Wit’s End Theatre will be hosting a special fundraising event during the upcoming production of “Legally Blond” on Saturday, Aug. 2. The group is planning a Pink Ribbon Night to support the fight against breast cancer with a silent auction, live music and refreshments in addition to the stage production that evening at the Chatfield Center for the Arts.
“The Wits’ End Theatre (WET) board is always brainstorming about what we’ll do next,” explained board member Joan Verdegan. “Whether it’s a dinner theater, staged reading, small drama – we’re always kicking around ideas and are only limited by our energy level.”
When the very “pink” motif of the show, “Legally Blonde,” came up, Verdegan said the discussion turned to another famously pink cause: the Pink Ribbon Campaign to fight breast cancer.
“We’ve enjoyed much community support over the last 11 years and thought perhaps we could pay it forward with a modest awareness event or fundraiser,” she added.
WET’s Pink Ribbon Night is slated for Saturday, Aug. 2, at 6 p.m. at the Chatfield Center for the Arts, 405 S. Main, Chatfield.
WET is producing “Legally Blonde” as its Western Days production, and though the script doesn’t include anything about cancer, the “pink” theme carries through in almost everything main character Elle Woods wears or owns.
Since WET board members are attuned to the Pink Ribbon Campaign for personal reasons, the idea of hosting Pink Ribbon Night – featuring music, refreshments, a silent auction and live music — was fitting.
Verdegan explained, “One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Our Wits’ End board has an unusually high incidence of breast cancer among our families. This made the cause personal for many of us.”
The evening’s proceeds will benefit the Susan G. Komen-Minnesota Foundation, as the WET board wished to make it clear that the funds will be sent to a reputable research organization.
Jeanette Eike, from Susan G. Komen-Minnesota, will come from the Twin Cities to share information on breast cancer research and prevention at the event.
Verdegan stated she hopes numerous people will support the event and give as they are moved to do so.
“I hope people will think of it as a chance to socialize with friends and neighbors, enjoy some refreshments, and have fun bidding at the silent auction,” she said. “Cancer is a distressing topic and it would be easy to be turned off by the idea of an event dedicated to it. However, there is an empowering side to being informed and fighting back.”
A pink ribbon collage will be created to honor those who have battled the disease. There will be pink luminarias that guests can sponsor, which will be outside at the end of the night.
“A volunteer from Susan G. Komen-Minnesota will be at an information table with the most current material, and of course the silent auction will be the anchor of the evening,” Verdegan said.
The silent auction is brimming with wonderful donations from area individuals and businesses.
“Auction lots include gift certificates from the Chatfield Lion’s Club, City Café, Subway, Olive Garden and Kwik Trip,” Verdegan said. “There are items and baskets coming from the Presbyterian church, Trader Joe’s, Hillside Nursery, Women of the Valley and Wits’ End Theatre.”
There will also be gifts donated by individuals, including a quilt and an afghan, a lottery card wreath, glass birdbath, a chocolate lover’s basket and a game night basket.
Also, she said those attending can bid on artworks from local artists and handcrafted items such as notecards, tote bags, beaded ornaments and Ukranian eggs.
“We have other baskets coming in, so we’ll have some surprises at the auction,” she said. “We expect between 30 and 40 auction lots. A remarkable donation was made by Rockwood Retaining Walls — an iron-lined stone fire pit, delivered to your home! Pictures of the fire pit will be at the auction.”
Donations to the silent auction are still gratefully accepted and may be brought to the Chatfield Center for the Arts box office between 4 and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and between 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday. For more information, contact Verdegan at (507) 867-4908 or e-mail her at jodabbler@aol.com.
In addition to the silent auction, the event will have live music to provide a pleasant ambiance for the event.
“It will be more ‘mood music’ than performance,” Verdegan noted. “We expect people to talk and snack throughout – there will be light refreshments of cookies and punch, and the Chatfield Center for the Arts will have wine, beer and other snacks for purchase.”
Since the event is scheduled for before the evening’s performance of “Legally Blonde,” the theater board invited anyone who plans on attending the show to stop in.
“People who are attending that evening’s production of ‘Legally Blonde’ are encouraged to come early to enjoy the Pink Ribbon Night too,” Verdegan urged. “The silent auction will close at 7:25 p.m., giving ticketholders time to place bids and still get to the show. Auction winners attending the show can collect their items at intermission or after the show. People attending just the benefit can take their auction items as soon as they’re processed and paid for.”
Verdegan expressed her appreciation to the organizations and businesses that have helped make WET’s Pink Ribbon Night a reality.
“We are grateful to Root River State Bank and First State Bank of Fountain, Chosen Valley Testing and Music Theater International for donations and sponsorship of this event,” she said. “I would especially like to thank the Women of the Valley for their assistance running the event, and we are grateful to the Chatfield Center for the Arts for their generosity with their facility and assistance with the event.”
Verdegan said it’s a hard job asking for donations, with maybe one of 10 coming through
“Yet some people and businesses are so generous and pleasant about the process, it really restores one’s faith in people,” she concluded. “I hope people feel glad to have attended and realize that each donation or auction purchase is making a difference.”