Behind the scenes at Orlando Shakespeare Theater

‘Les Mis’ Steps Off the Stage and Into the Community

Hey blog readers,

At this point in the run, many of you have probably already seen our current musical production, Les Misérables–maybe even more than once. We’ve enjoyed great success with this show, surpassing our ticket goals and completely selling out halfway through the run. (Stand by seating is still available. Click here for details.) As exciting as this is, what’s even more exciting is what has been happening when the actors step OFF the stage.

The themes of hunger, poverty, and grief in Les Mis have reminded us of the importance of giving back to the community. We’ve partnered with a few different organizations to do just that!

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida (SHFBCF)
photo (25)Throughout the month of September, food banks across the country participated in Hunger Action Month by standing up for hunger relief and the 1 in 6 people in the US that struggle with hunger every day. Second Harvest supplied us with big red bins to collect non-perishable food items in the lobby prior to each performance. The response was tremendous! Thanks to YOU, our Les Mis actors and Theater staff will drop off over six bins worth of food to the food bank this week.

SHFBCF will distribute our donated goods to approximately 550 local nonprofit feeding programs throughout Central Florida. Last year, the organization distributed nearly 64 million pounds of grocery products – the equivalent of more than 53 million meals. To learn more about this great charity visit: www.FeedHopeNow.org.

Christian Service Center of Central Florida
One partner program that receives food from Second Harvest is the Christian Service Center, which hosts the “Daily Bread” program 6 days a week, offering nourishing lunches to individuals in need–free of charge, with no questions asked. Last week, members of the Les Mis cast and crew and our Marketing Staff joined with other volunteers to prepare and serve meals to families and individuals at the Center’s Downtown Orlando location.

DailyBread_1This experience was eye-opening, to say the least. Each one of us present were moved and humbled, and plan to return to the Center for volunteer opportunities in the future. Want to get involved? Click here to see how! For more info www.christianservicecenter.org.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA)
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s foremost industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. As HIV/AIDS is an issue that remains close to the theater community’s heart, the success of Les Mis created an important opportunity to show our support. Our audiences can contribute to this important organization by dropping their loose change in red buckets held by the actors as they exit the Theater. So far Orlando Shakes patrons have raised over $8,500–that’s HUGE!

In 2014, BC/EFA has awarded over $5.6 million to more than 450 HIV/AIDS and family service agencies across the country, including the Central Florida Haven of Hope Ministries in Orlando. You can also donate online at www.broadwaycares.org/donate.

OST-LesMis-Hunsacker3

Michael Hunsaker and Tim Quartier (photo by Tony Firriolo)

As Les Mis continues through October 12, we are reminded each night about the importance of charity. We see it when the Bishop gives the convict Jean Valjean a second chance and when a restored Valjean agrees to care for the dying Fantine’s child. Whether it’s volunteering or a simple act of kindness towards a stranger, I hope our audiences are inspired to look for opportunities to give back in their communities.

As Victor Hugo wrote, “To love another person is to see the face of God”.

Shakespearely Yours,

Melissa Landy, PR Coordinator

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