Thursday, February 19, 2009

And Now, A Shameless Plug

Inspired by Stephan Rader and his post about Season of Concern, I decided it's time I talked more about my own favorite charity, The James Tolin Memorial Fund.

The JTMF produces an annual comedy to raise funds for Arts Education and AIDS organizations in NJ. In the past, we have presented productions of Jeffrey; Torch Song Trilogy; The Odd Couple; Mr. Charles, Currently of Palm Beach; The Altruists; Psycho Beach Party and What the Butler Saw. This summer, we will be presenting Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. As always, there will be a catered reception before and after the show, live musical entertainment and a silent auction of goods and services from both local an national donors. For our 5th Anniversary Gala (featuring Charles Busch's hilarious Psycho Beach Party) we had auction donations from major celebrities such as Carol Burnett, Robin Williams and the cast of ABC's "Desperate Housewives." We only do comedies, because we know that James loved nothing more than to laugh, and he wouldn't have wanted us doing heavy-handed dramas. In fact, he probably would have hated the attention he's getting.

James Tolin was a NJ actor who succumbed to AIDS-related illness in 2002. The fund started as one-time event, meant to honor his memory and donate money to The Open Arms Foundation, an organization which provides support and services to NJ residents living with HIV. Open Arms worked closely with James throughout his illness and his friends and family thought it fitting that the proceeds go to them. Our first event, which featured Mr. Rudnick's Jeffrey (in which I played 'Sterling') was such a success, we just kept going. Now, seven years later, we are still going strong and have grown to include a scholarship at Mercer County County Community College for a deserving Performing Arts major. We have also helped fund Graffiti Productions, an organization which provided inner-city youth with creative outlets and performing arts experience. As we move forward, the JTMF hopes to fund even more educational endeavours (James was a big believer in Arts Education) and plan on expanding our program to include new works by local playwrights and performance artists. We are also looking forward to expanding our efforts with JTMF West, a Canadian branch started by a former Board Member who now lives in Alberta, Canada.

We perform at the Kelsey Theatre on the Campus of Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, NJ. Our casts, crews and supporters are strictly volunteer and 100% of of the box office is split between Open Arms and the James Tolin Scholarship at MCCC. Proceeds from the silent auction are used to defray production costs for next year's show. For advance tickets to our event, please visit the Kelsey Box Office website, here.

P.S. - If you visit the JTMF site, you can see a real pic of your Uncle Prospero. I'm the giant on the right.

More, anon.



Anonymous said...

handsome - better w/o the mask

Prospero said...