If you've ever been involved with theater you know what a tight family is formed from crew to actors to the creative team. So when one of your theater family members needs a little help, the entire community rallies. In November 2006, Carla Young was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Her doctors told her she had no more than six months to live. It's now January 2013 and Carla is still fighting. The caberet's host, Jamie Donmoyer, explained that the idea for this benefit came when she visited Carla at the hospital and simply asked, "So, is anyone paying your bills?"
Performers from Theatre Downtown gathered on January 28, 2013, to fundraise and celebrate Carla's work as a local Stage Manager on 23 shows at Theatre Downtown. This cabaret was not just a collection of great songs, but vibrant performance that perfectly tributed Carla's work, personality, and journey.
Performers sang numbers from ANNIE, CHICAGO, THE WIZ, and AVENUE Q and other shows. Tying the numbers together were a hilarious group of puppets, remnants of Theatre Downtown's production of AVENUE Q.
While all the performers were talented, the young talent stood out from the rest. One of the youngest performers, Jasmine Forsberg had two show-stopping numbers, including "Maybe" from ANNIE, and "I Speak Six Languages" from 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, which had flawless delivery and character.
Since the whole event was about fundraising for Carla, the team hilariously adapted "The Money Song" from AVENUE Q. The audience literally gave all their money, as the performers walked throughout Theatre Downtown's cozy stage area passing around a hat. The cabaret concluded with a full company singing "Seasons of Love" from RENT. A fitting song for Theatre Downtown's family of cast and crew, who rallied around someone they love.
Carla said it best: "theatre is not only a place to watch people perform, but also a place to let yourself forget about your troubles, if only for a few hours."
Produced by Pink Hair Productions, performers included Priscilla Bagley, Shannon Bilo, Eddy Coppens, Emily South Coppens, Jamie Donmoyer, Jasmine Forsberg, Jessica Hondel, Danielle Lang, Antony Larry, Christina Montgomery, JW Moore, Jossalynn Moukouanga, Katie Muise-Perry, Julie Dorman Ohrberg, Rachael Pisarski, and Staci Stout. Accompanied by Steve Mackinnon on piano.
Upcoming productions at Theatre Downtown include: PLAY IT AGAIN SAM from January 24 to February 9; GODSPELL from February 22 to March 17; and SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE ADVENTURE OF THE SUICIDE CLUB from April 5 to May 4. For more information, got o www.theatredowntown.net.
For more information about Carla's story and to donate, visit www.gofundme.com/Fight-like-Carla.
April 2013 Update: Carla passed away on April 13. Her family and close friends asks for donations to http://www.theatredowntown.net/ in lieu of flowers.
Photo Credit: Pink Hair Productions