Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Magical party conjures up cash for Playhouse


By Jim Knippenberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Well sure, Abracadabra the show is all about magic. But Abracadabra the gala, well, that's about a lot of things - glitz, good food, a circus atmosphere outside the theater.

Friday's 13th annual gala was cocktails under a tent on the lawn, followed by the show, dinner and dancing back in the tent. And yeah, despite the heat, people really did dance.

Big crowd, too - 530, all dressed in what the invitation called "coat & tie/summer friendly."

Cocktail hour is where the circus atmosphere comes in - fire eaters, stilt walkers, snake handlers and roving magicians wander among the slightly overheated crowd.

After the gaggle of magicians doing their show - "some of the strangest people we've ever had on this stage," producing artistic director Ed Stern said - it was dinner in the Playhouse's lobbies with more roving magicians. You know they were good magicians because nobody seemed to mind putting the forks down to play along before heading back to the tent for dancing - and finally shedding jackets.

The event raised about $100,000 to be used for educational outreach at the Playhouse "where we perform magic 365 days a year," Stern said.


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