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Emmy Preview: TV Academy Reveals Governors Ball's Futuristic Enchanted Forest

A month ahead of the largest sit-down dinner in the United States, a preview provided a look inside the decor, flowers, and menu for the Emmy awards' splashy Governors Ball.

By Alesandra Dubin August 22, 2013, 5:26 PM EDT

Stylized trees and a canopy of fake foliage will form the enchanted forest-theme design at the Emmy Governors Ball and Creative Arts Ball.

Rendering: Courtesy of Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

The 65th annual Primetime Emmy celebrations are still a month away, but a Thursday-morning press preview at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre offered the first look at the Governors Ball. Always imaginative and over-the-top, this year's theme will bring to life an enchanted forest— but it's probably not what you're thinking.

“I don't think the event world has seen anything like this,” said Sequoia Productions' Cheryl Cecchetto, who is producing the ball for the 16th year. “It's not just green leaves [as you might expect from the theme], but it's 20,000 square feet of design, all using [surprising] items you wouldn't think, like PVC pipe, silk string, plastic tubes, and plexi. This really belongs in MOCA afterward.”

Expect stylized trees and an expansive canopy of faux, futuristic foliage hanging overhead as 3,800 guests dine at the September 22 event at the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center, billed as the largest sit-down dinner in the United States. The same look and feel will also greet about 3,000 guests at the Emmy Creative Arts Ball one week earlier.

As to the event's inspiration, the Television Academy's Governors Ball committee chair Russ Patrick said in a statement, “We always wonder how we can match or top last year's effort, and we think the visual impact this year will be very impressive.” He said that Joe Stewart, the Governors Ball chair emeritus, came across an art installation in Washington, D.C., by British designer Tom Price, for which Price created a grove of cherry trees out of plastic tubes. “This led to the idea of an enchanted forest featuring abstract, stylized trees,” Patrick said.

Each of the 400 tables at the Governors Ball will have its own distinctive look with a dramatic flower arrangement from La Premier. Silver manzanita branches, calla lilies, roses, and orchids will round out the look. The ballroom will continually change colors thanks to Images by Lighting.

Giant 36-foot-high panels of black star field drapery will surround the space, outfitted with tiny LED lights, each manually sewn in. A 60-foot-wide elevated dance floor will be the centerpiece of the room for the evening's entertainment. A second 60-foot-wide stage will showcase a dozen dancers silhouetted behind a forest backdrop. Artists like Jessica Mauboy, the Red Hot Band (a huge hit last year), and Bella Electric Strings are among the performers.

Ever heard the expression about a lot of cooks in the kitchen? Try Patina Catering's 215, preparing the menu that will include a starter of Little Gem lettuce salad, a main of filet mignon, and a dessert of Caramelia Namelaka. Beaulieu Vineyard and Grey Goose will pour their bottles, with three ice bars from the vodka brand and a wine bar from BV in the center of the ballroom.

The event will continue its focus on sustainability with scores of details like some live plants versus cut flowers in La Premier's arrangements, biodegradable and reusable food storage items from Classic Party Rentals, and solar energy from the convention center.

As for the big winners on Emmy night, they'll once again visit the event's “Emmy Winner's Circle” and have their statuettes personalized right on the spot. How's that for an only-in-L.A. event detail?

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