Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shows to raise money for schools


In an attempt to offset potential Santa Barbara School District budget cuts, one local theater company will donate all of its proceeds to elementary music programs following a performance opening this weekend.
Markam Theatre Productions opens its second annual music review, “Nothing But Broadway,” on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Marjorie Luke Theatre. The performance features 14 Santa Barbara high school students and graduates and features musical numbers from Broadway shows such as “A Chorus Line,” “Rent” and “Chicago.” The theater group decided to donate its proceeds after hearing an SBSD April proposal to reduce music program funds by $136, 701.

Markam Founder and current Santa Barbara City College student Adam Trent said he wanted to help the school district’s performing arts programs because local productions already run on stringent budgets. The theater troupe was founded by three Dos Pueblos High School graduates in 2005 and sold 700 tickets over the course of three performances last year.
“A lot [of musicals] are funded by parents,” Trent said. “It’s nice to have some funding for musical performances.”
However, SBSD Coordinator of Special Projects and Communication Barbara Keyani said that while additional funding is always helpful, the proposed budget cuts are not final.
“Several things are going on right now,” Keyani said. “The School District is doing an additional review of the budget ... There is a possibility of restoring [program funds] on Aug. 14.”
Meanwhile, Trent said the performance was still necessary even if the proceeds donated only represent a small portion of the elementary schools’ programs.
“Even if it’s not enough, the goal is to make it aware to the community that this is important.”
Performance Producer Stephanie Morse said she believed the programs are important based from her previous experiences in school performances.
“We feel that we received a great gift,” Morse said. “We’d be so sad to see that not continue.”
She also said that while the show maintains the identical name as last year’s production, none of the songs are the same. Morse said the show’s set design is minimalistic, but that its musical numbers are all well-costumed.
“They’re all Broadway tunes and very recognizable,” she said. “We tried to keep them as true to the musicals they came from.”
Trent said the musical revue cost $6,000 to produce and received funding from the Dreier Family Rent Subsidy Fund, an organization that assists with performance costs through community donations. He said Markam has already performed select songs at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and will also take its show to the Santa Barbara Cancer Center and two local retirement homes.
Admission costs $15 for the general public and $10 for students and seniors. Theater-goers can order tickets from Event Manager Gwen Ballinger at (805) 680-5552 or purchase tickets at the Marjorie Luke Theater door, located on 721 E. Cota St. in Santa Barbara. Additional theater performances take place Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

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