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    Posted January 4, 2007

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Cleveland theatres support BC/EFA

The 2006 revival cast of LIES AND LEGENDS included Mickey Houlahan (AEA), Tracee Patterson (AEA), Monica Olejko, Paul Alessandro (AEA), and Dan Folino

Since the Cleveland general membership meeting of last November, the Cleveland Equity Liaison Committee has moved on its commitment to build support for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids by involving the small, local theatres which hire Equity actors (the two regional theatres located in Cleveland already participate during appeals weeks). Liaison committee members began this effort on a personal level, by requesting permission to make an appeal for support of BC/EFA after one performance of every show in which a committee member was cast. Beck Center for the Arts Artistic Director Scott Spence agreed to the first appeal which followed the December 30, 2005 performance of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and resulted in a total donation of $425.00. The total donation from this year's Beauty and the Beast performance brought in $525.

The 1991 cast of LIES AND LEGENDS included (from front to back) Mickey Houlahan, Monica Olejko, Ken Benz, Tracee Patterson, and Paul Alessandro

Since that time, the Beck Center has continued to play a leadership role in this effort. This past summer, the Beck Center mounted a 15th-year reunion production of LIES AND LEGENDS: THE MUSICAL STORIES OF HARRY CHAPIN, originally featuring a talented local singer and gifted teacher, Ken Benz (Ken died in 1994 at the age of 34). During the appeal, cast member and Cleveland Equity Liaison Chair, Tracee Patterson, noted, "For the fans of Harry Chapin, perhaps the only thing better than spending an evening listening to Harry's music would be if he himself were there to sing them. Sadly, Harry Chapin left us far too soon. For the cast, crew, and artistic staff of this anniversary production of LIES AND LEGENDS, the only thing that would make it better would be if our friend and fellow performer, Ken Benz, were here to share in the gift of this reunion. Ken, too, left us far too soon." To date, total contributions to BC/EFA as a result of Beck Center post-show appeals are nearing the $1500.00 mark, and Equity Liaison Committee members are looking to broaden the program by asking other theatres and local AEA members to join in the effort this upcoming season.

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