Tri-State Theater

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

What is the "Pay It Forward Anti-Benefit?"

I received an email from my pal Bruce Rous talking about an unusual event coming up soon. Here's what he says:
I am excited to tell you about a new performance I'm working on: It's the Pay It Forward Anti-Benefit.

Weird name, right? What it is - a performance from some amazing performers, all accompanied by me, your favorite former Broadway player, turned piano teacher! It's a collaborative effort presented by theatre gym (a group of theatre folk, who work on honing their performance skills every week) and Highlawn Presbyterian Church (where I serve as organist).

We figured there were so many worthwhile benefits each month. However, each one requires a good deal of cash for the audience member to be admitted. And the cash goes to a specific charity. But what about those folks who don't have $20 or $30 to offer their local charities? Might they also want to help charities/worthwhile causes, while they don't have that kind of cash to spend?

We came up with the idea of an "Anti-Benefit," for which the audience members don't have to spend money. We're actually going to pay $1 to each audience member who attends (only for the first 100 reservations, but after that all audience members will be admitted free of charge). We're paying people to come hear us sing! Now that's a deal!

There is a catch. With that $1 comes some responsibility. You are requested to "pay it forward," that is, do something nice for someone else. Something that might help change someone's life. Here's a blurb from our Facebook post: Rather than the typical benefit, where the audience is charged admission to help to a specific charity, we invite audience members to a cabaret, and pay them $1 for attending!

We give each audience member $1 (only first 100 reservations. All others admitted free of charge). The twist is, it's seed money, they have to pay it forward. How? Only $1?

Here are some ideas:

There's this homeless guy in my town. He collects cans. I started putting my cans in the alley for him. Then I thought, "Hey, he's doing my recycling for me." So I started rolling up a dollar and putting it in one of the cans.

Or, you're a well-connected business person. You take your dollar, and dare your friends to match it - and give the total to your favorite charity.

One lady, who works at MU, says she's going to use her $1 to buy coffee for the parking office, surely the least-appreciated office at MU.

Or you send your dollar to a country where it will feed a child. Or help rebuild. Or to an American place where tragedy has happened.

We invite audience members to share where the dollars have gone via email.


theatre gym and Highlawn Presbyterian Church present:

An “Anti-Benefit” Night of Song
Featuring amazing performers – accompanied by Bruce S. Rous

NOVEMBER 13 – 8:00 p.m.
Highlawn Presbyterian Church
28th Street and Collis Avenue, Huntington, W.Va.

No cost. Only inspiration. WE CAN HELP change the world.

Make reservations by Nov. 10 – fwdpay@gmail.com

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