Stories & Cast Interviews
A Director's Insight!
Victoria Bussert, the director of our upcoming production of BUDDY, could not have put it more eloquently:
"Buddy Holly was labeled a "giant" on one of his album covers - an odd description for a skinny, slightly gawky young man from Lubbock, Texas. He did not inspire the awe and fan insanity that Elvis Presley did; nor was he able, like Chuck Berry, to stand above the fray and comment upon it. His hold on his many fans may be explained by his simple humanity. Though he was a star, he still sounded and looked like a regular guy, refusing to allow himself or his music to be altered or glamorized. Buddy Holly's life was an enactment of the American dream, a real life rags to riches story. His music was fresh and new and spoke directly to his own generation. This was music that rallied against the artificiality of pop; it was a return to writing that was more basic and sincere, music that had the emotion, energy and spontaneity that modern adult life seemed to lack. This is a story that deserves to be told. Buddy was a brilliantly gifted and influential musician as well as an intriguing and complicated young man who remained true to himself in every aspect of his short life. Buddy Holly may not have been a giant, but in many ways he was a hero."
Some footage of Buddy himself! Oh, Boy!
Special Performance for Children
For the past 33 years, Westchester Broadway Theatre has donated a matinee performance of one of its mainstage productions each year to the children residing in the area institutions in Westchester County. This year the children will be treated to our new musical production of "PHANTOM”.
THIS YEAR'S INVITES INCLUDE Andrus Children’s Home, St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Center, Green Chimneys, Edenwald, Hawthorne Cedar Knolls, Pleasantville Cottage School, Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center, Lincoln Hall, Putnam Associated Resource Center, Cardinal McClosky Home and Diagnostic Center in Pleasantville. There will be over 400 children and chaperones attending this performance. Approximately 13,700 children & chaperones have attended since the program began. The children range in age from five up to eighteen. Some of the children reside in the institutions due to physical or emotional disabilities, where their emotional, behavioral, school and family difficulties can be assessed. Others live in residential treatment centers which offer long-term care and schooling. Each of the homes is contacted by a staff member of the theatre, and a need of the institution is met by the donation of gifts which are presented at the end of the performance. Proceeds for the gift donations come from our generous audiences during the holiday season. These gifts include: Computers, Color Printers, Digital Cameras, Video Cameras, TVS, VCRs, DVD Players, Microwaves, Stereo Systems, Super Nintendo Games, etc. In the past years a couple of unique requests came from several of the homes. St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Center requested eight strollers, while another requested a Pool Table.
The purpose for the donated performance is to give children residing in institutions a chance to see a fully staged musical show free of charge. At the intermission ice cream, cookies and sodas are provided. Each year we are gratified by seeing how involved the children become with the experience of watching live theatre. The reaction of the children and the appreciation of the staff is the reason the owners Bill Stutler and Bob Funking continue to donate this special performance, and fill the gift requests year after year.
Other contributions in 2007 included Gift Certificates totaling in the amount of $30,000 donated to local charities, schools and other deserving organizations. $4500 was raised for The Coalition To Salute America's Heroes and $10,000 Donated to Canines For Combat Veterans (NEADS).
Canines for Combat Veterans
Veteran Chris Strickland and his dog Ruthie, Frank Morganthaler, Sheila O'Brien (NEADS Executive Director) Bill Stutler & Bob Funking (WBT Owners).
On Friday, January 11, 2008, Westchester Broadway Theatre donated $10,000. to the program "Canines for Combat Veterans", which was initiated by NEADS, a service dog training organization located in West Boylston, Mass. This program provides service dogs for wounded veterans. Most of those veterans are victims of the current conflict in Iraq/Afghanistan. The majority of these wounded vets have suffered amputation, spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI) and need assistance. Their service dog can retrieve items, open doors, turn lights on and off, provide balance while the vet is walking and assist the veteran going up and down stairs or getting up from a chair. It takes about 18 months to fully train these service dogs, at a cost of $10,000 per dog. This program does not receive any Federal, State or VA financial assistance and must seek donations to finance the effort.
The Eastchester American Legion Post 979 and VFW Post 2285 were the first contributions to the Canines for Combat Veterans Fund in Westchester. Frank Morganthaler and Bob Foster, each a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War Posts have valiantly led the fundraising effort to pair wounded combat veterans with trained service dogs. Westchester Broadway Theatre, with the help of our generous patrons, is proud to join the effort by sponsoring a dog for a deserving veteran! Contact NEADS at 978-422-9064. or firstname.lastname@example.org. The website: www.neads.org
To help those who are unable to afford the cost of a service animal, we created a guide that breaks down the total costs of obtaining a service dog, and provide a list of several alternative methods for financing these costs..