Granada’s Backstage Party Is Grand Fun

Donors Get Full Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Lisa Reich, Bob Johnson, Meg Burnham, and Board Chair Dan Burnham.
Gail Arnold

Having already established that it can throw a fabulous party at its Legends Gala last Fall, the Granada Theatre on Valentines Day once again hosted a delightful affair, this time a Backstage Progressive Party for about 80 donors. Guests strolled at their leisure backstage, onstage, below stage, and above-stage and learned about the theatrical process along the way.

Upon entering through the Stage Door, guests were greeted on the romantic, dimly-lit stage with champagne and hot hors d’hoevres while Debbie Denke played on the Steinway grand piano. Stage Coordinator Paul Kaessinger was on hand giving a 4K digital cinema demonstration and Audio Department Head Jon Fowler offered an interesting audio system demonstration.

Guests strolled up into an opera box for a photo op and stopped for a lighting demonstration on the way. Those not afraid of heights rode the elevator 30 feet up to the gallery/catwalk where Director of Operations David Johnson explained the elaborate rigging system, which includes 58 pipes running the width of the stage, each capable of bearing 1,500 pounds of draperies, screens, or other scenery or lighting.

Below stage, there was a plethora of intriguing spaces for donors to explore. State Street Ballet dancers were warming up in, appropriately, the “Warm-Up Room.” Gilberto Gonzales played enchanting flamenco guitar music in the Musicians Staging Area, where another bounteous assortment of hors d’oeuvres and beverages were offered.

Wardrobe Department Head Lauda Swan greeted guests in the Wardrobe Room and shared some trade secrets, like the best odor remover is a 50/50 solution of vodka and water, and that the cheaper the vodka, the better. For make-up and other stains, she swears by baby wipes.

Guests could check out the dressing rooms and make-up rooms, and participate in a video production with the Granada Theatre Video Workshop.

Board chair Dan Burnham and his wife Meg were on hand, along with Executive Director Craig Springer and his wife Kirsten, Vice President of Advancement Hayley Firestone Jessup, and the principal architect for the renovation, Roger Phillips. The evening was billed as “Love Your Theater,” and if any of these donors didn’t already, they certainly loved their theater after this wonderful affair.

For more information about the Granada Theatre, including how to become a donor, go to granadasb.org.

Send event invites to Gail at society@independent.com.

State Street Ballet Dancers demonstrate warming up in the Granada basement: (L-R) Marika Kobayashi, Emma Nelson, and Leila Drake.
Gail Arnold
One of the make-up rooms in the basement.
Gail Arnold
Sandy Schoolfield, her husband Jon Kechejian, past Board Chair Susan Gulbransen, and Karen Rager, Director of Administration and Finance, Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts.
Gail Arnold
Roger Phillips, principal architect for the renovation with audio engineer Jon Fowler.
Gail Arnold
Kirsten Springer, Wardrobe Department Head Lauda Swan, and Pat Gregory in the Wardrobe Suite in the basement.
Gail Arnold
Dana White, Gisele McDermott, and Brian McDermott.
Gail Arnold
Shelley Coldren, Larry Coldren, and Diana Phillips.
Gail Arnold
Lisa Reich, Bob Johnson, Meg Burnham, and Board Chair Dan Burnham.
Gail Arnold

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