BOSTON The Park Plaza Castle went from raw space to magic-carpet ride Saturday night, as Mass General Hospital for Children returned to the venue for its 11th annual Storybook Ball after a one-year hiatus, and brought with it an over-the-top Aladdin theme.
More than 450 guests entered the castle to an Arabian bazaar—designed by Rafanelli Events creative director Billy Evers—where attention to detail was apparent, from the bold-colored linens, to servers wearing fezzes and carrying Middle Eastern-themed hors d'oeuvres from Max Ultimate Food.
“For a space like this, you have to go with scale for impact,” said Evers. “Little jewels on the table aren’t going to have the same impact as huge, real palm trees on the edge of the dance floor. Rather than do florals everywhere, we created effects with scale—like huge palm trees.” Evers and his team also created the illusion of a dropped ceiling by draping hot pink and orange fabric panels about 30 feet from the actual ceiling. To further solidify the spice-market vibe, rows of globe lights and five-foot iron lanterns filled with candles accented the ceiling.
“I try to create this balance between being respectful of the story and taking its essence to create a mood, but with a modern layer to it,” said Evers. That dichotomy of classic and modern was executed through kaleidoscopelike designs animated on screens flanking the stage in front of the dance floor, serving as backdrops for Mass General branding. Yet another example was seen in the photo booth, provided by Michael Blanchard Photography, where hand-painted slides in mosaic patterns were used as backgrounds for guests’ photos, which were then shown on the screens alongside the stage.
The cocktail hour gave guests a chance to try specialty drinks with names like the Magic Lamp, Prince Ali, and Rosie Dream, and games sponsored by—and with prizes from—Sports Club/LA, Jonathan Adler, Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, and others. Following a three-course dinner by Max Ultimate Food, guests heard from a former MGH for Children patient about the treatment that saved her life. Next up was Boston funnyman Lenny Clarke, who donned a gold turban to play auctioneer. Guests then took to the dance floor for the remainder of the evening.