Denver Actors Fund in Action: Faith Angelise Goins-Simmons

Faith, Syer and Andre Simmons. Courtesy of the Simmons Family.

Financial-aid recipient: Aurora native Faith Angelise Goins-Simmons is playing Lily in the Aurora Fox’s Porgy and Bess. The daughter of Pastors Verdale and Jane Goins is a graduate of Aurora Central High School and the University of Denver, where she was the first person of color to graduate from the Lamont School of Music. She later returned to DU to coach gymnastics. In addition to her many stage credits with companies including the Arvada Center (Hairspray) and the Town Hall Arts Center (Hair), she was a member of the Denver Nuggets’ Super Mascot Rocky Squad. She teaches gospel and praise dance at local churches. Her husband is Andre “Dre Future” Simmons, a futuristic style music artist and producer from Cincinnati who founded Superhero Sound Studios. He is also co-owner of F.S.W., a clothing company focused on motivating positive action through music and unique fashion styles.

Faith Angelise Goins-Simmons in the Aurora Fox's 'Porgy and Bess,' running through Jan. 1. Photo by Christine Fisk

Faith Angelise Goins-Simmons in the Aurora Fox’s ‘Porgy and Bess,’ running through Jan. 1. Photo by Christine Fisk.

Their story: The Simmons family moved into a new house in Centennial last month. One week later, the couple’s otherwise healthy 13-month-old son, Syer Peace Simmons, began to exhibit signs of a cold, and died suddenly later that night. The Arapahoe County Coroner’s office has yet to determine a cause of death, but the police immediately shut down the house and the couple have moved into a reduced-rate hotel nearby while the police investigate whether the house itself had anything to do with the sudden change in the baby’s condition. The Simmonses responded to the unthinkable tragedy by hosting a toy drive for area children, along with a life celebration filled with music and dance in lieu of a traditional funeral. The couple is now facing burial expenses and are seeking an immediate place to live. All told, their expenses are expected to exceed $15,000. A GoFundMe campaign organized by friends has raised about $9,000 to date.

faith-goins-quote-3How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund has made another $4,000 available to help the Goins-Simmons family pay for immediate relocation and burial expenses. This represents the largest gift to date in the history of our non-profit. We are also actively seeking tips on possible relocation options. If you have any leads, please email denveractorsfund@gmail.com

Help us help the Simmons family more: There is obviously much financial uncertainty in this family’s immediate future. If you would like to target a specific donation to help give the Goins-Simmons family some breathing room in the coming weeks and months, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with the Goins-Simmons name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80212. Or use this online donation link. If you use the online option, be sure to designate that your donation is a targeted donation to the Goins-Simmons family. Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of the DAF’s general fund.

Watch the 9News report on this story

A message from Faith Angelise Goins-Simmons:Losing my baby after only 13 months is the most devastating experience I could ever have. I would not wish this pain on anyone. It has shown me how much my son, Syer, touched so many lives in such a way that inspires people to spread love and peace. The Denver Actors Fund has been such a comfort to my husband and me. It has been stressful trying to figure out where we are going to live next, how we are going to pay for memorial expenses, cremation and the long legal battle that is ahead of us. Denver Actors Fund is a blessing to this industry and we cannot fully express our gratitude. Thank you all so very much for the immediate generosity. I would trade every dollar to have my baby back, but the Denver Actors Fund has helped us try to live life after this horrific experience. Love, Peace and Gratitude, from the family of Syer Peace ♡

(Note: At the Denver Actors Fund, anonymity of aid recipients is presumed and fully protected, unless and until the recipient chooses to have his or her story told.)

Faith, Syer and and Andre Simmons. Courtesy of the Simmons Family.

 

ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:

Video above: The Denver Actors Fund receives the Colorado Theatre Guild’s 2016 Community Impact Award.

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. To date the Fund has allocated  $70,000 to artists facing medical need. In addition to financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers offers good neighborly assistance including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at DenverActorsFund.Org.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

To DONATE the Denver Actors Fund:

Please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks):

HOW TO APPLY FOR AID:

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Fill out this brief online form here

MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE BY MAIL:

Send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80212

ATTEND UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND EVENTS:

15676420_633660763485857_5012900835356940649_oSTAGED READING: On the final night of the Obama presidency, come to the staged reading of John Moore’s “Waiting for Obama,” which was recently performed at the New York International Fringe Festival. It’s about one Colorado Springs family that is convinced the President is coming for their guns. And in the world of this play, they just might be right. Thursday, Jan. 19. Social hour at 6 p.m. in The Edge Theatre Company bar, with drinks and snacks. The reading begins at 7. The plays runs 75 minutes. This event is free. Donations will be accepted at the door for the Denver Actors Fund. There are no advance ticket sales. Just join us at 1560 Teller St. in Lakewood. Direct any questions to culturewestjohn@gmail.com.

“DENVER ACTORS FUND PRESENTS …” MONTHLY FILM SERIES: The Alamo daf-alamoDrafthouse Cinema in Littleton hosts a monthly film series in partnership with the Denver Actors Fund featuring films inspired by musicals and plays that are currently being performed by a Colorado theatre company. Next up on Sunday, Jan. 22, is the film Billy Elliot, featuring pre-screening entertainment by cast members from Vintage Theatre Company’s upcoming stage production of Billy Elliot, the Musical. Join us for live musical performances, trivia, ticket giveaways … and the movie! CHOOSE YOUR SEATS NOW!

And coming up after that:

Feb. 16, 18 and 22: Special Fathom Events screening of Newsies, featuring Jeremy Jordan CHOOSE YOUR SEATS NOW

6:30 p.m. Monday, March 13: Jesus Christ Superstar, with entertainment from the Arvada Center CHOOSE  YOUR SEATS NOW

SHOP AT AMAZONSMILE:

Denver Actors Fund

 

BUY A POSTER!
poster1.4_Cross 134 women (and a few token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all supporting the Denver Actors Fund. They cost $20 per poster (20×28). To order, email your quantity to denveractorsfund@gmail.com. We’ll take care of delivery and payment from there.

 

VISIT OUR ONLINE MERCH STORE:

Click here to see how you can buy DAF products such as T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Patrick and Melissa Sawyer

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Financial-aid recipients: Patrick and Melissa Swift-Sawyer are longtime contributors to the Colorado theater community. Patrick’s roots go back 40 years, from performing in melodramas at the historic Imperial Hotel in Cripple Creek (where he grew up) to The Crystal Palace in Aspen, Boulder’s Dinner Theater, The Carousel Dinner Theater (now Midtown Arts Center) in Fort Collins and most recently at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse in Johnstown for the past eight years – six as Food & Beverage Manager and the past two as Production Manager. Roles of note there include playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (opposite his wife as Golde) and Edna in Hairspray, among many others, along with direction of several shows, most recently Evita and South Pacific. Melissa perfromed for more than 250,000 patrons starring in Always…Patsy Cline at the Denver Center’s Galleria Theatre from 1995-99. She has since played many roles at the Candlelight and the Arvada Center. The Denver Post called her voice magnificent and her performance transformative as the racist mother of a pioneering DJ in Memphis. The Sawyers make their home in Westminster with their daughter Abby, a sophomore at Pomona High School.

 Real-life husband and wife team Melissa Swift-Sawyer and Patrick Sawyer play Golde and Tevye in the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse production of "Fiddler on the Roof." (Special to Go) "Fiddler on the Roof," winner of 11 Tony Awards, opened Thursday at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, featuring real-life husband and wife team, Patrick Sawyer and Melissa Swift-Sawyer in the roles of Tevye and Golde. One of the most famous married couples in musical theater history, Tevye and Golde, parents of five daughters, struggle with a hard life in Tsarist Russia in 1905. Tevye, especially, bravely attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. "Fiddler on the Roof" is a timeless classic from a book by Joseph Stein that was based on "Tevye and His Daughters" by Sholem Aleichem. The show opened in September 1964 at the Imperial Theatre, and then in February 1967 at Her Majesty's Theatre. It ran for seven years and nine months and was the first Broadway production to stage over 3,000 performances. The film version was released

The real-life husband-and-wife team of Melissa Swift-Sawyer and Patrick Sawyer played Golde and Tevye in the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Their medical story: For all the work the Sawyers have logged in Colorado theatre, they are both currently unemployed, and the timing could not have been worse for Patrick, who recently underwent emergency triple bypass heart surgery. The Sawyers have no insurance, but thankfully Medicaid will cover the majority of their medical expenses. But deductibles and other real-world living expenses are accruing, and they presently have no incoming income.

How we will help: The Denver Actors Fund has made $2,500 available to the Sawyer family to pay for their initial uncovered medical expenses to date and help with living expenses as Patrick continues to recover.

UPDATE: To help the Sawyers with essential expenses as Patrick’s rehabilitation from heart surgery has continued, the DAF board has agreed to provide an additional $2,000. DAF supporters have kicked in another $417, bringing the total support from DAF efforts to $5,017.

Help us help the Sawyer family more: There is obviously much continuing financial uncertainty in the Sawyer family’s immediate future. If you would like to target a specific donation to help give the Sawyers some more breathing room in the coming weeks and months, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with the Sawyer name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link. If you use the online option, be sure to designate that your donation is a targeted donation to the Sawyers. Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of the DAF’s general fund.

PLEASE REMEMBER THE DENVER ACTORS FUND ON COLORADO GIVES DAY DEC. 6

A message from Patrick and Melissa Sawyer: “We would like to thank the Denver Actors Fund for the immense and immediate generosity to help make ends meet in this difficult situation – one that many, many performers are in due to their commitment to perform their craft in an industry that doesn’t often provide insurance or enough income to purchase it. It is so comforting to know that there is an entire community of people who go the extra mile to help those of their own kind in tough times. We look forward to supporting the DAF in any way we can going forward to help this amazing organization help others in need.”

(Note: At the Denver Actors Fund, anonymity of aid recipients is presumed and fully protected, unless and until the recipient chooses to have his or her story told.)

ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:

Video above: The Denver Actors Fund receives the Colorado Theatre Guild’s 2016 Community Impact Award.

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. To date the Fund has allocated more than $66,000 to artists facing medical need. In addition to financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers offers good neighborly assistance including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at DenverActorsFund.Org.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

To DONATE the Denver Actors Fund:

Please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks):

HOW TO APPLY FOR AID:

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Fill out this brief online form here

MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE BY MAIL:

Send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80212

ATTEND UPCOMING DENVER ACTORS FUND EVENTS:

“DENVER ACTORS FUND PRESENTS …” MONTHLY FILM SERIES: The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Littleton hosts a monthly film series in partnership with the Denver Actors Fund featuring films inspired by musicals and plays that are currently being performed by a Colorado theatre company. Next up on Monday, Dec. 5, is It’s a Wonderful Life, featuring pre-screening entertainment by cast members from Spotlight Theatre Company’s upcoming stage production of It’s a Wonderful Life: The Live Radio Play. Join us for live musical performances, talk, trivia, prize giveaways … and the movie! RESERVE YOUR SEAT NOW

Coming up next:

6:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22: Billy Elliot, with entertainment from Vintage Theatre

Feb. 16, 18 and 22: Special Fathom Events screening of Newsies, featuring Jeremy Jordan

6:30 p.m. Monday, March 13: Jesus Christ Superstar, with entertainment from the Arvada Center

SHOP AT AMAZONSMILE:

Denver Actors Fund

 

BUY A POSTER!
poster1.4_Cross 134 women (and a few token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all supporting the Denver Actors Fund. They cost $20 per poster (20×28). To order, email your quantity to denveractorsfund@gmail.com. We’ll take care of delivery and payment from there.

 

VISIT OUR ONLINE MERCH STORE:

Click here to see how you can buy DAF products such as T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more