Broadway Party -13yr- Show Table Themes
Taryn in Richmond, Virginia, USA
This party was a gala event for the all-important thirteenth birthday. The birthday boy, Adam, was a great lover of all things New York, but especially Broadway. It was (and still is) his life's ambition to be up on those famed stages one day. So for his entrance into teenhood I planned a Broadway-themed extravaganza for close to a hundred guests.
INVITATION: Using an actual playbill as a template and a computer photo manipulation program, we created invitations that featured Adam's picture made into a sketch that resembled a play poster and the announcement of his birthday as the title of the play" putting all of the information about the party inside the "playbill" under the usual subheadings such as "Setting" for the venue "Main Character" for Adam etc. Each also included realistic-looking tickets that had the guest's name on it that they would bring for "admittance".
DECORATIONS: The party was held in the ballrooms of a hotel. We used the entire area including the corridors and lobbies leading to the rooms to create the "mood" of the party. Utilizing a local theater group and some talented family members I created the New York skyline out of plywood pieces that were set on either side of the entrance hallway. Benches potted trees metal trash cans prop mailboxes and street signs along with actors that played citizens completed the look of walking down a New York sidewalk. The first smaller ballroom became Times Square with enlarged photographs of Adam and his friends made into advertisements and lighting used to create the feeling of cars stores and newsfeeds.
A large "Broadway" sign led them to the second larger ballroom. This room was elaborately appointed in the theme. Banquet tables were placed together to create several long tables to accommodate all of the guests. Each table had a theme of a well-known play: Phantom of the Opera, Grease, Hairspray, Rent, and Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. The entire table including placecards, favors, place settings, and centerpieces fit in with that table's theme. The guests found their play on the ticket included with their invitation. Adam had his own table on a small platform at the head of the room. His chair was draped in velvet to resemble a theater seat. Buffet tables along one wall were made to look like high-end concession stands and another created a bar featuring non-alcoholic versions of classic drinks. The entire room was pulled together with lighting and a dance floor that was roped off with the familiar red velvet ropes.
ACTIVITIES: Adam's birthday party included the usual activities for this age group: eating dancing and socializing. The DJ included songs from each of the featured plays and members of the theater group were on hand to teach dances modified from choreography used in the original plays or encourage participation such as when the song "Le Vie Boheme" from Rent was played the guests were divided up and encouraged to recreate the scene or as in the case of the "Hand Jive" from Grease. Cards placed on each table featuring facts about the plays encouraged conversation and a combination of buffet and served foods kept the kids mingling. In the Times Square ballroom guests could linger on rented lounge furniture take pictures and collect custom-made postcards.
COSTUMES: Each person's costume was carefully chosen to continue the Broadway theme. Waiters that took away plates and refilled drinks after bringing around appetizers were dressed like ushers the DJ was dressed like a conductor and Adam wore a tuxedo with top hat cane and cape.
PARTY SNACKS: At the beginning of the party waiters brought around platters of appetizers including mini hamburgers and plastic shot glasses of milkshake mini apple pies crackers with mushroom pate gourmet popcorn in paper cones mini ham and cheese quiches and tiny martini glasses with layered dip and garnished with pita chips. In the middle of the party a buffet dinner was served featuring some of Adam's favorite foods interpreted into two halves comedy and tragedy which became comparisons such as potatoes with blue cheese on the tragedy table and a diy mashed potato bar on the comedy table.
CAKE: The cake was an impressive confection made to look like a theater. It included a large stage with curtains a fondant actor (that looked like Adam of course) centerstage an orchestra pit and several rows of seats. To make the cake a 360-degree experience the cake also included a backstage and prop room. It was entirely edible and featured three different flavors of cake; chocolate cookies-and-cream and coconut as well as many candy gum paste royal icing and rice treat elements. Tiny LEDs implanted in the cake created a row of lights along the front of the stage and a motorized element drew back the curtains at presentation of the cake. A set of molded chocolate comedy and tragedy masks flanked the "Happy 13th Birthday Adam" message along the front of the stage.
FAVORS: The favors each guest received depended on the table at which they were seated. Along with their name on a themed placecard their favors were a part of their place setting upon entrance into the party. Each table had a themed vessel into which the favors were placed. They were as follows: for Phantom the familiar half-mask held by elastic to a plastic bag filled with the favor and wrapped in iridescent black chiffon for Grease miniature megaphones for the girls and toy T-birds for the boys (their names were written in glitter paint on a pink ladies scarf and black comb respectively) for Hairspray each guest's name was written on a record (we found them at thrift stores) and their favor was in a cardboard "hairspray can" that we created using a computer glue and cardboard tubes for Rent names were printed on candles that were housed in red iridescent chiffon along with the favor and for Joseph names were written on small sacks like those the brothers received their payment in which were filled with the favor. The actual favor itself was vintage candies like those in the 1940's along with a small printed card that said "review" and was a thank you note from Adam. When guests left they found the New York street had turned to night from evening with lights coming on in the buildings couples strolling hand-in-hand and hidden fans creating a cool breeze.
Adam was absolutely thrilled with his party. A couple of weeks after the party guests received personal thank you notes with copies of pictures from that night. All the guests had a blast and the memories will last a lifetime."