Big Money Backs RNC Broadway Fete

The Boathouse in Central Park's terrace was filled with guests at the Broadway in the Park reception for Senator Richard Shelby.

A bevy of financial companies, including Bear Stearns, Ernst & Young, Citigroup, Charles Schwab, and Goldman Sachs, played host to Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and the Alabama delegation to the Republican National Convention. The reception followed the city-sponsored Sunday afternoon blitz of Broadway shows attended by all delegations.

Washington, D.C.-based PR firm Dittus Communications hired Richard Venezio of Events Forum to produce the Broadway-theme event at the Boathouse in Central Park. Coordinated security between the New York Police Department and the International Protective Services Agency (IPSA) was especially tight, given the expectation of protesters in Central Park following the anti-Bush protest earlier that afternoon. Steel barricades surrounded the entrance to the restaurant as stray protestors—and a small contingent from street theater and antiwar group Billionaires for Bush—wandered up to the wrought-iron gate that separated the public from the restaurant's outdoor seating and attempted to talk to party guests. IPSA bomb-sniffing dogs and 20 security agents—some hiding in the bushes—guarded the event.

More than 1,000 guests packed the entire restaurant, inside and out. Buffet food inspired by different Broadway shows—French pastries for Les Misérables, barbecue for Annie Get Your Gun—was in abundance. But cocktails served with light-up ice cubes were the catering coup of the night—a gimmick we've seen at many New York events that really impressed the out-of-towners. (We overheard one guest requesting a drink with several different colored cubes, as well as a demonstration of how to turn them on and off.)

Soul Solution (booked through Total Entertainment) and the Broadway Kids kept guests who weren't schmoozing on the terrace entertained. And Broadway fans could take home photographs of themselves superimposed onto Playbill covers, provided by Image Makers, as a souvenir of the evening.

Suzanne Ito

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