WCU's University Theatre Group Presents 22nd Annual AIDS Benefit Show
Proceeds to support New York-Based Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids
The student-led University Theatre group at West Chester University is busily planning their 22nd annual benefit event to support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, a New York-based non-profit that provides services to those living with AIDS and HIV. Performances are staged in the Mainstage Theatre at the E.O. Bull Center for the Arts, 2 E. Rosedale Ave., West Chester. Performances are Friday, December 10, and Saturday, December 11, at 7: 30 p.m., and Saturday, December 11, and Sunday, December 12, at 2 p.m. General Admission tickets are $12 ($10 for students and faculty members with I.D.) and are available at the door or soon at www.wcupatix.com.
The student directed and produced benefit is a mix of variety show-style acts interspersed with facts and stories about HIV and AIDS. It has become a well-attended event and a campus highlight each season. In 2020, the event won the “Organization Program of the Year” Leadership Award from West Chester University’s Office of Student Leadership and Involvement.
The West Chester event is one of the largest outside sources of funding for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. In 2019 a record-breaking $20,000 was raised. The 2020 event was presented virtually.
Tom Viola, the Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, says, “We are so grateful for the passionate and hardworking students at West Chester University, who have raised more than $140,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids over these last 22 years. These tenacious and dedicated students are leading the charge of young people creating advocacy and action through the arts. Their creativity, good will and commitment to social justice is the wind in our sails upon which we all will ride into the future.”
Attendees will enjoy Broadway and popular tunes including “For Forever” from Dear Evan Hanson and “Welcome to the Rock” from Come From Away. Each class in the Department of Theatre & Dance performs, and the ever-popular “Showtune Showdown” returns, encouraging audience members to choose the winner between “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray and “Come Alive” by The Greatest Showman by throwing $1 into a bucket to cast a vote. Various campus groups also perform including the a cappella groups High Street Harmonix and the Suspensions, the Swing Dance team, the Irish Step group, and the Improv Group Deep Dish Pizzazz.
Director Jessie Hazell (Doylestown, PA) is a Senior Early Grades Education major with minors in Theatre and Civic and Professional Leadership. Producer Georgia Sminkey (Havertown, PA) is a Senior English and Media & Culture major. In total, the event will involve approximately 50 - 60 West Chester University students.
Hazell says, “We are so happy to be performing LIVE this year. Many years ago, Broadway Cares was chosen as this event’s beneficiary because of their natural tie to the theatre community. Over these last 20 years we have come to know the administrators and the organization quite well. I love supporting them and being a part of this event. It is worth all of the hours and effort.”
A silent auction is held in the lobby prior to each performance with many items donated by the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids office in New York. Items include Broadway memorabilia and restaurant gift cards.
For information on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids visit www.broadwaycares.org.