The Road to Recovery: Former Surflight Performers Band Together to Help Area Food Banks

Also, 2013 Surflight schedule announced this week.

Shortly after Sandy, a group of fairly recent Surflight Theatre alumni, spearheaded by Michael Blackmon-Ham - who worked at Surflight over the course of several seasons - joined forces via Facebook, and banded together to help the LBI community.

The group of organizers reached out to the Southern Ocean County Community Foundation (www.soccfoundation.org), a non-profit organization that supports the seven food pantries located in Southern Ocean County.

Since the storm, the food banks have been even more challenged to meet the needs of their local populations. The SOCC Foundation agreed to be the beneficiary organization of the benefit, as a conduit to distribute the proceeds to the seven local food banks including:

The Barnegat Food Pantry, St. Francis Center Food Pantry in Brant Beach (temporarily located in Manahawkin), The Lacey Food Bank, Tuckerton Area Inter-church Food Pantry, Ocean Community Church Food Ministry in Manahawkin, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Food Pantry in Waretown and Ken’s Kitchen at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Barnegat.

Once Blackmon located a venue and selected a date, the project really started to come together, and interested participants confirmed their commitment, according to Sandy Goldsborough, who is handling publicity for the event.

Actor/Director/Musical Theatre Consultant David Edwards agreed to serve as director and emcee. Rob Klimowski signed on as Production Manager. Michael Blackmon-Ham and Andrew Chartier are choreographing

In addition to David Edwards (Broadway’s By Jeeves, Off-Broadway’s Room Service), Michael Blackmon-Ham, and Andrew Chartier appearing onstage will be: Haley Swindal (current pre-Broadway Tour of Jekyll & Hyde, numerous regional credits), Ben Liebert (Broadway & National Tour of Wicked), Anita Hollander (United Solo Theatre Festival’s Still Standing, Bestselling Show in the history of the Festival), as well as Erin Maya, Maria Totten, Becca Gottileb, Dan Scullin, Brandon Haagenson, Allie Paddock, Chris Ian Sanchez, Deanna Doyle, Meghan Gibson, Vasthy Mompoint, Jeremy Randall, Sarah Lynn Evenson, Jeff Foote, Michael Padgett, and Juson Williams.

"A Song for LBI" will take place on Monday, Jan. 21 at Abingdon Theatre Company’s June Havoc Theatre located at 312 West 36th Street in New York City. The doors will open at 7 p.m. for a reception, followed by an 8 p.m. performance.

All performers, stage managers and technicians are donating their time and expertise to the event. Several dozen NYC and Ocean County businesses are donating goods and services as door prizes for the event. Door prizes collected to date include: a $50 gift certificate to Cornerstone Restaurant in Brooklyn; $50 gift certificate to Tchoup Shop Restaurant in Brooklyn; 10-pack of yoga classes from Exhale Spa; 10-pack of dance classes from Broadway Dance; 10-pack of circuit/group classes from The Lab; free haircut and color from Beauty and Beyond Spa; baskets of all natural dog and cat food, treats and toys from Hidden Skill; Gift Certificate for Ocean Professional Theatre Company (Barnegat, NJ); four tickets to Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Chowderfest; Gift Certificate to The Gables Historic Inn & Restaurant (Beach Haven); Overnight Stay at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City with complimentary tickets to “Divas Do AC”; New York Yankees’ Legends Tickets.

Tickets are $40 each, and include admission for the performance and five door prize entries. While tickets are expected to be available at the door, advance purchase is recommended, especially for those coming from out of town. For tickets or for additional information, send an email to songforlbitickets@yahoo.com with your request and a return phone number. 

In related news, officials with Surflight Theatre this week announced that they are gearing up for an April opening. Although the first show has yet to be decided, the remainder of the theatre's 64th season is set:

MAY 7 – 19 SLEUTH TONY AWARD BEST PLAY 1971 By Anthony Shaffer What do you get when you take one eccentric detective novelist, add in his wife’s lover, stir in a cocktail or two, blend in a team of intrepid investigators, top it off with a dangerous proposition and mix it all together in an English manor house? One of the most deviously clever thrillers ever concocted. Plots, counterplots, and double crosses are unleashed as rivals play out deadly games in a tangled web of intrigue. Popular mystery writer Andrew Wyke lives in a world of plot twists and intricate strategies. In discovering his wife’s lover, Milo, Mr. Wyke devises a devious plan to humiliate him. But even the best laid plans can go astray when the police arrive and a new game begins — a game where rules don’t apply and the stakes are life or death.     

MAY 24 – JUNE 16 THE BOY FRIEND Book, Music and Lyrics by Sandy Wilson. Set in the carefree world of the French Riviera of the Roaring Twenties, The Boy Friend is song and dance musical that’s a lovely comic send-up of 1920s musicals. The show marked the Broadway debut of Julie Andrews and is a perennial favorite for summer theatre audiences.  

JUNE 19 – JULY 7 GEORGE M! Book by Michael Stewart, John and Francine Pascal Music and Lyrics by George M. Cohan The Yankee Doodle Dandy musical hit tells the life story of George M. Cohan and how he became a giant of the American musical theater, giving us such songs as “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Over There!,” “You're A Grand Old Flag,” and “Give My Regards to Broadway.”  

JULY 10-28 Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific TONY AWARD BEST MUSICAL 1949 PULITZER PRIZE FOR DRAMA Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II Book by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan Based on James A. Michener’s, Tales of the South Pacific Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Pulitzer Prize winning musical, is considered to be one of the greatest Broadway musicals of all time. The story centers on Nellie Forbush, an American nurse stationed at a U.S. Naval base during World War II who falls in love with an expatriate French plantation owner but struggles to accept his mixed-race children. The show contains such unforgettable songs as “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Younger than Springtime.”  

JULY 31 – AUGUST 18 Les Misérables TONY AWARD BEST MUSICAL 1987 Based on the novel by Victor Hugo Book by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg Music by Claude Michel-Schönberg; Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer The International Musical Bit makes it long-awaited Surflight Premiere!  Boublil and Schönberg’s classic sweeps its audience through an epic tale of passion and destruction in 19th century France.  Discover a nation in the grip of revolution, where convict Jean Valjean is on the run. Hunted relentlessly by the policeman Javert for breaking his parole, he must leave his past behind and keep his vow to raise the young orphaned Cosette. But with revolution in the air and Javert closing in, Jean Valjean has no choice but to fight for his life and sacrifice everything to protect the people he loves.  

AUGUST 21 – SEPTEMBER 8 You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown Book, Music and Lyrics by Clark Gesner A musical comedy with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner based on the characters created by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz and his popular comic strip Peanuts. The show tells the story of an average day in the life of the famous comic strip child hero, Charlie Brown. The audience is introduced to the whole Peanuts gang: Patty, Schroeder, Lucy and of course their extraordinary pup, Snoopy.  

SEPTEMBER 25 - OCTOBER 6 SURFLIGHT PREMIERE Our Town By Thornton Wilder Written by the great American playwright Thornton Wilder, Our Town is a story about an average town's citizens in the early twentieth century as depicted through their everyday lives. Wilder sets the play in a theater. He uses the actions of the Stage Manager to create the town of Grover's Corners for the audience. This classic heartwarming drama, celebrating its 75th anniversary, will include a cast made up of local citizens from LBI and professional actors.  

DECEMBER 3-22 Irving Berlin’s White Christmas Book by David Ives and Paul Blake Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin A delightful new Broadway musical based on the 1954 smash hit Paramount movie. The musical tells the story of two showbiz buddies who put on a show in a picturesque Vermont inn, and find their perfect mates in the bargain. Full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written, Irving Berlin’s WHITE CHRISTMAS promises to be a merry and bright theatrical experience for the entire family.  The show features classic Irving Berlin hits such as "Blue Skies," "Sisters," "Happy Holiday," "Count Your Blessings," "I Love a Piano" and the unforgettable title song, "White Christmas."   Surflight Theatre is supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

For the 2013 season, Surflight has rolled back the price of single tickets to $45. Discounted subscriptions are now on sale ranging from 9 to 4 show packages ($171-$365). Subscriptions are available online at www.surflight.org, and they may also be purchased in person at the Surflight box office or by phone at 609-492-9477. Groups of 15 or more should call: 609-492-9477x201. Directors and casting will be announced at a later time. 


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