On Saturday, multiple Park Estates homes were transformed into Broadway stages as Musical Theatre West (MTW) hosted its annual fundraiser, Broadway in the Park—an evening under the stars in one of Long Beach’s most dazzling neighborhoods.
Over 500 guests feasted on an elegant dinner, participated in live and silent auctions, and enjoyed previews of upcoming MTW productions performed in the glorious backyards of Park Estates homes. Past MTW performers, who have graced the Long Beach Carpenter Performing Arts Center stage, serenaded audiences with tunes from the theater company’s 2018-19 upcoming shows, “Bright Star,” “Elf,” “Oliver,” “Catch Me If You Can,” and Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
“It's just a really fun night—the food is really good, and everything is set when you get there,” said Janis Krantz of J&L Jewelry in Long Beach. “You see a lot of people from the city and get to enjoy the brilliant actors and singers from MTW.”
The backyard pool of one particular Park Estates home, for example, was used as the stage to preview “The Little Mermaid,” coming to the Carpenter Performing Arts Center next summer. Ariel and her mermaid friends splashed around and sang popular songs from the Disney classic—much to the delight of guests.
Eleven-year-old sensation Travis Burnett played a part in transporting the Long Beach Park Estates neighborhood into a fantasyland, singing “Where is Love” from the musical “Oliver!” and “There is a Santa Claus,” from the holiday musical “Elf.”
“The acts were great, all the actors who performed their songs were fabulous, and the mermaids running around and swimming in the pool were darling. It was so exciting!” Krantz said. “And that little kid who sang [songs from “Oliver!” and “Elf”] was so, so good. What a cutie! He gave us all goosebumps.”
The goal of the evening was to raise money to help underwrite the cost of the MTW season, and in particular, the theater’s youth outreach programs.
“For the first time ever, 100 percent of all the expenses were underwritten by generous donors, allowing the evening to be a total profit for MTW,” said Paul Garman, executive director of MTW.
The big-ticket, live auction items included a four-night stay in Lake Arrowhead and dinner for ten at The Miller House, the home of CSULB President Dr. Jane Close Conoley.
The silent auction portion of the evening brought in over $35,000 from 250 items, beating last year’s record high, according to Garman. Janis Krantz was one of the lucky winners at the silent auction, garnering a festive theater purse.
“The whole evening makes you want to buy season tickets,” Krantz said.
Altogether, the 20th Annual Broadway in the Park raised the most money to date in the theater company’s history, netting approximately $200,000 for the theater’s education and outreach programs. The proceeds will help over 17,000 children and young adults find a passion for the theater arts through acting classes, workshops, and by funding transportation to bring students from Long Beach schools and summer camps to see special matinee performances.
For more information about Musical Theatre West, to buy tickets, and to get involved, visit http://musical.org/