Upfront Theater plans three fundraiser shows for 2011

By Michael Homnick

In a perfect world, the Upfront could say yes every time a nonprofit organization asks them for help. That world, however, comes with an unlimited amount of time and money — things that are in demand now more than ever.

That is why in December the Upfront’s players and staff decided to take action into their own hands.

“We get asked lots of times every year from organizations to donate performances, but we can’t say yes every time,” said Galen Emanuele, the Upfront’s marketing and sales director. “So we had the idea to be more proactive and put ourselves out there.”

Instead of waiting for organizations to contact them as usual, Emanuele said the crew decided they would commit to three charity shows in 2011, benefitting three separate nonprofit organizations.

At the beginning of January, Emanuele sent out a letter to the nonprofits in the area, calling for organizations to make their case as to why they can benefit from a fundraiser show.

But how to choose just three? Emanuele said he does not think it will be an easy choice.

“It’s hard to say,” he said. “Wherever there is the most need in an organization, and one that fits most with what we would like to help is what we will do. We’re all gonna sit  down as a theater and go through the information we get and decide which ones we think we can help the most, something that’s in line with what the players want to give back to.”

According to the letter, the Upfront plans to make their decision by Feb. 1 on which three nonprofits they will work with. After that, Emanuele said it is up the organizations to plan the event and get the word out.

“We provide the show and talent, the rest is up to them,” he said.

The Upfront is even leaving the date and location of the show open for the nonprofits that ultimately get chosen to decide. If the organization wants to hold it at another location, the players will go where they are needed, Emanuele said. And since different times will be more convenient for each organization, there is no way of saying now when the shows will be held, he said.

For now, Emanuele said he is excited by the amount of interest they have received so far from organizations.

“We know there’s a need out there, and we’ve gotten a huge response,” he said. “That makes it something we would like to do next year.”

For more information, call the Upfront at (360) 733-8855.

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