Summer Hummer Sends
Funding Totals – and Temperatures – Soaring
All-Star Cast Bares Almost All to Help Colleagues with Emergency Needs
On Monday night, the 2013 Summer Hummer, a bawdy benefit burlesque in support of Taking Care of Our Own, raised $24,500, greatly exceeding attendance and contributions from last year’s inaugural event. Taking Care of Our Own is a program of theatreWashington, providing assistance to Washington area theatre professionals experiencing unforeseen emergencies.
A sizzling and steamy production, helmed by Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer, the 2013 Summer Hummer filled the Signature stage with more than 65 area performers, ranging from classically trained Shakespearian actors to show-tune belting musical theatre divas.
Along with scorching solos and ribald patter, this year’s Summer Hummer included ensemble numbers choreographed by Matthew Gardiner and supported with musical direction by Gabe Mangiante and Darius Smith. The Signature stage provided the perfect setting, enhanced by lighting designer Chris Lee and sound designer Lane Elms.
Commenting on this second Summer Hummer phenomenon, theatreWashington President & CEO Linda Levy commented, “In 2011, following successful benefits for area performers facing catastrophic situations, Eric brought to us the idea of creating an emergency fund for theatre artists. That’s how Taking Care of Our Own was born. And now I think we can safely say, summers in Washington are hotter than ever. Not only is the event a lot of fun, it provides critical assistance to the theatre professionals who contribute so much to the community we all call home.
In addition to the Summer Hummer, Taking Care of Our Own is also funded through the increasingly successful Bucket Brigade, in which actors solicit donations during curtain speeches on a rotating schedule of theatres, then pass among the exiting crowd with bright yellow buckets. In 2013 alone, the Bucket Brigade has brought in $35,000 to date.
Distribution of Taking Care of Our Own funds is administered by theatreWashington, adhering to a strict application process, and overseen by an advisory panel of area theatre leaders. Levy commented, “Not only does this work speak directly to theatreWashington’s mission, but it is extraordinarily gratifying to partner with our colleagues to support the theatre community in every way we can. Sometimes that means creating a marketing campaign to bring new audiences into area theatres. And sometimes it means accepting the proceeds from a strip show to lend artists a helping hand.”