Good News, Sad News, Good News

So let's start with Good News, shall we?

The MCCC/JTMF joint production of Hairspray is well into rehearsals and I am having a ball playing a certain lady of size. There are some very talented folks in the cast, including my friend Tom as my hubby, Wilbur. Our 2nd Act number together is going to be a blast. I'd honestly forgotten how much fun being in a musical can be. 

Ticket sales are brisk - several evening shows have already sold out. Opening night's audience will include a rather large contingent from the Day Job (who just can't wait to see me in a dress). Several of them have already seen me play an arrogant, bullying director (Noises Off) and a complete  idiot (The Nerd), so they're chomping at the bit to see me play a woman, especially one who sings and (sort of) dances. And our first matinee audience will include both college friends I haven't seen in almost 25 years and at least one blogger friend I've never met in person. You can order tickets on line at or by phone at 609-570-3333. Directed by Jeremy Robinson; Choreographed by Jody Person; under the musical direction of Peter DeMets and co-starring Yours Truly in several dresses, Hairspray should be a rollicking good time.

In other Good News, the James Tolin Memorial Fund is pleased to announce our Tenth Anniversary Gala AIDS Benefit, featuring a reprise of our very first production: Paul Rudnick's gay romantic comedy Jeffrey. Having directed our last 10 productions, I am happy to hand over the reigns to founder Tracy Antozzeski (who also directed the show the first time around), so that I can reprise my role as interior designer of a certain age, Sterling. I'm even more excited that I will finally get a chance to really act with my Dear D, who will be playing the title role of actor/cater-waiter Jeffrey. The Gala will include an Opening Night Red Carpet Extravaganza; a catered reception on both Friday and Saturday nights and our biggest and best Silent Auction, ever. Tickets can be purchased by clicking the link above or by phone at 609-570-3333. Trust me, you DO NOT want to miss this one.

This second bit of Good News is also my Sad News. Jeffrey will be the final annual June AIDS benefit for the JTMF. After 10 years of very hard work by the Board and Staff, as well as the many talented people who've contributed artistically, we've decided that our current formula is no longer working for us and we'll be taking a year off to reassess and reinvent ourselves.

That's not to say that the JTMF is going away. Far from it. And that's the final bit of Good News. We'll be back. We're already looking at ways to continue to raise money for good causes in James' name and have already planned a special Halloween staged radio play* for Fall of 2013. Additionally, we're working to foster a relationship with a local NJ anti-suicide foundation while exploring other avenues for raising funds to keep both the James Tolin Memorial Scholarship going, as well as continuing to support the good work of the Open Arms Foundation, which provides support and counseling for NJ residents who are both afflicted with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

If you've supported JTMF in the past, I thank you. And I sincerely hope that you will continue to do so in our future endeavors, whatever they may end up being.

All that having been said, here's a taste of the 2002 Seattle production of Hairspray:

*Any guesses as to what said Radio Play will be? Your guess is probably right.

More, anon.
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