A Ritzy Affair

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A fabulous musical review, complete with stunning costumes and talented singers and dancers, is coming to the Ritz Theatre Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28.

But it won't be a national touring company. This time, it's the Ritz Players, top talents from across the local community, who will be putting on the show.

The funds raised by program sponsorships and ticket sales will help fund next year's Greenville Area Arts Council season.

&#8220In the past, we've been having our annual gala and silent auction as our primary fundraiser, but we decided to do something different this year,” said GAAC Executive Director Nancy Idland at the latest meeting of the organization, held last Thursday at the Ritz.

&#8220We had such a tremendous reception to Miss Bobbie's birthday bash and the musical review last year. Once Miss Bobbie (Gamble) said ‘Let's do it, let's put on a show,' we just jumped at the chance.”

Musical numbers from a variety of Broadway shows will be featured in the two-act review, called &#8220Puttin' On the Ritz.”

&#8220This will be an all-singing, all-dancing show. Charlie Kennedy is our musical director and working hard on that aspect of the production - and Miss Bobbie's front bedroom is brimming over with the most wonderful costumes. It's Wardrobe Central,” Idland said.

With all the work going into preparing for the production, the GAAC is seeking financial support from the community.

&#8220Individuals and businesses will have the opportunity to be recognized as either ‘producers,' ‘directors,' or ‘actors' in the beautiful program we have planned for the show,” Idland said.

Here's how you can help:

n For a donation of $250 and up, sponsors get &#8220Producer” status, with prominent recognition in the program; two complimentary tickets to the show and a Special Producer Lapel Ribbon.

n A donation of $100 to $249 earns &#8220Director” status, with prominent recognition in the program and a Special Director Lapel Ribbon.

n A donation of $25 to $100, &#8220Actor” status, earns recognition in the program.

The GAAC board wants to make it clear: &uot;Puttin’ on the Ritz&uot; is a fundraiser and not a regular part of the GAAC subscriber season.

&#8220This fundraising campaign is entirely separate from our annual membership drive. While we have asked in the past for donated items for our annual silent auctions, this year we are seeking monetary donations to help keep the arts alive and well in our city,” Idland explained.

 &#8220As always with our spring fundraisers, the money raised will go to help pay for these wonderful shows we bring to the area each season. These great shows can cost more than $10,000 each – so successful fundraising is absolutely critical.&uot;

GAAC member, Realtor Mary McKinley, said the opportunity for businesses to be featured in the program is both &#8220a great way to support something you believe in – and great advertising.”

Tickets for the show will go on sale at a cost of $20 for adults and $15 for children.

GAAC members will have the opportunity to order their tickets in advance, and tickets will also be available at local outlets such as Grayson's of Greenville and The Pineapple.

&#8220The Ritz holds about 450 people, and we would love to see the theater filled both nights,” Idland said.

Tickets will be sold specifically for either Friday or Saturday night. There will be no reserved seats.

&uot;Come early and claim your place,&uot; said member Mary Ann Hamilton with a grin.

&#8220Puttin' on the Ritz” will be an event you simply won't want to miss, Idland said.

&#8220This is going to be a beautiful, sparkling show.  The costumes feature sumptuous fabrics and fabulous designs. Seamstress Shirley Huff of Modest Apparel is currently making some dresses - the word ‘costumes' do not do them justice. These are gorgeous period gowns.”

GAAC members got a preview of the costumes during their noon meeting at the Ritz Reception Room, where they had the chance to admire a display of lavishly decorated hats, designed and made for the show by Bobbie Gamble and her assistants.

For more information about the show or to order tickets, contact Nancy Idland at 382-8729 or Jill Stallworth at 382-9597.