Wednesday, Jul 02 2014 05:07 PM

Empty Space hits stage for fundraiser

BY STEFANI DIAS Californian assistant lifestyles editor sdias@bakersfield.com

When it comes to fundraisers and theatricality, there is no better inspiration than Broadway. Taking a cue from The Great White Way, The Empty Space brings back its "The Role I Was(n't) Born to Play" this weekend.

The show's creator, Kristina Saldana, said she got the idea last year while browsing Broadway blogs, when she happened upon news of Broadway Backwards, put on by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Related Info

'The Role I Was(n't) Born to Play'

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: The Empty Space, 706 Oak St.

Admission: $20

Information: 327-7529

"It's essentially the theme of our show but on a much grander (and more famous) scale," she wrote in an email.

Last year's musical revue, challenging actors to perform numbers intended for the opposite gender, raised about $2,800, which went to upgrading the theater's security system and replacing tools and equipment that had been stolen during a break-in last summer.

"The response last year was phenomenal on both the audience's reception of it and the actors' desires to be included in it, so we knew immediately we had to bring it back for another round."

The theme of this weekend's show is being kept a bit under wraps, although a peek at the set list, which includes "When She Loved Me" from "Toy Story 2" and "Santa Fe" from "Newsies The Musical," as well as a poster describing the show as magical, leads to speculation it will be Disneyfied.

Saldana said she enjoys the collaborative effort among the cast of 20, including Mariah Bathe, Ellie Sivesind, Taylor Lozano, Victoria Lusk, Perrin Swanson, Lexie Watkins, Jessica Jarvis, Tim Lemons and Lorenzo Salazar.

"I directed and wrote the script, but the characters are based on the people involved in the show, so the cast gets a little bit of wiggle room with how they want to deliver the lines.

"There are a couple of mash-up numbers that I think are just fantastic. The soloists seriously blow my socks off every time. And the group dances are just so much fun you can't help but smile ridiculously the entire time.

The director singled out choreographers and longtime collaborators Shawn Rader and Katie Ann Aquino for what they bring to the show.

"(They) are great dancers, and had fantastic ideas and themes for each of the numbers they helped create."

Proceeds from these performances will go toward the purchase of at least four LED lights, which range from $800 to $1,000 each.

"For this fundraiser, we're hoping to raise about $4,000 to get started. These new LED lights are both energy-efficient and low-heat producing. Normal stage lights can raise the temperature of a room drastically ... especially a space as small as ours."

Along with the show, the theater hosts the returning art show "Too Many Logos II," starting Saturday. Empty Space board members, including Bob Kempf, Kayleigh Peaker, Amy Hall, Jesus Fidel and Porter Jamison, painted works incorporating the theater's logo. Paintings will be auctioned, with opening bids of $100. Prints will be sold for $20, with all proceeds going toward new lighting.

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