Washington Theater Awards Manage 1,500 Simultaneous Arrivals
Known to the theater community as the "drama prom," the Helen Hayes Awards Ovation Gala took over the JW Marriott Hotel on Monday (the night theaters are dark) for an evening of drinks and dancing. The party directly followed the 26th annual Helen Hayes Awards at the Warner Theatre, which honored the work of local theater companies.
“The [event] is not just a great celebration, it’s this wonderful amalgamation of different groups of people, from artists to people in business, politicians, audience members, and theater supporters,” said Linda Levy Grossman, president and C.E.O. of the Helen Hayes Awards.
The event, which has been held at the Warner and Marriott since 2005, includes two separate parties: a pre-show Chairman’s Reception for 500 guests and the Ovation Gala, which all award ceremony ticket holders are invited to attend.
Awards producer Craig Smith, who is new to the event this year, had to tackle one of the evening's biggest challenges: All 1,500 guests arrived simultaneously. Smith worked with Marriott staffers to ensure that check-in flowed smoothly
Once inside the Marriott’s two ballrooms, guests sampled bagels and blintzes from the breakfast buffets or desserts from a milk and cookie station spotlighting the Washington Theatre Legacy Project’s theater education program for D.C. public schools. Despite it being a Monday, guests stuck around till 2 a.m., dancing to prom staples like “Stayin’ Alive” and “That's the Way (I Like It)” from Glenn Pearson Productions' DJ Tanz.
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