Host / Emcee Charlie Rose
From Left: Larry Silverstein, Stephen Siegel, and Charlie Rose
This year American Friends of Rabin Medical Center wanted to turn the traditional gala on its head. Looking to innovate beyond a traditional dinner function, AFRMC asked Empire make the entire event fun while still conveying the important message of supporting the hospital in Israel.
Empire came up with the idea of a one-night extravaganza featuring the best of contemporary Israeli culture juxtaposed against their New York counterparts. This feast of the senses would bring authentic Israeli experiences to a New York donor audience and would deepen the attendee’s emotional connection to Israel while presenting a more dynamic and tangible association to the Rabin Medical Center.
Working with AFRMC as well as the Israeli Consul General, Empire re-brand the gala as “The Best of Israel meets the Best of New York” focusing on fashion, jewelry, art, entertainment, and, of course, cuisine. For the fashion show, Empire was able to secure participation from Israeli fashion designers Irena Burshtein and Maison Bellaish (staking recent claim in the New York scene with their new flagship store in the Meatpacking district). Thanks to the cooperation of numerous different individuals and organizations, we engaged Israeli jewelry designers Hana Stern, Sigal Shohat, and Orly Wexler, and New York based designer Judith Ripka. All of this was just in the cocktail reception!
Even the evening’s menu was specially designed. Together Empire and AFRMC enlisted two of the best chefs New York and Israel have to offer - Todd English and Mika Sharon. The two worked together to design different aspects of the cocktail reception food stations and the seated dinner menu with an Israeli zest.
To host the dinner program, Empire again secured talk show host Charlie Rose. Rose ably emceed the program and led a captivating interview live onstage with Larry Silverstein, developer of the World Trade Center towers, alongside Stephen Siegel, Chairman of CB Richard Ellis and President of AFRMC Board of Directors. Also, in maintaining the theme Charlie showcased a brief video montage of famous Israeli’s he has interviewed over the years.
For the entertainment portion of the evening, world-renowned Israeli violinist Shlomo Mintz represented the Best of Israeli entertainment, with a breathtaking solo performance. In keeping with theme, The Best of New York was a who’s who of Broadway. Legendary Broadway star Chita Rivera and critically acclaimed singer/actor Tom Wopat performed brief tributes to Award of Excellence recipients and renowned Broadway producers Barry and Fran Weissler.
Empire served as event producer for this 600 person gala managing all aspects of production including entertainment, host / emcee talent, fashion show, displays and auctions, venue coordination, lighting, staging, audio, image magnification, catering (provided by Newman & Levanthal and the Grand Hyatt), security, design and décor. Empire also consulted on the invitation design, journal design, and creative programming aspects including scripting and show order.
Empire is one of the world’s leading producers of not-for-profit events and fundraisers.