First Stage
Press Release

First Stage Breaks Fundraising Record at Tenth Annual Wine Tasting & Dinner Event

Funds raised through this event support First Stage’s mission of transforming lives through theater.

By - Nov 18th, 2019 12:16 pm

Milwaukee, WI – November 18, 2019 – On Saturday, November 2, 2019, First Stage hosted its Tenth Anniversary Wine Tasting & Dinner, where 132 guests experienced ten years of food and wine excellence by Chef David Magnasco at the University Club of Milwaukee – Country Club.

The event began with an exclusive wine tasting, silent auction and raffle followed by a five-course dinner paired with selected wines. Event co-chair, Kathleen Dohearty Penniston led the event’s special anniversary live auction and First Stage students helped Artistic Director Jeff Frank exceed the goal of raising $10,000 during the appeal. Funds raised through this event support First Stage’s mission of transforming lives through theater.

In total, the event raised a record $105,000, which benefits First Stage’s professional theater productions, Theater Academy programming and Theater in Education programs. The event has raised more than $645,000 over its ten-year history.

Development Director Nancy Clarkin shared the importance of this event and the crucial role it plays in fulfilling First Stage’s mission: “Our Wine Tasting & Dinner is First Stage’s singular adults-only event where business leaders and parents alike enjoy a unique and intimate evening to support our mission. The proceeds from this annual event help First Stage keep our ticket prices low, underwrite our arts integration programming in City of Milwaukee schools, and provide need-based scholarships so tuition never stands in the way of a young person attending our Theater Academy.”

The Premier Sponsor for the event was Johnson Controls. Table Sponsors included: Amy and Bob Arzbaecher, Associated Bank, The Chef’s Table, Patrick Horne – CLU, ChFC, CASL, CLTC MGIC, Melissa and Eric Nelsen, Donna and Joel Nettesheim and Kathleen Dohearty Penniston and Scott Penniston.

The 2019 Co-Chairs of the event were Kathleen Dohearty Penniston and Scott Penniston. The Committee included Bob Arzbaecher, Secily Clason, Dave Greco, David Magnasco, Melissa Nelsen, Corrie Prunuske, Kristin Severson, Marcy Stanczyk and Gail Teigeiro.

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