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Steppenwolf in Red or White

Emcee Peggy Kusinski Chicago Heart Ball co-chair Tom Wiffler. | Bill Richert photo

Emcee Peggy Kusinski and Chicago Heart Ball co-chair Tom Wiffler. | Bill Richert photo

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Updated: May 18, 2012 9:50AM

Steppenwolf Theatre’s Auxiliary Board welcomed more than 450 young professionals to its annual Red or White Ball, held Friday night to raise funds for the theater’s educational programs. Guests made their way to the off-the-beaten-path North Side venue Architectural Artifacts, 4325 N. Ravenswood, for an evening of cocktails, dancing and top-of-the-line people watching.

Kathryn Erbe, Steppenwolf ensemble member and former co-star of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” acted as honorary chair for the event and was seen making her way around the room selling raffle tickets. Other notable names spotted among the fashionable crowd included actors Lily Mojekwu and Robert Schleifer, event chair Kim Davis, and co-chairs Dina Searle and Bryce Cooper.

As the evening progressed, the music got louder, enticing many to take spins on the dance floor as a DJ played well-known party tunes from Madonna, Rihanna and more. Steppenwolf actors and staff got in on the fun as they danced in groups and encouraged wallflowers to join in.

Tickets to the event began at $135 and, in total, more than $80,000 was raised for Steppenwolf Young Artists, the theater’s nationally recognized arts education program, which serves more than 15,000 students, teachers and families per year.


The folks of the American Heart Association gathered in Navy Pier’s grand ballroom on Saturday night to fete another year of hard work at their signature fund-raiser, the 30th annual Chicago Heart Ball. Respected members of the medical community, philanthropists and corporate leaders were in attendance at the black-tie soiree that raised money for AHA’s work to eradicate cardiovascular disease and stroke.

More than 800 guests began the evening with cocktails and snacked on smoked salmon canapes before making their way to dinner in the luxuriously appointed ballroom. During dinner, NBC5’s Peggy Kusinski emceed an emotional program honoring doctors who have made a difference in heart research and care.

The Heart Ball was chaired by James R. Dan of Advocate Medical Group; Fawn Lopez, Modern Healthcare/Modern Physician, and Tom Wiffler, president and CEO of United Healthcare of Illinois. Tickets were $750, and the gala raised more than $1.55 million for the American Heart Association.

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