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Dearborn art groups present entertainment-and-cuisine fundraiser for theater

The Feb. 1 Saturday Night Live benefit is intended to raise funding to pay for the updates to the interior of the 2,101-seat Michael A. Guido Theater.
The Feb. 1 Saturday Night Live benefit is intended to raise funding to pay for the updates to the interior of the 2,101-seat Michael A. Guido Theater.Photo courtesy of city of Dearborn

Dearborn arts organizations are putting on Saturday Night Alive tomorrow night to benefit the Michael A. Guido Theater.

The city's musical and artistic organizations are partnering to present this 7 p.m. Saturday lineup of entertainment and cuisine at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave. The funds raised will be used to pay for improvements updating the 12-year-old Michael A. Guido Theater.

“One thing that we'll work on first in replacing will be the sound and lighting systems, because there has been a lot of advances in technology since the theater was built in 2001, “ said EmmaJean Woodyard, the executive director of the Dearborn Community Fund. “That equipment has also undergone a lot of use in that time, as a rough estimate we did recently found that including everyone on stage and in the audiences at city performances, and at our theater rentals, over 900,000 people have come through the theater—that's a lot of use!

“Enhancing our sound and visual elements of performances is part of an on-going effort to keep our theater viable, and enjoyable for both the audience and performers both,” she said.

The Feb. 1 gala will start in the theater lobby at 7 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres and music performed by a quartet from the Dearborn Youth Symphony. There will also be an “Artistic Expressions” raffle featuring unique artwork by local artists.

“What makes the raffled prize unique is it's original, most of what we raffle will be one-of-a-kind pieces donated by local artists, though there will be some manufactured items by regional companies,” Woodyard said. “The Padzieski Art Gallery will be open so people can see the annual juried photography exhibit.”

At 8 p.m., a collage concert will start in the theater. During the one-hour concert, the Dearborn Symphony Orchestra, Vanguard Voices, Dearborn Community Chorus, Motor City Brass Band, Dearborn Public Schools Honors Choir and Players Guild of Dearborn will be performing seven-minute solo numbers.

“And then at the end they all will get together on stage for the finale,” Woodyard said. “It's usually pretty inspirational to have them all on stage at once.”

At 9 p.m., the afterglow in Studio A will have a dessert buffet. Guests can dance to the rhythms of Edsel Ford Jazz Band, and the party continues at 9:30 p.m. as the guests move into theater lobby, where the Dearborn Big Band will be performing.

A cash bar will be open throughout the evening in the theater lobby. The food will be provided for Saturday Night Alive by “a combination” of caterers, according to Woodyard, who expressed pleasure at how all of the partner organizations “have come together to make this event so special.

“We do have the center's preferred caterers providing food, but we've invited other caterers in our area as well,” Woodyard said. “This is the first time we're doing Saturday Night Alive, and it's always a challenge the first time out.”

Several community-based organizations are presenting Saturday Night Alive in partnership with the DCF. These presenting partners that call the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center “home” include the Dearborn Community Arts Council, Dearborn Symphony, Dearborn Youth Symphony, Dearborn Public Schools, Friends of the Dearborn Symphony, Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn Community Chorus and Vanguard Voices.

Representing these nonprofit arts and musical organizations and groups on the planning committee (which is collaborating with the DCF to present the Saturday night gala): John Sczomak from the Players Guild of Dearborn and Dearborn Recreation Commission, Johanna Seidel from the Dearborn Recreation Commission, Sandy Butler from the Dearborn Symphony Orchestra, Margaret Schaefer from the Friends of the Dearborn Symphony, Tony Strayley and Julia Smith from the Dearborn Youth Symphony, Ralph Valdez from the Dearborn Community Arts Council, Michele Kress from HFCC, Martin Zbosnik from the Dearborn Recreation and Parks Department's theater-cultural arts division, G. Kevin Dewey from Vanguard Voices and HFCC; Lisa Meyer from Dearborn Public Schools, and Woodyard from DCF.

The honorary chairs for Saturday Night Alive are Mayor John B. O'Reilly Jr. and First Lady Christine O'Reilly; Kari Guido, Michael A. Guido Jr. and Anthony Guido; and Donald Kosch and Mary Kosch. The special guest host is Mike Mosallam, a 1997 Dearborn High School graduate who now acts and produces.

To purchase the $25 tickets for Saturday Night Alive; visit the theater box office, call (313) 943-2354, email online@www.dearborntheater.com or visit www.dearborntheater.com. The tickets are $30 at the door, and the ticket price includes no additional service charge (the ticket price is also tax deductible). All proceeds will benefit the 1,201-seat Michael A. Guido Theater.

For more information on the theater or the gala, visit www.dearborntheater.com or call the DCF office at (313) 943-5478.