The Telluride Theater Gala Spectacular, held Saturdays at 6 p.m. in Mountain Village, is one of the hottest nights of the summer. And, as is Telluride Theater tradition, it starts as a secret, only revealed once tickets are purchased. If you’re lucky, you may be able to grab the last remaining tickets for this exceptional event.
The twinkling night includes dinner, cocktails, live music, immersive art and, of course, experiential theater. The night is billed as “a summer party to end all parties,” and over the past five years the gala has more than lived up to that reputation. Each year a new theme is chosen and the night unfolds incorporating it into all aspects of the experience. Past themes have been Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, The Trip and Mountaintop Bigtop.
Telluride Theater Artistic Director Sasha Cucciniello and Board Chair Ashley Story have worked together to create the event for the past several years.
“I wanted to do something totally different for 2022 and was inspired by the space we chose,” she said. “This might be the weirdest and funniest gala yet. I’m so excited to share what we’re rehearsing. Ashley and I made this a major fundraiser for the Telluride Theater, but we’re not going to give it a try. “Also love how the truly special event it has become. I treat it like its own show and plan everything to give our audience an incredible evening, a truly immersive theatrical experience.
The secret theme is the launch pad for the overall experience.
“The secret theme allows us to be super creative and fully surprise our guests with a totally different unique experience every year,” Cucciniello said.
For the first time, the event will take place in Mountain Village, thanks to a generous grant from the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association (TMVOA).
“We’ve never done a gala in the town of Mountain Village. I’m so excited to have an accessible space and to work with TMVOA to make it happen,” Cucciniello said. “TMVOA has been so amazing for Telluride Theater in 2022. We received a grant to make the gala possible to offset the rental of the conference center. They also gave us a grant to produce children’s theater in August at the Mountain Village Market in the Plaza.
More than 30 people within the Telluride Theater community are involved in putting on this massive event, from the early planning stages, to performing, to auctioning off select items. The organizers of this year’s auction focused not on things, but on experiences.
“This year we held a smaller, more curated, experiences-focused auction,” Cucciniello said. “We’ve rounded up a few that are so cool and truly once in a lifetime. But most of our fundraising of the night comes from the paddle drive where guests donate to the Telluride Theater mission. Their generosity is what allows us to continue and grow and we are very grateful to our community for their support.
And when it comes to entertainment, well, they’re theater kids. The show, Cucciniello said, incorporates dance, music, performance, visual arts and improvisation.
“The performers at this year’s gala are running the gambit, and we really have a bit of everything sprinkled throughout the night. It’s definitely fun, beautiful, and just the right amount of weird.
The money raised is plowed back into the work of the Telluride Theatre, a theater which, according to the leaders of the non-profit organization, is “your theater – for and by our community”. The Gala’s fundraising muscle has become an important part of the company’s annual budget.
“The Gala has become the Telluride Theatre’s biggest fundraiser,” Cucciniello said. “The success of this event allows us to continue the work we do within our community. Telluride Theater is home to more than 100 local artists, offers an educational program that provides learning experiences for children and adults throughout the year, and produces six stage shows and countless other events throughout the year. year, many of them in collaboration with other non-profit organizations and businesses.
At press time on Tuesday, there were still a handful of tickets available for the gala. Enter the secret at telluridetheatre.org.