A Sundance Celebration
It’s not everyday that you get to order a cocktail from a celebrity bartender (at least once they have become famous). But, at the Sundance Institute’s annual New York City gala hosted by President and Founder Robert Redford, it has become a well known tradition.
This year the notable waitstaff included actors Michael Imperioli, Hope Davis, Joey Pantoliano, and Judah Friedlander (30 Rock) who served up drinks and chatted with guests during the cocktail reception of the gala, which raises money to support the organization’s development programs for independent film and theater artists.
Overland Entertainment was commissioned to design the Sundance event with the mantra that it was to be the “non-gala,” gala. The design and event production company took its inspiration from the Sundance Institute Artists’ Lab by bringing to life each of the four seasons of the artists’ programs. Roseland Ballroom was enclosed in 12 foot scenic flats with 10 foot photographic collages of the stunning Utah landscape.
“We wanted to bring the beauty of Utah and mesh it with the urban landscape of New York. That’s why we have a fish jumping out of a fire hydrant,” explains Sophie Geidt, senior producer at Overland. For the silent auction, the designers created a series of vignettes that showcased packages of film and TV memorabilia donated by Glenn Close, Ashley Judd and Al Pacino among others.
VIP guests Alec Baldwin, Maggie Rizer, Kenneth Cole, Chevy Chase, and Jane Fonda enjoyed passed canapes by Hudson Yards Catering and a dinner menu created by Top Chef‘sTom Colicchio, which included a family style spread of Seared Striped Bass with Red Pepper Aioli and Braised Cavolo Nero with Tuscan Kale.
The fundraiser concluded with an after party with DJ and Sundance Alum John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch).
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Overland Wins Two Prestigious Awards
Overland Entertainment listed as one of the top 100 Event Production companies in the U.S
Best Staging/Set Design and Best Content/Program
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Beard Awards Stage Looks Like Child’s Kitchen
The set design and decor at the Marriott Marquis for this year’s annual James Beard Foundation awards was inspired by Julia Child’s home.
With this year’s James Beard Foundation awards—honoring the best in the food and restaurant industry—billed as a tribute to Julia Child, the event’s set designers looked no farther than Child’s kitchen for inspiration for the set design and decor at the Marriott Marquis.
Set designer Paula Longendyke of Overland Entertainment went to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s permanent exhibit of Child’s kitchen, and worked closely with the curator to add detailed touches to the stage. Decor included turquoise green cabinets, walls hung with pots and pans, posters of cats (a favorite of Child’s), and shelves lined with cookbooks all similar to those in Child’s original kitchen. Color photographs of Child with Jacques Pépin (who received the evening’s lifetime achievement award), James Beard, and other chefs highlighted the night’s tribute.
The event’s M.C. was friend-of-Julia and Good Morning America coanchor Charles Gibson.
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Rock’s Million Dollar Bash
“Anyone can be bought; anyone is available for a price,” Jonathan Scharer says flatly. He ought to know. His Overland Entertainment Company has booked everyone from Beck to Bob Dylan for private parties and corporate gigs. Although Scharer will not discuss specific fees, he characterizes prices as “outrageous”-and rising. Just two years ago, the Eagles received a reported $500,000 to play for the financial firm Nomura Asset Capital Corp.; now superstars can command more than $1 million for about an hour’s work.
They Rock Hard for the Money
On corporate dates 20 years ago, you booked Don Rickles or maybe the Everly Brothers. “That’s changed dramatically. The counterculture element of rock has disappeared into the woodwork.” And good riddance, said Jonathan Scharer, president of the Overland Entertainment Company, a New York promotion firm that deals primarily in private parties. When he first formed the company, Scharer said, performers who agreed to play private parties were not sure what kind of commitment they would get from the producers. “They were playing in airplane hangers and hotel ballrooms. They were singing on hotel risers. We got sophisticated.”
Scharer said the private party niche was unexplored territory when he started. “I identified a need in the corporate sector for rock ’n roll. Corporate executives were getting younger and younger. They wanted to boogie.”