Southern Ocean County, NJ is home to a thriving theatre community, including two professional theatre companies and handful of community theatre groups. Located in Beach Haven on Long Beach Island is the Surflight Theatre, a professional summer stock company where many professional theatre careers have been launched over the last six decades.
A Song for LBI will take place tonight, January 21 at Abingdon Theatre Company's June Havoc Theatre located at 312 West 36th Street in New York City. The doors will open at 7pm for a reception, followed by an 8pm performance. All performers, stage managers and technicians are donating their time and expertise to the event.
Shortly after the storm, 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, as they felt compelled to do something to help the community into which they had been so warmly welcomed during their summers in residence on Long Beach Island. 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 Michael Padgett, 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.
Several dozen NYC and Ocean County businesses are donating goods and services as door prizes for the event. Door prizes collected to date include: $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);4 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your request and a return phone number.
Long Beach Island, as well as other Southern Ocean County communities such as Stafford Township, Waretown and Little Egg Harbor experienced a significant degree of destruction, impacting homes and businesses. While this area has certainly begun to rebound - residents are moving back home and businesses are re-opening -- help is still needed. This group of theatre professionals decided to organize a performance to benefit this community at large.
The group of organizers reached out to the Southern Ocean County Community Foundation (www.soccfoundation.org), a non-profit organization that works to strengthen the local community, specifically by supporting 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. In addition to providing food, the pantries also provide their clients with items such as diapers, cleaning supplies and toiletries. 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: 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.