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Elmsford Theater Performs 'Show Boat' For Kids In Institutions

From left, Jessica Tucci, Lisa Tiso and Ginny Baisi are the coordinators of The Children’s Free Matinee at Westchester Broadway Theatre.
From left, Jessica Tucci, Lisa Tiso and Ginny Baisi are the coordinators of The Children’s Free Matinee at Westchester Broadway Theatre. Photo Credit: Pia Haas

ELMSFORD, N.Y. -- For the past 40 years, the Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford has donated a matinee performance of one of its mainstage productions each year to the children residing in institutions in Westchester County.

This year the children will see the new musical production of "Show Boat.” The audience will include youths from Andrus Children’s Center, Children’s Village, Green Chimneys, Sunshine Children’s Home, Hawthorne Cedar Knolls, Pleasantville Cottage School, Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center, Lincoln Hall, Putnam Associated Resource Center, Cardinal McClosky Home and Diagnostic Center in Pleasantville.

There will be over 400 children and chaperones attending this performance on Friday, Jan. 13, at 1 p.m. About 16,500 children and chaperones have attended since the program began. The children range in age from 5-18.

Some of the children reside in the institutions due to physical or emotional disabilities, where their emotional, behavioral, school and family difficulties can be assessed. Others live in residential treatment centers that offer long-term care and schooling.

Each of the homes is contacted by a staff member of the theater, and a need of the institution is met by the donation of gifts, which are presented at the end of the performance. Proceeds for the gift donations come from audiences during the holiday season. These gifts include computers, color printers, digital cameras, video cameras, TVs, VCRs, DVD players, microwave ovens, stereo systems, and video games.

In years past, a couple of unique requests came from several of the homes. A rehabilitation center requested eight strollers, while another requested a pool table.

The purpose for the donated performance is to give children residing in institutions a chance to see a fully staged musical show for free. At the intermission ice cream, cookies and sodas are provided.

The reaction of the children and the appreciation of the staff are the reasons owners Bill Stutler and Bob Funking continue to donate this special performance and fill the gift requests year after year.

For more information, visit www.broadwaytheatre.com .

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