By Ashley May Coussens, Secretary of the Auditorium Theatre Junior Board
As I hurried up to the Auditorium Theatre in my favorite heels on September 28, 2012, I was amazed by the throng of people – all dressed to the nines – crowding the front doors and eagerly holding their tickets to The Devil’s Ball. Even though it was my second year being on the hosting Junior Board, and even though I, as a member of the Event Planning Committee, knew exactly what was in store, I couldn’t help but feel delighted when I was handed a glass of sparkling champagne as I walked through the threshold to the vast room before me. I felt like royalty as I took in the elegant charm of the theatre lobby, alive in all the glory of its 1889 splendor. It truly did feel like a night in “Old Chicago,” although there was a distinct atmosphere filled with the energy of a new generation of art-lovers, not to mention part-lovers, too! Hundreds of people filled the room with excitement – flooding the silent auction tables, buying as many wine raffle corks as they could carry in their clutch purses, tearing it up on the dance floor with the awesome DJ, making crazy faces with the funny accessories at the Smilebooth, enjoying the delectable hors d’oeuvres buffet, and – of course – drinking to their hearts’ content. For all in attendance, it was an unforgettable night!

As I look forward to another fun-filled event this fall, I know that this year’s Devil’s Ball, sponsored by Rivers Casino, promises to be even better! One of the things I’m most excited for every year is the historical theatre tour. Sure, there are some great parties in this city, but how many of them are held in a National Historic Landmark as breathtakingly beautiful and historically rich as this? Full of intricately crafted architecture, the Auditorium was originally designed as an opera house but has been utilized for just about every type of event you could think of – ballets, classical music concerts, rock concerts, shows by famous comedians… At one point it was even used as a bowling alley! Who would have thought?! With 124 years of fascinating history in one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the world, there are plenty of interesting new tidbits to learn at The Devil’s Ball each year.  This year, the tours have an added layer of discovery – in addition to the traditional guided tours, guests will receive a map of all of the most fascinating areas of the theatre and have the opportunity to explore on their own the areas that interest them most! For me, even just standing on the stage as the performers do and looking out into the expansive and awe-inspiring house with all of its grandiose balconies is exhilarating.

A variety of other new and exciting features will add to event this year. We’ll have tequila tastings and specialty cocktails, and Uber will be giving out free cab rides to lucky attendees. This year our silent auction will build even more suspense by going digital with Auctions by Cellular, allowing people to bid remotely and always keep an eye on that item they want, no matter where they are at the party. We’ll even have “personal shoppers” to help those who aren’t the most tech savvy, and they’ll be there to make sure you can still bid even if your phone dies. Some highlights of the packages we’ll be bidding on: Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bears, Chicago White Sox, Northwestern Football, Notre Dame Football, Broadway in Chicago, The Lyric Opera, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Second City, Blue Man Group, performances by some of Chicago’s top dance companies, cooking lessons, wine tastings, salon services… and so much more!
Every year I get more excited for The Devil’s Ball – because a night in “Old Chicago” never gets old! Partying with the best of Chicago, all while knowing that you’re helping a great cause by supporting the Auditorium‘s educational programs, architectural restoration, and world-class artistic performances – does it get any better than that? With the event less than a week away, be sure to mark your calendar for September 27, 2013, and get your ticket today.  Check out see photos from last year’s Smilebooth and hear why so many people keep coming back! Don’t miss the event of the season – even Chicago Magazine agrees that it’s “a devil of a time.”Can’t wait to see you there!

Ashley May Coussens
Secretary of the Auditorium Theatre Junior Board