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Lemonade Fund Variety Show

Posted By TBA Staff, Wednesday, December 09, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, December 09, 2015

By Connery Morano

When it comes to accomplishing any goal–big or small–perhaps no one understands the value of working together more deeply than theatre practitioners. Last night at PianoFight, Bay Area artists came out to support each other at the Lemonade Fund Variety Show, a fundraiser for the Mary Mason Memorial Lemonade Fund; the fund provides confidential support to theatre practitioners suffering from terminal or life-threatening illnesses. 

Magician Ken Sonkin performs at the Lemonade Fund Variety Show, a fundraiser for the Mary Mason Memorial Lemonade Fund held on Dec. 8 at PianoFight. Photo: Connery Morano


As Meryl Shaw, one of the evening’s special guests, so eloquently put it, “Bay Area Theatre is not just a community, but a tribe.” Shaw went on to remind us of the critical time in Bay Area history that led to the formation of the Mary Mason Lemonade Fund; many in attendance reflected on our own loved ones who have lost their lives to AIDS, breast cancer and other illnesses. We were touched by the stories of those we’ve lost, and inspired to celebrate them, and to lend a hand to our fellow theatre practitioners currently fighting their own battles.

Sarah Judge performing original songs at the Dec. 8 fundraiser. Photo: Connery Morano


Last night’s variety show, the latest event in the Lemonade Fund’s 20-year history, was a show to remember. The artists that generously donated their time included Juliana Lustenader and Sarah Judge, who each treated the audience to moving acoustic performances of original songs. In boisterous fashion, Dalia Vidor brought us a truly one-of-a-kind clown act, coaxing Theatre Bay Area’s own executive director Brad Erickson on stage for an informative lesson in where baby balloon animals come from. Ken Sonkin pulled some magic tricks out of his trunk, eliciting both laughs and gasps—even putting a sword through the neck of one brave audience participant (who, thankfully, left the stage unscathed). Bay Area puppeteer Nick Knave gave us a rousing narrative of a puppet that took the wrong path in life, in a performance with no end of twists and turns. Florida Larkin and Samuel Prince gave us an exciting sneak peek into Musical Cafe’s Ladykillers, with an anxious yet sweet song about worst-case scenarios. The evening came to a poignant close with a preview of Custom Made Theatre Co.’s Voices of the Quilt—a new musical inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The three songs performed by LaMont Ridgell gave attendees an exciting glimpse of what promises to be an emotionally charged show.


LaMont Ridgell performing songs from Custom Made Theatre Co.'s upcoming production of Voices of the Quilt. Photo: Connery Morano


It was an evening that highlighted the diversity and talent of the Bay Area, as well as a true display of the devotion our little tribe feels for one another. Thanks to the guest artists who gave their time and hosts Megan Briggs and PianoFight who brought us together, audience members reached into their pockets and donated hundreds of dollars for the Mary Mason Lemonade Fund.

The Mary Mason Lemonade Fund is always accepting donations. If you’d like to donate, or to get more information about the fund, click here

Connery Morano is an intern at Theatre Bay Area, and an undergraduate at San Francisco State University. 

Tags:  Mary Mason Lemonade Fund 

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