From Friday, Feb. 5 to Sunday, Feb. 7, the West Chester University Theatre will host the “When You Believe” 16th Annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Benefit in the Mainstage Theatre in the E.O. Bull Center.

At the door, University Theatre is requesting a minimum of a $5 donation. Tickets are also available online for $6 at wcupa.edu/TheatreDanceTickets.
On Friday, Feb. 5, the show will take place at 8 p.m. On Saturday, Feb. 6, the show will take place at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. On Sunday, Feb. 7, the show will take place at 2 p.m.

The show will be cabaret style with two acts, including musical numbers, dances, skits, singing, sign language performed to music and more.

“Some highlights include the Bella’s World Championships’ performance from ‘Pitch Perfect 2,’ ‘American Idiot’ from the hit Broadway musical ‘American Idiot,’ ‘Fight Song’ by Rachel Platten, and the ever-popular ‘Cell Block Tango’ from ‘Chicago,’ plus many other scenes and musical numbers,” said University Theatre president Chelsea Barnett.

According to the event’s Facebook page, “Broadway Cares/Equity Fights writes grants and provides support for people affected by the AIDS virus.”

An hour before each performance, a silent auction will occur. People can bid on Broadway collectibles, gift cards to local businesses and more. As with the ticket sales, all proceeds will benefit Broadway Cares.

Members of University Theatre have been rehearsing for this show since the beginning of November. In October, auditions were held.

Alyssa Thomas, a sophomore nutrition major, said she chose to audition for the show because she likes the cause.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to perform in university theatre,” said Thomas.

Other than a faculty advisor, this is a completely student-run benefit.

“It’s a great way for us to take what we learn in the department and put it to practical use,” said Barnett.

For the audition, students had to sing 32 bars of music. They were also taught 30 seconds of choreography to “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich” by Lady Gaga, which they then had to perform. Those auditioning had to choose a scene to perform from a pre-selected play.

The event was a no-cut benefit, meaning everyone who auditioned was selected. Of the 60 or so students who auditioned, around 55 have continued with rehearsals and will be performing in the benefit.

Barnett said, “Our hope with this year’s benefit is to not only raise our goal of $8,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, but to also raise awareness of this horrible virus that is affecting so many people. Sometimes the severity of these diseases gets overlooked with all of the other horrible things that are being introduced into this world every year, but with this benefit we are able raise awareness by having a good time and doing what we love most.”

In addition, Barnett said, “We hope students, faculty and friends will attend to enjoy a great night of student produced theatre and to support a good cause.”

Theresa Kelly is a fourth-year student majoring in English literature secondary education.  TK780615@wcupa.edu

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