatre Summer Gala's 1960s themed Benefit Bash, with special guest, 1960s pop singer Lesley Gore.

"We were thrilled with the turnout. It exceeded our expectations," said Bay Street Theatre General Manager, Tracy Mitchell. "We are so fortunate to have so much support from the local community and our board members. We feel so loved!"

Eli Wallach and guest enjoy the evening.

Eli Wallach and his wife Ann, "Gilligan's Island" alum Tina Louise, playwright Joe Pintauro, Broadway producer Wendy Fenderman, Marty Richards, Kate Burton, Stephen Flaherty, Lisa Perry, Stuart Lane, Bruce Davis, Frank Bolton, Suffolk County executive Steve Levy, Ben Zwirn, Christine Wachter-Campbell, Sophia Hall, Angela Lagreca and Robert Zimmerman were just a few of the many guests that let the love sun shine in at the bash, graciously forking over $500 a seat at the largest fundraiser of the year for Bay Street, a not-for-profit cultural arts organization, now in its 18th season in Sag Harbor.

"With ticket sales accounting for only 50 percent of our operating costs we count on the Gala to help us sustain our programming," said Managing Director Julie Fitzgerald.

"I started out in theater and I go as often as I can," said award winning actor Eli Wallach. "It feels good to support a theater company. But you said you were with Hamptons.com. What's a dot com?"

After an abridged explanation, he shrugged his shoulders and headed back to his seat at his table.

Thanks to event sponsor Sterling Affair Caterers guests dined on Shrimp cocktail, beef Wellington, chicken roulade, truffled macaroni and cheese, seasonal cobblers and chocolate covered bananas and strawberries. "We were happy to help out. It's a great cause," said Sterling Affair Caterer general manager, Ari Starkman. "Everyone should have some theatrics in their life."

View of tent from bridge leading in to Sag Harbor where the gala was held on the pier.

Three bee hived go-go dancers aptly dressed in brightly colored miniskirts kicked off the evening's entertainment with a 1960s dance medley that included spot on renditions of the swim, the twist, the watusi and the mashed potato to the groovy tunes of "These Boots Are Made For Walking," and "Rolling On The River," as well as an assortment of 1960s tunes from the Denice Given Band.

There were also performances from the musicals "Dames At Sea" and "Hair" but the highlight of the evening was when 1960s singing sensation Lesley Gore, smartly dressed in a fuchsia pantsuit and white jacket, took the stage and belted out upbeat versions of her the two biggest hits "It's My Party," and "You Don't Own Me."

Go-go dancers kept the crowd in the mood.

Many guests sang along to the 60s' anthems, while dancing couples spilled outside of the tent along the wharf's walkway doing spirited versions of the watusi and the swim.

Gore chose not to sing an encore, but received a well -deserved standing ovation after the heartfelt 10-minute set. "My affiliation with this theater goes back to the very beginning," said Gore. "I'm close friends with a few people who are affiliated with the company. They're doing some really good stuff and I want to support them any way I can."

The non-for profit event has emerged as the East End's most dynamic, theatrical fundraiser of the summer, but what do you expect, they are, after all, theater people.

Nathan Lane, Bebe Newirth, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vera Wang and Joe Pintauro were a handful of Bay Street Theatre supporters who lent a hand by donating items for the auction. Other sponsors for Bay Street's 2009 Summer Gala included Bay Burger Restaurant, Bridgehampton Florist, Channing Daughters Winery, Dan's Papers, Hamptons.com, Jewel of Russia Vodka, Party Rentals, lisa perry, Searles Graphics, Southampton Publick House, Sterling Affair Caterers and Suffolk County National Bank.

Funds raised from the Gala will support Bay Street's year-round offerings including the Summer Mainstage productions, the Comedy Club, Bay Street at The Parrish Art Museum programs, KidStreet, the Picture Show Classic Film Series as well as Educational Outreach Initiatives including Literature Live!, Summer College Internships, Theatre Camps for Kids and the Young Playwrights Program.
Bay Street Theatre is a not-for-profit 299-seat professional theatre situated on the Long Wharf, in Sag Harbor, New York. Founded in 1991, Bay Street Theatre is dedicated to presenting new, classic and contemporary works of the highest professional quality, which challenge as well as entertain, speak to our diverse community and champion the human spirit.


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Guest (K Bifulco) from Greenport says::
Great job - loved the colors - an era I lived thru so I have to say where were the 'go-go' boots??? and the geometric earrings? - and let's not forget the beautiful Sassoon angled haircuts with bangs!
Jul 22, 2009 8:34 am


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