The interior of the Smyrna Opera House will be draped in the beauty and charm of Italy for the historic theater's 9th Annual Arts Cotillion

The interior of the Smyrna Opera House will be draped in the beauty and charm of Italy for the historic theater's 9th Annual Arts Cotillion: Under the Tuscan Sun on Saturday, Feb. 9.

This fundraiser event is black-tie optional and will feature classic rock covers by Glass Onion (from 9 p.m. to midnight), ample dancing (from 9 p.m. to midnight) and delectable food and drink catered by Becky's Catering, as well as a new auction and a live one offering more than a dozen items with a combined value of more than $1,200, said Cotillion Committee member Sherri Hudson, 57, of Smyrna.

Proceeds from the Cotillion will benefit the theater's operating expenses. Last year's event raised $40,000, said Smyrna Opera House Executive Director David Keller, who added the goal of this year's Cotillion is to raise $30,000. Keller declined to comment on how much it costs to run the Smyrna Opera House.

Italian dressing

Each year the Cotillion has a new theme. Last year's theme was "Hooray for Hollywood" and the theater was decorated like an Academy Awards ceremony, which included two massive Oscar statues on the theater's stage.

This year's theme is "Under the Tuscan Sun," inspired by Smyrna Opera House Cotillion Committee member Donna Cantillon's trip to Tuscany, Italy in 2011, said Cotillion Committee Chairwoman Jaci Hugg, 46, of Smyrna. The theater will be romantically dressed in rustic fashion, decked out with Tuscany photographs and sunflowers.

The night's menu will boast of Italian favorites like caprese salad, meatball shooters, a shrimp and oyster bar, anti pasta and pasta spreads. There will also be an open bar offering Italian wines, as well as shots of Limoncello.

'Price is Right Auction' and more goodies

New to this year's Cotillion will be its "Price is Right Auction," influenced by the popular game show. The Price is Right Auction (from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) has replaced the Cotillion's silent auction. The way it works is bidders will jot down the amount they want to wager for an item, then they'll place the bid in a sealed container. At 7:30 p.m., the container will be unsealed and the highest bidder will be announced, Hugg said.

Price is Right Auction items include a Kindle, a silver-plated tea set and handmade jewelry crafted by Judy McKinney-Cherry, president of the Smyrna Opera House board, Hugg said.

Shortly thereafter, the live auction will kickoff from 7:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. Auction items include treats like four tickets to see the Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Rangers on April 16, in which seating is 11 rows from the ice (donated from George & Lynch highway construction company in Dover); and a sterling Orbis necklace (donated from Sayers Jewelers and Gemologists), Hudson said.

She added the live auction also features a "Criminal Minds" memorabilia pack with a signed script of episode 163 ("The Silencer") from the show's entire cast, as well as a boxed set of the seventh season, a t-shirt and baseball cap (donated from "Criminal Minds" producer Erica Messer, daughter-in-law of Cotillion Committee member Kathy Messer, of Smyrna).

Around 10:15 p.m., there will be a raffle drawing for a one-week vacation, this year, at Jockey's Ridge Sound Side in Nags Head, N.C. (donated from Jennings and Lisa Hastings, of Smyrna). The vacation includes three bedrooms: one king and two queen-size rooms. Tickets are available at or by calling the Smyrna Opera House box office: 653-4236.

WHAT 9th Annual Arts Cotillion: Under the Tuscan Sun fundraiser
WHEN 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Feb. 9
WHERE Smyrna Opera House, 7 W. South St., Smyrna
COST $100 (Cotillion); $25 (raffle drawing)
INFO or 653-4236

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