TURNERS FALLS – A local theater company will join more than 2,500 theater organizations around the world this weekend in an event to welcome people back to the theater.
“The goal was to generate excitement and keep people coming back to the theater,” said Kim Williams, owner and director of the Ja’Duke Center for the Performing Arts. “It’s pretty cool to know that you’ll be doing the same layout as other people. ”
With a cast of over 75 members, Ja’Duke will present a production of “All Together Now !: A Global Event Celebrating Local Theater“, a Music Theater International (MTI) review featuring a collection of songs from popular musicals such as like “Annie”, “Beauty and the Beast” from Disney, “A violin on the roof” and “In the woods”, among others.
“Our goal with this global event is for organizations to bring hope, inspiration and enthusiasm to their communities through the transformative power of musical theater,” said Music President and CEO Theater International, Drew Cohen, in a press release.
Although the idea for the original event was to serve as a fundraiser for participating theaters, Williams said Ja’Duke wanted to ‘pay it forward’ after what has been a difficult year for so many in the community. .
“We wanted to pay it forward, and that’s where the Children’s Advocacy Center (in Franklin County and North Quabbin) comes in,” she explained. “We wanted to partner with someone who cares about what we’re doing here. We work with children… and it’s a cause close to our hearts.
Through the Children’s Advocacy Center, children and families are connected with medical, mental health, victim advocacy and other services on a case-by-case basis.
Ja’Duke has partnered with Greenfield Savings Bank, the show‘s underwriter, to donate all proceeds – both from ticket sales and a basket raffle – to the Wisdom Way Center in Greenfield .
“They usually have a fundraiser, a breakfast, which they haven’t been able to do in the past two years,” Williams noted. “It was good for us to step in and fill that gap.”
“The CAC was delighted that the Greenfield Savings Bank contacted us to do this fundraiser,” said Irene Woods, Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center. “We weren’t able to do our Hope and Healing breakfast, which was our main fundraiser. This will certainly support our financial need for operating costs. ”
Woods said there will be around 25 baskets to be drawn.
“We were really relying on our volunteers, Lynda Zukowski and Jenn Gagné, to put some of these baskets together and bring us all together,” she said. “They spent many hours picking up and assembling the baskets. ”
Through pre-performance sponsorships, the theater has raised nearly $ 10,000, according to Williams. She said she hopes to harvest “as much as possible” over the weekend.
“We don’t know what to expect,” Williams said. “Some people are still hesitant to come to the theater. We just wanted to get as many people out as possible. ”
Performances are scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Ja’Duke, located at 110 Industrial Blvd. Tickets for children 12 and under and those 65 and over cost $ 12. General admission is $ 15. Masks are optional.
Tickets can be purchased online at jaduketheater.com and donations to the Children’s Advocacy Center can be made at jaduketheater.com/donatecac.
Journalist Mary Byrne can be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne