Soccer stars, stilt walkers, singing radio reporters, and the worst girlfriend in the world. They were all part of the magical evening that was Bill’s Bash on Monday, May 6, and it was a smashing success.
Bill’s Bash is Seattle Shakespeare Company’s annual auction event to support the theatre’s many programs in town and across the state. More than 300 fans gathered on one of Seattle’s most beautiful (and warmest!) spring days to laugh with their friends, bid on some amazing auction items, eat great food provided by Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes, and raise over $200K for Seattle Shakespeare Company.
The Cornish Playhouse was like spring itself decorated in bright sunny yellow and sky blue. As patrons checked in for the event in the courtyard they were greeted by stilt walker Mickey Rowe and could have their photo taken on the red carpet by photographer and actor John Ulman.
Auctioneer David Silverman got bidding off to a rousing start at the live auction portion of the evening, sometimes pitting family member against family member to bid on the same item.
“My family lived on a shoestring budget,” said actress and director Kelly Kitchens as she told a heartfelt and inspiring story about her resourceful mother who introduced her Shakespeare as a young girl through free performances in Texas. “I wasn’t old enough to understand everything that was being said, but I was old enough to understand that there was something magic happening in that park and on that stage.” Kelly’s story moved enough patrons to pledge more than $100,000 during the raise-the-paddle portion of the evening.
After all of the live auction items were finally claimed by high bidders, Artistic Director George Mount introduced the Shakespeare-themed cabaret. Holly Figueroa O’Reilly launched the entertainment with an original song with lyrics from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Sports writer Steve Kelly bantered back and forth with Sounder’s soccer star Roger Levesque back and forth in a scene from The Taming of the Shrew.
KUOW reporters Guy Nelson and Lisa Brooks displayed a side radio listeners rarely get to witness or hear – they led the crowd in Shakespeare themed songs! And members of the cast of Almost Live melded their characters from the Worst Girlfriend in the World skits with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to hilarious effect. The entertainment wrapped up with artists from Seattle Shakespeare Company’s productions reminding us, with wit and wisdom, why Shakespeare matters every day with a group recitation of “You’re Quoting Shakespeare.”
Smiling, laughing and overjoyed, patron’s streamed out into the balmy evening knowing that they had contributed to Seattle Shakespeare Company’s most successful Bill’s Bash event to date.