Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Smile Train Shows - Final Tally

We interrupt this farming blog to bring you an important update: At long last, the numbers (online donations, checks, Jars of Pain, tickets, etc.) are all in and we have the final number for the 2012 Smile Train Improv Benefit Shows:


Jars of Pain
That's enough to fund surgeries for 16+ kids! This beats last year by nearly $1400. We - meaning Steve Loukas and I - really extended our efforts for the fifth annual event. What began with one troupe performing one night at one theater now involves 55 performers in seven shows at two theaters. 

Despite a rough economy, people were unbelievably generous, especially with the Jars of Pain. I found a $100 bill stuck in to one of the jars not once, not twice but three times! Incredible. It was a glorious week - made me a tad misty, I tell ya. (Exhausted too - I slept for a week when I got back to the farm.)

See? Laughter = Smiles. Just like we said.
Since we started this event back in 2008, our donation number has increased but this year goes far beyond what we've ever done. All total, our shows have raised over $12,000 dollars and provided enough surgeries for approximately 48+ kids. 

Um, Cups of Pain?
It would be difficult to individually list all the people who helped with the Smile Train event but here are just a few who really came on board with spirit and enthusiasm:

Dave Johnson, Bob Wells and Colin Elliott at the Avenue Theater: Our Smile Train home base. We get so much love and support here, we'd be lost without them. Also, this year, Dave got the Chicken Lips gang back together (plus some whipped cream) and made me laugh the hardest. Well done!

Bob and Dave up front, with the gang.
Becky and Steve Palmeri at Spark Theater: Not only did they provide a beautiful theater in the Santa Fe Arts District but they generously donated 100% of the ticket sales. We're already excited to work with them in 2013.

Rodents of Unusual Size: It began with this wacky group of vermin and this year, they kicked off the week with their hilarious performance. Thanks to Ben, Joe, Tara and Deletta who braved the live mousetraps, once again... (all together now) for the children.

Blu Iron Photography: Blu's inspired train-themed photography shots were on sale at several shows and he generously donated 40% of sales proceeds to the cause. Thanks, Blu!

Sarah Kirwin: She is the talented force behind the wildly successful 'Gay V. Str8t' - our first ever sold out show!  We had folks standing, sitting and crying with laughter at this decidedly UN-family friendly performance - an annual highlight.

Can you tell the gays from the straights?
Jordan Doll: He opened the Wednesday night show with his awesome routine - nice to have our stand-up cousins represent.

Intentionally Left Blank & Out of the Basement: These two talented groups put on a dynamic show, ending with the public humiliation of the Mark Smith. Too fun.

ILB and Out of the Basement
A Wild Smile: Our very first sponsor! We're so pleased that the same folks who provide a lively and fun (yes, fun - check out their site) dental experience for kids recognized our kindred spirits. We hope to see them back again in 2013. 

Alyssa Disalle and Kayla Kempfer: For being my comedy home girls and just making me feel loved, in general.

Homegirls Alyssa & Kayla

Lisa Friedman: My BFF since the Dark Ages, she's also the best damn graphic designer I know. When I approached her with a logo request, she came through with a zillion beautiful ideas, as always. I so appreciate her talent, patience and friendship. With this new logo, I feel like we've finally grown up!

Howard Semones: For being such an incredible maestro in the booth and then being a gifted performer on stage. Most of all, for being the person who hooked up with the Denver improv community way back in olden times.

King Howard
Sarah Funsch: This woman went above and beyond what we asked of her. If you attended one of the shows and won some awesome gift cards, tickets or other fun schwag, you have Sarah to thank for it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I owe her dinner, drinks or a maybe a diamond-encrusted hair clip.

Sarah, our Fairy Godmother, handing out goodies.
Molly Kirkpatrick: My brave and diligent assistant scored us our very first sponsor (see above) and basically worked her butt off talking up the event at First Friday and all over town. When I threw her into the improv warm-up circle backstage, she took on that challenge too. Atta, girl! Everyone should have a Molly in their lives.

Last but not least, I'm so grateful for my partner on this event, Steve Loukas, the engineer who basically runs the train. As I said, every year, I'm afraid he'll jump off this crazy ride but he charges on ahead. Thank God for him, truly. He nails down show dates, gets the theaters set up, herds troupes and performers and prints all the tickets. I'd be lost without him on this event and it would not be nearly enough fun because - on top of all this - he's FUNNY.

Props to the man.
Sarah, Steve and me - The Team.
My deepest gratitude to all the performers for sharing their comedic talents and enabling a new life for so many deserving kids around the world. It means more to me than I can ever express through a keyboard.

Also, I'm starting an award. This year's winner of Most Committed to a Scene goes to Chris Gropp, who didn't hesitate doing push-ups and sit-ups on behalf of poor Taurean, who was merely strapped in for the ride. Honestly, you had to see it to believe it - the audience was in absolute hysterics. It was awe-inspiring:

I do hope we see everyone again in 2013, where we will aim to outdo ourselves once again with some semi-organized tomfoolery on behalf of Smile Train

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