Grand Gala star Renée Elise Goldsberry

Grand Gala returns with ‘Hamilton’ star on stage

Betsy PriceCulture, Headlines

Grand Gala star Renée Elise Goldsberry

Broadway star Renée Elise Goldsberry will headline the Grand Gala Dec. 3.

Dig 0ut your party hats.

The Grand Gala is returning Dec. 3 with a show headlined by Tony Award-winning “Hamilton” star Renée Elise Goldsberry, with the traditional afterparty at The Grand Opera House.

It will feature food, drink and entertainment spread out throughout the 150-year-old building.

A major fundraiser for the opera house’s community engagement programs, the 2020 gala was killed by the COVID pandemic and replaced with a holiday-themed downtown light show that brought 10,000 cars to the parking lot of Frawley Stadium.

Last year, the Grand held a mini gala and then a progressive party with an intimate crowd walking from restaurant to restaurant for the afterparty.

As public life has moved back toward normal without masks and other restrictions, the time felt right to bring back the old gal’s gala, said Kate Baker Frawley, director of development at The Grand.

Frawley said The Grand is delighted to have Goldsberry, who originated the role of Angelica Schuyler in “Hamilton.”

For the gala’s first year back, the organizers wanted someone exciting and of the moment, but who could also bring together the Grand’s music, variety and Broadway fans.

It wasn’t easy to find someone to fit that bill.

Many artists are not booking very far ahead, and others have dramatically raised their prices, Frawley said.

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But organizers think they have a winner with Goldsberry, who played Angelica Schuyler in “Hamilton.”

Not only is Goldsberry one of the It Women of the moment, she’s practically local, living in New York, an easy distance away, which helps avoid airline troubles.

Goldsberry will sing Broadway tunes from “Hamilton,” “Rent” and “The Lion King,” all of which she starred in on Broadway, as well as pop and soul standards.

She will perform that night at 8 p.m. in the Grand’s Copeland Hall, after a program that will honor the Gilliam family for its member generations of support for the arts in Wilmington.

The Grand Gala

The Grand Gala returns Dec. 3 with Renée Elise Goldsberry on the stage

Grand Gala afterparty

The afterparty will start after the concert. In the last decade, Grand Gala guests would walk up to the Hotel du Pont and wander from room to room, with all food and drink included in the price of the ticket.

Food and drink again is included in the ticket, but this year it will focus on the city’s restaurants, which suffered when the pandemic shut down the shows at the Grand, Rossi said.

“Many of our local friends and partners, restaurants and artists, were affected by us being closed and by the pandemic,” she said. “We wanted to do our part to support them.”

The 800 block of Market Street will be closed for the evening, and the Grand will put up a marquee tent outside.

Inside, themed rooms will be named for downtown restaurants, including Tonic, Chelsea Tavern and Oath 84, with more names expected to be revealed in the next two months.

Each room will include a local entertainer or band, and themed cocktails and mocktails.

“So it will be a celebration of not only downtown and Wilmington, but really all of Delaware raising money for the Grand’s community outreach programs,” Frawley said.

She’s not ready to reveal all the food specialties, but says the popular breakfast room and dessert room will be back.

All tickets include the Afterparty 818, named after The Grand’s Market Street address.

Grand Gala tickets are $200, $300 for better seats, and $500 for the best seats and a pre-party.

Tickets are available at, or through the Grand Box Office at 1-800-374-7263.

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