I have been a long-time recipient of your amazing emails regarding theater events throughout the region, and am so grateful for what you do. I have gone to see many productions based on your reviews and recommendations, and am always glad I did. Keep up the great work, and thank you!!
I am also writing as the CEO of the University Club, with a question for you. Every year, we have produced a fantastic Halloween party for our members. They take an ENORMOUS amount of work, and are truly outside our wheelhouse in many ways. But we have had someone on the staff who LOVES Halloween and has spearheaded the theme, decor, activities, etc. In our (hopefully) post-COVID world, we need to rekindle the Halloween push, but that person is no longer on our staff.
We do have several people willing to help orchestrate most of the event, which consists of a theme, lobby decor and photo backdrop, and buffet-style dining in the Heritage Room with a DJ and dance floor. But the biggest challenge is everything on the lower level, which includes our haunted house and activities room. We try to match these with the theme, so--for example--when we did a Harry Potter theme, the dining room was decorated like the Great Hall of Hogwarts Castle, with seating for each of the four schools. Every child went under the sorting hat outside the dining room to determine which section they sat in. The lobby decor was Platform 9-3/4. Then, downstairs the activity room was Diagon Alley. The kids redeemed a chip for fake money from Gringotts Bank, then spent it in various booths: making wands (dipping pretzel rods in chocolate and various sprinkles), getting fortunes told (in a secret place with an owl around), buying candy from Honeydukes, etc. Then the haunted house featured lots of aspects of Harry Potter, along with generic Halloween stuff.
So, why am I telling you all this? I'm reaching out to see if by any change you know of any creative theater staging/props/design people who might be interested in a contract job helping us pull all this together, particularly taking a major role in planning and building the haunted house, and in helping with the backdrops for the lobby photos and the activity room downstairs. We are looking at a Spooky Summer Camp theme, bringing back our summer camp counselors in crazy costumes (we are about to complete nine straight weeks of sold-out camps) and using lots of generic Halloween stuff.
I don't have a specific budget, but like everyone else we're so short-staffed that I'm trying to see if we can outsource this as a separate contract. The person would work with our team to propose the concepts and layouts, help pull the required materials together from sources they might have, and help build it. The date of the party is October 28 & 29, with pre-set on October 26 & 27. Pre-COVID, we would typically get 400-500 people each night. This year, we'll probably still be limiting attendance based on staffing levels at the time, but I would guess at least 350 each night.
Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you think might be interested in discussing this opportunity, and urge them to call me to discuss further details. Thank you so much for any help you can give, and no worries if this request is outside your wheelhouse!
Karen L. Grannemann, CCM
CEO & General Manager, University Club of MSU
3435 Forest Road Lansing, MI 48910