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Big Idea Theatre staff hopes to offset theft with holiday fundraiser

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For a matter of months, the company members of the 5-year-old Big Idea Theatre have been prepping for its Dec. 22 holiday fundraising event – a yuletide party that includes a live reenactment of a Rod Serling-penned “Twilight Zone” episode, dance performances courtesy of local studios and choreographers, food and drink, and a silent auction for such gift items as Big Idea season passes, bottles of wine and a Cheesecake Factory gift certificate.

Being a nonprofit arts agency, such planned parties are necessary to keep doors open and creditors at bay, said Mahoney.

So when persons unknown broke into the theater’s Del Paso Boulevard offices over the weekend and absconded with a computer and a cash box, the importance of a full house of open wallets for the already-planned fundraiser became even more important.

“We were very saddened by it,” said company spokeswoman Shannon Mahoney of the robbery which she surmised had to occur between 11 p.m. Saturday night and 9 a.m. Sunday morning. “It was pretty devastating to walk into the theater Sunday and see all that had been taken.”

Some $1,000 was stolen, said Mahoney, who noted that it’s not standard practice to leave any money in the theater’s office,

“That’s money that would have ordinarily funded the production of a show,” she added.

It was another blow for the critically acclaimed troupe, which suffered flooding during that same weekend.

“One of the reasons we even came in as early as we did Sunday morning was to clean up the water that had created a little swimming pool for our ‘Love’s Labor;s Lost’ cast,” said Mahoney, referring to the company’s recently closed comedy.

Last year’s inaugural fundraising event was a sell-out, said Mahoney, who has her fingers crossed for a similarly well-attended event Saturday.

“Everyone has been working really hard for this one night,” she said of Saturday’s 7 to 10 p.m. event.

The cast – Ashley Lucas (bagpiper), Jamie Kale (ballerina), Christina Clem (clown), Gregory Smith (hobo), Walt Thompson (major), Jeff Kohlhelpp (Rod Serling) –  will perform an adaptation of Serling’s 1961 “Twilight Zone” teleplay “Five Characters in Search of an Exit,” a seasonal offering that features one of the series’ trademark O. Henry-style twist endings.

Company member Wade Lucas directs.

Mahoney said she hoped to produce more playlets from “The Twilight Zone” canon in support of future fundraisers. “They’re fun, first of all,” she said, “and, second, it’s stuff that’s never been seen on our stage before. It gives the community an opportunity to see something different. Plus, it’s easier for actors to commit to a one-evening production rather than five weeks of rehearsal and a five-week run."


WHAT: The Big Idea Theatre second annual holiday fundraiser, featuring a performance of Rod Serling’s “Five Characters in Search of an Exit,” dance pieces, food and beverages and a silent auction

WHEN: 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 (performances at 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.)

WHERE: Big Idea Theatre, 1616 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento, Calif.

TICKETS: $25 online, $30 at the door; call (916) 960-3036, or go online at bigideatheatre.com

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