“The World Is A Stage” Benefit A Big Success

Saturday was a busy day for the entire Klasen family as we all worked together to put on the benefit show “The World Is A Stage”, a Broadway and International Dancing Variety show to benefit our church’s building fund. I came up with the idea in January when I saw how well tickets were selling for my show at Tucson Estates. I thought why not do something similar here in Sonoita to raise money for our church. I talked to a few people at church and they agreed that it would be good idea. I then started working on recruiting some of the dancers from the Alma Dolores International Dance Center to join the kids and me in putting on the show. I also had to find a venue and caterer. Other parishioners suggested the Elgin Club for the venue and the parishioner owned La Vista De Sonoita for the catering. Once I had a tenative lin-up of dancers l, catering, venue and date planned, I got Steve to design the tickets and playbill. Then I had lots of help from other parishioners in selling tickets. Pat sold tickets at bingo and Janice sold tickets at quilting. Virginia put up signs all around town. I also placed and ad in the local paper promoting the event. Finally I dressed up in costumes and stood outside the Fuel Stop on Thursdays and Fridays telling people about the event and selling tickets.

Saturday, the date of the event finally arrived. We got to the Elgin club at 10:15 where Pat, Pete, Bill and his kids met us to set up the tables and chairs. We the boys and men did the heavy stuff while Savannah worked on silverware setups. Then I headed to Sierra Vista with Savannah for her dance lesson and picked up her friend Jennifer who was also dancing in the show. While driving back from Sierra Vista I got the sad news that one of our parishioners had died on Friday over night. I was a so saddened to hear the news on a day that was otherwise filled with so much joy. She was a huge contributor to our parish, serving as a lector and sacristan for our 8:00 mass. I talked to a few other parishioners and we decided that we would dedicate the evening to her memory.

I picked up a few more things at home and then met Steve and the kids down at the Elgin club to get the final set-ups done for the show. Steve had set up the sound equipment but one of the cords was a little short and since we couldn’t find another cord or extender in out little small town, we ended up just repositioning the speakers and duct-taping one of the speaker wire down. Steve was afraid that it would look a tacky, but with the one solid piece of duct-tape across the length of the wire, it ended up looking fine. My friends from the dance studio arrived around 4:00 and we were able to run through a few of the numbers and determine our entrances and exists. We had a quick snack with them around 5:00 and then prepared for the guest to arrive.

I had hoped that every thing would run with-out a hitch, and though we had most major things taken care of, I had a few areas where my planning hadnot been complete: I had not arranged enough volunteers to serve the desserts, I hadn’t bought enough lemonade mix, I forgot ice, and I had way too many chips. I was lucky enough to have to wonderful ladies step in and serve the desserts, someone ran and got ice, and people made due with the small amount of lemonade that I brought.

But other than those few minor hiccups, the rest of the evening went over very well. Our building committee chair started the evening with a few kind words about our parishioner whom we had lost on Friday night and the dedication of the evening too her.

We waited a few minutes and then I started the show with my song and dance number to New York, New York. Steve was our DJ for evening, which not only meant starting and stopping the CD player at the appropriate times, but adjusting the volume levels on either the microphone or audio tracks. The two solo Flamenco dancers Bernadette and Nori followed me with their dances. We then bridged between Spain and France with my Flamenco/Opera number to a medley of songs from “Carmen”. I had quick change and then performed songs from the musical “Les Miserables.” Sean and Savannah then took us Ireland with a traditional dance to a song by Celtic Women, and then Stacie did her modern Irish dance number to a song by “Bond.” I followed these numbers with a trio of songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Then Savannah took us to the Bronx with her hip hop solo. We ended the first act with “South Pacific/Polynesian” production. After our 15 minute intermission we started our second act with a fitting medley from “Oklahoma”. Most of the movie musical was filmed in Elgin. After our visit to Oklahoma, Sean took us to Texas with his clogging number to “The Big One” by George Strait. We then performed our Norteno competition dance number to “Tololoche” (Only two of the other ladies from that class were able to come, so we needed one more person to fill in so that we would have even number. One of the ladies little brother, had seen us doing the dance in class and filled in with us during practice. He did such a good job we asked him to join us for the show. He did a fantastic job, and the audience was amazed when I told them that he had just learned the dance on Thursday. ) Sean and Savannah followed this dance with their dance to “El Circo”. I then changed into my flapper dress and performed Broadway songs with a 20’s or 30’s theme: “Someone To Watch Over Me”, “Anything Goes”, “Gimme, Gimme” from Throughly Modern Millie, and then finished up with another song by the “Millie” composer called “The Girl in 14G”. Our grand finale for the show was all the dancers doing dances from the Mexican state of Jalisco. Sean and Savannah started us out with “El Jarabe Tapatio”, the rest of us came out and performed “El Son de Gavilliancillo” and “El Son De La Negra.” The audience seemed to enjoy the festive music and the colorful Mexican costumes.

Overwhelmingly, the response from the audience was positive. Pat, who lived in Hawaii for much of her life, commented that Nori’s Polynesian dancings was as good if not better than most dancers she had seen in Hawaii. One man told me that he thought my version of “Memory” was as good as the touring company of Cats he had seen. One of the ladies from the church in Patagonia asked if we could come and do something similar for the church fund raiser there in the fall. I’m just thrilled be able to use my time and talent to help our church.

The most exciting part of the evening was learning that we had surpassed our fund raising goal. I had hoped that after expenses we might raise around $1000 for the building fund. I was so excited to learn that we had raised a little over $1300 to go into our building fund.