Staples Players — the award-winning high school theater troupe — teaches teenagers how to act, sing, dance, direct, run lights, and do a thousand other putting-on-a-show-related things.
Including how to raise funds and publicize events.
Once they graduate, many Players alums move on to bigger stages: college, regional theater, even Broadway itself.
But they don’t leave Westport behind. Sometimes they get a chance to return home, show off what they’ve done.
And yes, raise funds for their next project.
This Friday (June 29, 8 p.m.) Gina Rattan and Caley Beretta present a fund-raising concert at Toquet Hall. Proceeds benefit the world premiere of “Sweet Tooth,” a 1-act play opening at the New York International Fringe Festival in August. (It’s about 2 very smart high school seniors about to become step-siblings.)
Gina — a former Players president — directs “Sweet Tooth.” She’s been resident director of Broadway’s “Billy Elliot.”
As if she doesn’t have enough to do, Gina is directing another world premiere this summer. The musical “How Deep is the Ocean” is presented by the New York Musical Theatre Festival. It opens July 12.
This Friday’s fundraiser features current and past Staples Players, singing Broadway and pop standards. Performers include Sally Eidman, Haley Bond, Max Stampa-Brown and Eva Hendricks. Broadway’s Liz Pearce (“Billy Elliot”) will also appear, and a raffle with be held for an actor coaching session with Gina.
“The Staples Players community has been a constant source of artistic inspiration for me for years,” Gina says.
“After a year on a Broadway musical, I’m using the leadership skills and artistic direction I first learned at Staples to produce and direct “Sweet Tooth.
“I’m so excited to be breaking out on my own as a director with a world premiere, but self-producing is daunting. We have to raise all of the money to put on the show.
“I have to raise capital for costumes, scenery, lights, marketing, venue insurance, fire-proofing costumes and scenery — and paying all the artists.
“I’m so excited that current and former Staples Players are coming to their artistic hometown to lend their time and talents to a team of former Players. I couldn’t be more honored and excited for Friday.”
(Tickets for this Friday’s concert are $20 for adults, $15 for students. For more information, email email@example.com. To donate to “Sweet Tooth” via Kickstarter, click here.)