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Musical Theatre University in need of new theatre equipment

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Music Theatre University at the Helene Galen Performing Arts Center, is a nonprofit created by an endowment from Carol Channing years ago to enable professionals to appear in productions with young people seeking training in theatre to give them a real-life experience in theatre production. This is year one for MTU to operate in the desert, housed at the newly-built Rancho Mirage High School. Students from the entire district (covering tens of thousands of students) can participate in this program. The facility is a marvel, with fly space, counterweight systems for raising scenery, full orchestra pit, band rooms, video rooms, costume rooms, and a black box theatre space. The venue just needs more equipment to complete the experience it offers to students serious about pursuing the arts in many forms.

As The Palm Springs Follies will be closing the doors after a successful run of 24 years, they will be selling their used equipment at the end of May. This poses a perfect opportunity for Phil Murphy, former Senior Vice President of Paramount Pictures, and currently lighting designer of many Coachella Valley shows, who wants to help MTU to fulfill their dream.

“I'm working with their technical director to identify items we can fund via donations, then give the items to the school to stay within their policy of they can't buy used equipment directly. The opportunity is too good to let it pass by” says Murphy, “I've dealt with enough used equipment and their pricing over the past four years since retiring from Paramount/CBS to know what we'd be getting is quality at a fair price and no shipping costs - delivered right to the school!”

Three important considerations: (1) Palm Springs Unified School District policy will not allow them to purchase used items; (2) The Follies is closing next month and is selling their inventory of equipment, which constitutes a time crunch; (3) the school will accept used items donated to them (deductible).

Donations are still needed. Persons wanting to join the tour, which is scheduled for April 22 at 1:30pm, would like more info, or want to add to the fund can contact Phil at


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