When Shani Ferry learned that two of her close friends were struggling with breast cancer, the local actress decided to help by doing what she knows best — putting on a show.
She and nine other area vocalists will give a benefit performance of Broadway for Busts: A Cabaret for Cancer at 7 p.m. June 30 at Barlow Community Center in Hudson.
Stow resident Ferry came up with the idea for the show as a way to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk to fight breast cancer. She’ll walk beside her best friend, Chrissie Travis Cleghorn of Broken Arrow, Okla., in the Chicago event Aug. 10-12. Cleghorn was diagnosed with breast cancer in February and the young mother went through a double mastectomy.
To make matters worse, Ferry’s college friend, Sherilyn Gronewold Bouwens of Seaside, Calif., was diagnosed with breast cancer just one week later and went through a double mastectomy and chemo. The women performed with Ferry throughout childhood and college, so now she’ll be performing and walking 60 miles in their honor.
When Ferry found out that Canton actress Stephanie Newport Cargill was doing the Komen 3-Day in Cleveland Aug. 3-5, the women joined forces for the benefit. Logistics are being spearheaded by Dawn Yamokoski of Hudson, a regular in Actors’ Summit productions who also runs Unknown Theatre Company, which will present the show.
“To have these two young women who are mothers have to go through this at this age , it just really hit home,” Ferry said of her friends fighting breast cancer. “Why don’t I sing and dedicate this performance to them?”
More women stepped forward, including actresses Lisa Marie Schueller, Rachel Maria Anderson and Heather Hersh. Emma Picht, a Miller South eighth-grader from Hudson, also asked to perform. Most of the performers have been touched by cancer through a family member or friend, including Emma, whose mother, Rebecca, has chronic myelogenous leukemia.
The evening will include a cabaret of Broadway tunes as well as a performance by Evie and Stephen Morris in the duo Eve ’n’ Stephen, which will take place during the silent auction. Evie, known for her keyboard playing at Actors’ Summit, Weathervane and Porthouse Theatre, also will sing in the cabaret.
Eric Pickering, co-owner of Epiphany gift shop in Hudson, will emcee and sing. He was an award-winning cabaret singer in New York.
Ferry said the outpouring of local support has been amazing, from local businesses that have made auction donations to theater friends who are helping to promote the event, including Neil Thackaberry and MaryJo Alexander of Actors’ Summit.
“Our performers have agreed to volunteer their time and talents for this cause, and we have thousands of dollars of merchandise donated for the silent auction,” Yamokoski said. “We are having a fantastic time putting this together, knowing that we are making a difference.”
Cost is $15 in advance or $20 at the door. See www.broadwaybusts.com or buy tickets at Epiphany at First and Main in Hudson. For information, call 234-738-4485.
Proceeds will be split among the Chicago and Cleveland Komen 3-Day Walks as well as the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, the charity of Yamokoski’s choice. She is performing in honor of her grandfather, Harry Sniadak, her husband’s grandfather, Charles Yamokoski, and his aunt, Susan Keck. Cargill will perform and walk in memory of both her aunt and her husband Michael's mother.
New World shows
Three performances remain for New World Performance Laboratory’s Studio 2 production of A Couple of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians, an area premiere that the theater says is a hilarious, dark contemporary work. Presented by the Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture, the work by Polish playwright Dorota Maslowska tells the story of a drug-induced, wild road trip across Poland.
Maslowska, a literary sensation in Poland, deals with the challenges that people face with identity, class and xenophobia. In her story, a Polish TV actor in disguise and a poverty-stricken pregnant mother end up hijacking cars, terrorizing drivers and causing mayhem. The playwright also deals with the theme of poverty being treated as something exotic.
The play is translated into English by Benjamin Paloff. It ran for two years in Warsaw and has had English-language productions in London, Chicago, New York, Prague and Sydney.
New World Performance Laboratory co-artistic director James Slowiak is the director. Remaining performances will be 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday at the theater’s new home at the Balch Street Theatre, 220 S. Balch St., Akron. Cost is $10, with two-for-one tickets on Thursday. Call 330-867-3299 or see www.brownpapertickets.com.
Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or email@example.com.