First Stage's 18thannual Make Believe Ball was held Saturday, February 11, 2012, from 5:30 – 10:30 p.m. in the Crystal Ballroom at Hilton Milwaukee City Center, located at 509 W. Wisconsin Ave in downtown Milwaukee.
This annual black-tie, family-friendly event – themed around First Stage's upcoming production of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY – featured a formal dinner, voice and silent auction, children's entertainment, and music and dancing throughout the evening.
This annual black-tie, family-friendly event is an opportunity for the community to provide valuable financial support for First Stage. This year, 377 guests attended the Ball, raising more than $106,000. This year's silent auction raised over $20,000 and contained over 175 items – including one-of-a-kind experiences for families, special toys for children, and treats for parents. This year's voice auction – facilitated by Believe in Auctions, LLC – raised over $13,000, with items including viewing passes for the 2012 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade; Green Bay Packers tickets; a fly-fishing expedition; a vacation to Breckenridge, Colorado; tickets to the 2012 Ryder Cup in Chicago; a behind-the-scenes tour of the Milwaukee County Zoo; and the opportunity for a young person to serve as a Milwaukee Bucks Team Attendant for a 2012-2013 game.
The auction was chaired by Libby Baranko and Tammy Fricker, both of Mequon. All proceeds from this event support First Stage's mission of transforming lives through theater.
Corporate sponsors of this year's Make Believe Ball are: Briggs & Stratton Corporation, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, PNC, Baker Tilly, Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, BMO Harris Bank, Godfrey & Kahn, and Michael Best & Friedrich LLP.
Members of the 2012 Make Believe Ball committee were: Amy Arzbaecher (Brookfield), Katerina Brickman (Fox Point), Amy Goldstein (Milwaukee), Kristyn Harrell (Mequon), Jaime Levine (Mequon), Liza Perry (Milwaukee), Wendy Petzold (Mequon), Jan Schmeling (Brookfield), Jennifer Slator (Milwaukee), Ellen Venable (Mequon), Joy Vertz (Milwaukee), Rachel Weinberg (Mequon), Alexis Weltman (Milwaukee), Lisa Wright (Mequon).