Broadway Gala concert and fundraiser for Thingamajig Theatre to feature summer actors

Photo courtesy Carole Howard
The people-eating plant Audrey II claims another human victim — in this case, actor Hannah Zilber — in a rehearsal for “Little Shop of Horrors.” She is one of the many actors, singers and dancers performing at Thingamajig Theatre Company’s exciting Broadway Gala concert and fundraising event on Tuesday, July 31, at 5 p.m. The brilliant summer musical cast will present a cabaret-style show, part of a special evening that will include a live auction for unique interactions with the actors, live music by the actors, backstage tours conducted by cast members and catered hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $100 for this dressy evening at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.

By Carole Howard
Special to The PREVIEW
This year’s much-anticipated Broadway Gala concert and fundraising event on Tuesday, July 31, at 5 p.m. will feature the talents of the Thingamajig Theatre Company’s brilliant summer musical cast performing in a cabaret-style show directed by Boni McIntyre.
It’s part of a special evening to raise funds for Pagosa’s only nonprofit professional theater that also will include a live auction for unique interactions with the actors, live music by the actors, backstage tours conducted by cast members, and catered hors d’oeuvres. There will be a cash bar with tips going to the cast and crew.
Only about half of the costs of Thingamajig productions are covered by ticket sales. The remainder of the theater’s funding comes from private donors, business sponsors, program advertising, grants and proceeds from this annual Broadway Gala fundraiser — the most important event of the year to keep the theater up and running.
Tickets are $100 for this dressy evening at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.
Unique auction items
The actors are working on their acts for the cabaret concert and their contributions to the auction — and keeping them a secret for now. Word is that there also will be a well-known surprise guest who will delight you and bring back fond memories.
A look at last year’s one-of-a-kind auction offerings gives you a good idea of what very special fun will be available this year. That auction included an actor’s serenade at a private party, a brunch with many of the actors, a sunrise hike led by two actors followed by an outdoor brunch and a personalized cocktail party featuring a drink created just for you.
Also, two of the perennial favorites will be offered again — a progressive dinner for 10 people when actors will chauffeur you and your friends to four incredible locations where you’ll enjoy wine pairings, serenades and delicious food prepared by the cast; and a photo shoot for four where the actors will do your hair and makeup as you enjoy champagne and chocolate, then provide costumes before you pose with the cast for a very special picture that could be your best Christmas card ever.
“We know from previous galas that our guests have been surprised and delighted by the evening’s festivities — and especially the clever and creative auction opportunities,” said Laura Moore, executive director and co-founder of Thingamajig Theatre with her husband, Tim. “We are deeply grateful for everyone’s support because the five musicals that folks are seeing on stage this summer would not be possible without the funding raised at the gala.”
The five summer shows
This summer’s company of 56 actors, singers, dancers, directors and crew is the largest ever at Thingamajig. They are performing in a blockbuster summer season aptly titled “Broadway in the Mountains.” Here are the musical hits playing in rotation until Aug. 31 at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. They are prompting rave reviews from audiences lucky enough to already have seen them.
• “Legally Blonde,” rated PG-13, is based on the book and film by the same name. Directed by Boni McIntyre, it is a fun, upbeat story of a beautiful sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend. She discovers that her knowledge of the law can help others win cases when her fellow students underestimate her increasing self-confidence and impressive skills. In addition to other honors, it was nominated for seven Tonys and won for best original score.
• “West Side Story,” rated PG, features music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Directed by Melissa Firlit, it’s a powerful love story based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” about two rival gangs in New York City, one Puerto Rican and the other white. The dark theme, sophisticated music (many of its songs became popular hits), impressive dance scenes and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theater. It was nominated for six Tonys and won two, including best choreography for Jerome Robbins.
• “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” rated PG, is a fast-paced comedy based on the film by the same name. Directed by Dennis Elkins, it tells the story of a small-town girl who comes to New York City to marry for money instead of love — a thoroughly modern goal in 1922. She comes to enjoy the flapper lifestyle, but problems arise when she checks into a hotel owned by the leader of a white slavery ring. It won six Tonys, including best musical.
• “Little Shop of Horrors,” rated PG-13 and directed by Ali Whitman, is a dark comedy rock musical about a florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh. The music, composed by Alan Menken in the rock ‘n’ roll, doo-wop and Motown styles of the early 1960s, resulted in several popular hits. Produced off-Broadway and thus ineligible for the Tonys, it won several other awards including the New York Drama Critics Award for best musical.
These musicals will be performed in rotation with five to eight shows a week until the end of August.
Special family musical
“Pinkalicious” is a special musical for families based on the bestselling educational books for kids. Directed by Anita Jo Lenhart, it tells the story of a little girl who loves the color pink and can’t stop eating pink cupcakes despite warnings from her parents. Her pink indulgences land her in the doctor’s office with an illness that turns her pink from head to toe.
In addition to several of the professional actors, this show features local teens, fulfilling a long-time dream of Laura Moore to provide on-stage acting opportunities for youngsters ages 13-17 who have graduated from Thingamajig’s Children’s Theatre Summer Camps. This impressive audition-only opportunity allows teens to work alongside adult actors and perform in a fully produced stage musical.
“Pinkalicious” plays Saturdays at 11 a.m. until Aug. 25.
More about Thingamajig
Thingamajig Theatre Company is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional theater in residence at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts producing comedies, dramas and musicals year-round.
This is Thingamajig’s eighth season.
“The circle continues to grow wider with our commitment to being a radically welcoming theater serving all audiences,” said Tim Moore. “We have made the commitment to create a space where diverse opinions, courageous dialogue and local, national and international community engagement are both valued and vital to our success.”
To purchase tickets for the Broadway Gala ($100) and the summer musicals, visit www.pagosacenter.org or phone 731-7469.

This story was posted on July 23, 2018.