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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


The Staller Center’s annual Gala offers up Broadway talent

Laura Benanti is currently starring on NBC's "Go On." (LAURA BENANTI)
Laura Benanti is currently starring on NBC’s “Go On.” (LAURA BENANTI)

The time has come again for the Staller Center for the Arts to host its annual Gala. It is the biggest night of the season for Staller, and the talent to be showcased represents this attitude.

This year’s show will feature two Tony Award winners, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Laura Benanti.

The Gala, titled “A Broadway Evening with Brian Stokes Mitchell and Laura Benanti,” will take place on Saturday, March 2 at 8 p.m.

While the evening is specifically a fundraising event that reaches out to the community, students are also highly encouraged to attend. Julie Green, the marketing director for the Staller Center said in an email that the “Staller Center welcomes students and hopes they will attend.”

Staller is backing up its attitude toward student attendance with quantifiable action: ticket prices are being lowered. The standard ticket price for entrance to the Gala is $65. However, students only have to pay $37.50 for a guaranteed seat. Green also said students have the option to wait for student rush tickets for $7, which are available one hour before the show begins. This is not a 100 percent guarantee, however. She said these tickets are “subject to availability-we anticipate that there will be seats available.”

As it is the Gala event, it needs to be worth the money. Green said when picking the artists for the show, “[The] Staller Center does its best to bring in star-power, great artists who appeal to a wide audience.”

This year’s artists certainly do not lack talent or star power. Mitchell won a Tony Award for his Broadway performance in “Kiss Me Kate.” To place him in a context that students may be familiar with, he was one of Rachel’s fathers on the FOX comedy “Glee.”

Laura Benanti appeals to a slightly broader audience, although her musical prowess is not to be ignored. She won her Tony Award for her Broadway performance in “Gypsy.” She also starred on the short lived NBC show “The Playboy Club,” and she currently stars in “Go On,” another NBC comedy, with Matthew Perry.

Previous Gala evenings included 2012’s Bebe Neuwirth, also a Broadway performer, and 2011’s MOMIX dance company.

These types of shows are only possible because of this annual Gala fundraiser, and the MOMIX event is a perfect example of this.

Two years ago, students were actually able to attend MOMIX for free, and the fundraising evening of the same show was held the next night.

This year is no exception to the need to raise money. Those who wish to help fund the Staller Center by purchasing special tickets have the option of doing so for increasing amounts of money that range from $400 to $5,000. These tickets include access to a post-performance reception.

There are other benefits than just the satisfaction of donating money, of course. On the Staller website, it says that, “Amounts in excess of $250 per couple may be claimed as tax deductable to the full extent of the law.”

While students may not be able to afford $400 tickets, $37.50 (or $7 for the more daring students) is a far more plausible target. Staller is clearly attempting to draw students into an evening of Broadway’s musical talent.

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