DORSET - In celebration of 85 years of The Dorset Playhouse location on Cheney Road in Dorset, the Dorset Players, owners of this landmark, will hold a black-tie-optional gala event, "Starry Starry Night," on Saturday, April 20, from 6 to 9 p.m., at a reserved ticket price of $40 per person.

The second main purpose of the evening will be a formal launch of the Players' capital fund fundraiser, "Pathway to the Stars." Income from this capital effort will create a reserve fund for any future major expenses to the building itself (roof replacement; repairs/replacement to the AC or heating systems; et al.). Since January, Board members and friends of DPI have been planning this event, open to members, friends and theater-lovers throughout the region.

"Starry Starry Night" will feature a slightly different approach to the Players' annual Cabaret event. Performers from the company will sing numbers from the 1930s to the present day, including those from the earliest musicals performed on-site, the latter as a special nod to the Players' long history. The Cabaret portion of the evening will occur in two segments. Catered hors d'oeuvres with wines and champagne, donated by local establishments and businesses, will be served throughout the early part of the gathering. A Silent Auction will also be available, with items from local sources; income from the auction will also go directly into the Playhouse Capital Reserve Fund. (Anyone interested in contributing an item to the auction can call Sheila Conway at the Players office, 867-5570, or CeCe King at 375-9756, who are co-chairing this event.) Winning bidders will be announced during coffee and dessert at the close of the night.

The actual "Pathway to the Stars" is a stone walkway from the road edge to the Box Office door on the site's north side. These pavers - in three sizes - will be laser-engraved with tributes, memorials or comments chosen by those purchasing the stones. A preliminary design was created by Steve Burzon and his crew at Garden Arts in Manchester. All income from the Pathways project will go into this newly-dedicated capital preservation account. Brochures on the Pathway are available at the Playhouse, and at retail outlets throughout the area, including Garden Arts. Those who would like to be included in the first section of the path's execution should have an application in no later than April 22nd of this year.

Questions on the project may be directed to Sheila Conway at 867-5570.