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With a theme of “Celebrating Courage,” the Ford's Theatre Society Annual Gala mixed musical performances with tributes to luminaries such as Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel and actor Morgan Freeman.
Sunday's performance and dinner gala was the culmination of events over the weekend that included a V.I.P. reception that President Barack Obama hosted in the White House. About 550 people attended the events, which raised $1.5 million, according to Ford’s Theatre director of development Michelle Keegan.
Freeman and Wiesel were awarded the Lincoln Medal, and Freeman also gave a tribute to the Tuskeegee Airmen. The program focused on telling American stories starting with the Revolutionary War. Keegan said the theater worked with performers such as Glee star Matthew Morrison and R&B icon Bettye LaVette to choose music that fit with the program's theme.
Afterwards, guests went to the National Portrait Gallery for dinner and more entertainment. With a seated buffet dinner, presenting food that looked good was just as important as food that tasted good, she said. Design Cuisine Caterers' menu included dishes such as Tuscan grilled beef with roasted cipollini onions and balsamic demiglace sauce, hickory barbecued salmon, an asparagus Parmesan tart, and spring pea risotto. A strolling orchestra, Crystal Strings from Sterling Artists, roved throughout the space playing music.
General Dynamics was the gala's primary underwriter with additional sponsorship from ABC and Gloria Dittus of Story Partners.