Denver Actors Fund in Action: Alicia K. Meyers

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COVID took away her employment. Then came a breast-cancer diagnosis. Here’s how the community is supporting BDT Stage favorite Alicia K. Meyers.

Alicia K. Meyers as Velma Kelly in BDT Stage’s ‘Chicago.’

Aid recipient Alicia K. Meyers: Alicia has been an actor, director and choreographer at BDT Stage since 1995, winning a 2019 True West Ward as co-director and co-choreographer of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Mamma Mia.” She was playing the consequential role of Emma Goldman in “Ragtime” when the COVID shutdown began the day after opening night. Meyers, a native of Houston and resident of Longmont, has worked as an actress, choreographer and director in the Denver metro area for 25 years. She also has worked as the director/choreographer for Platte Middle School and Silver Creek High School, and as part of Candlelight Dinner Theatre’s musical-theatre education program. As a performer, favorite roles have included Ursula in The Little Mermaid and Velma Kelly in Chicago. Other credits have included Disenchanted!, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Addams Family, Always Patsy Cline, Hairspray, Spamalot, Hello, Dolly!, CATS, Cabaret, Gypsy and Singin’ in the Rain.

Her medical story: When COVID closed BDT Stage in March, it took most of the theatre’s performing opportunities with it. Last month, Alicia was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, and she began chemotherapy today (September 21). After six months of treatments, Alicia will undergo a mastectomy. Her husband was furloughed from his job in April (also because of COVID), forcing the couple to sign on to an expensive but essential COBRA health-insurance policy costing $1,403.39 a month. Alicia had just started a new part-time retail job when she was diagnosed, but her doctor said she cannot work with the public while undergoing chemo. To date, Alicia has been billed more than $2,421.64 in out-of-pocket medical expenses, at a time when the only income her family has coming in at present is unemployment.

How we have helped: Because Alicia’s treatment depends on the continuation of her health-insurance policy, The Denver Actors Fund has pledged to pay the monthly premium through the end of the year, or $4,210.17. In addition we have paid $2,421.64 in additional out-of-pocket expenses. The community has since contributed $3,108.50 in targeted donations from the community.

And then there is BDT Stage: Over the past two weeks, BDT Stage Artistic Producer Michael J. Duran collected contributions from audiences at performances of “Take to the Highway,” a concert tribute to James Taylor, Carole King and Carly Simon. BDT Stage just made the painful decision to cease operations until after it is again safe to bring audiences indoor for fully staged theatrical productions. But before temporarily closing they doors, BDT Stage raised another $2,695 for Alicia. That brings The Denver Actors Fund’s overall support for Alicia to date to now $12,435.31. (See how you can target a donation to Alicia below.)

‘There are days when I feel like my legs are too weak to stand upon, and all these people are there to lift me right up.’

A message from Alicia: “Without The Denver Actors Fund, I would be beyond screwed. I am honored and appreciative, not only for the financial support but for the emotional support as well. I am so very grateful to be part of this amazingly unique theatre community. This morning I received 20 text messages from people sending me love and well-wishes before I even got to the hospital for my first chemo treatment. There are too many people to try to thank individually at BDT Stage, but my love goes out to Michael J. Duran, Giana Giraldi and every single other person there. There are days when I feel like my legs are too weak to stand upon, and all these people are there to lift me right up. I know I am not alone on this journey, and it is because of my amazing family – and my amazing BDT Stage family. My parents and husband and my daughter have been incredible. Your arms and hearts are wide open, and I feel your love every single day.

How you can help us help Alicia more: Alicia is at the beginning of her cancer journey, and more bills will be following her every step of the way. If you would like to direct a specific donation to help give Alicia some breathing room and focus on healing, simply mail checks in any amount made out to The Denver Actors Fund (with Alicia Meyers’ name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80211. Or use this donation link. If you use the online option, be sure to designate that your donation is targeted for Alicia Meyers. (She will receive 100 percent of your donation.) Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of the Denver Actors Fund’s general fund.

Read testimonials from other Denver Actors Fund beneficiaries here

Note: At The Denver Actors Fund, anonymity of aid recipients is presumed and fully protected, unless and until the recipient chooses to have their story told.

HOW TO MAKE A DONATION

The cast of BDT Stage’s ‘Take to the Highway’ raised another $2,700 for Alicia K. Meyers.


ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. In addition to $626,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers have offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries 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 TO APPLY FOR AID:

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


NEW: AFFORDABLE MENTAL HEALTH CARE

The Denver Actors Fund has announced a major new collaboration with the Maria Droste Counseling Center of Colorado to provide affordable, professional health care to any qualifying Colorado theatre artist who needs it. CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION


Hippo Health LogoGET INSTANT, FREE MEDICAL ADVICE: The Denver Actors Fund has launch of a major new FREE medical service for qualified Colorado theatre artists: We are partnering with Hippo Health to provide access to emergency medical evaluations via video conferencing with a Board-certified physician. Click to read more about this wonderful, innovative new partnership that will further improve the lives of artists!


MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE ONLINE:

Go to our online giving site at: ColoradoGives.Org

DONATE BY MAIL:

Send checks made out to The Denver Actors Fund to:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80211

VOLUNTEER:

Ever thought about taking a more active role in The Denver Actors Fund? Click here for more information


SHOP AT KING SOOPERS

Sign up for King Soopers’ Community Rewards Program and raise money for The DAF just by shopping for your groceries – and it doesn’t cost you an extra penny. It’s like the Amazon Smile Program. To sign up, simply go here and designate The DAF as your preferred non-profit. Each quarter, King Soopers sends us a donation based on how much our supporters have spent. Thanks to all of you who are shopping for The DAF.

 


COME TO THE EVENTS THAT SUPPORT US:

Note: All events are tentative based on COVID-19 developments:

Check out who’s scheduled to perform in this year’s virtual ‘CAST 2020!’

AVAILABLE NOW: This year “Miscast,” the major annual fundraiser for The Denver Actors Fund, has pivoted to “CAST 2020,” a professionally produced on-demand video concert featuring Colorado theatre artists performing in roles they WERE cast to play before the coronavirus shut down their shows. “CAST 2020” includes nearly a dozen showstopping songs by an all-star lineup of Colorado theatre performers:

  • Rebecca Myers, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center’s ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’
  • Lisa Kay Carter and Seth Dhonou, Arvada Center’s ‘Something Rotten’
  • Kalyn Heffernan of Wheelchair Sports Camp with Michelle Rocqet, Phamaly Theatre Company’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’
  • Scott Hurst, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s ‘Curtains’
  • Mary Louise Lee, Vintage Theatre’s ‘Gypsy’
  • McKayla Marso, BDT Stage’s ‘The Sound of Music’
  • Cal Meakins, Forge Light Theatreworks’ ‘Bare: The Musical’
  • Keith Hershman and Jessie Oblazny, Magic Moments’ ‘Take the High Road’
  • Mercedes Perez, Lake Dillon Theatre’s ‘Man of La Mancha’
  • Jenna Moll Reyes, Aurora Fox’s ‘Freaky Friday’
  • Camryn Torres, Miners Alley Playhouse’s ‘Once on This Island’

For your donation of at least $20, you will be sent a link to the video within 24 hours. You can then watch the concert at your leisure. Reserve your link today

‘Miscast’ is the major annual fundraiser for The Denver Actors Fund. It produced each year by Robert Michael Sanders and Kenny Moten, wit 100 percent of all proceeds going to The DAF. CAST 2020′ was recorded primarily at Focus Event Studios in north Denver and edited by Ray Bailey TV. We are eternally grateful to all of them for making this important event possible, and to you for watching.

 


 

Lynn Keller, Shannan Steele, Susan Draus, Piper Lindsay Arpan and Aubrie Hamrick.

OCTOBER 16-18: “Time Capsule: An Outdoor Concert featuring Denver’s Rock & Roll Divas,” a series of three outdoor concerts to be held at 2763 Blake Street, is an effort to save and support Cap City Tavern, a haven for the local theatre community (owned by actor, director and choreographer Piper Lindsay Arpan and her husband, Dino McTaggert.) Cap City, like many area restaurants, is trying to hang on through the pandemic. And still, the McTaggerts are pledging to give 10 percent of all proceeds to The Denver Actors Fund. The concert features Susan Draus, Shannan Steele, Aubrie Hamrick, Lynn Keller, Piper Lindsay Arpan, Justin Francoeur, and Brian McRae. A $35 ticket gets you in the door, and a $40 VIP add-on gets you unlimited open bar throughout the show. Bring your mask, lawn chair, and your dancing shoes, and get ready to rock out to tunes from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Treat yourself and those you love to a safe, memorable concert, while supporting the local Denver theatre and restaurant community. Ages 21 and over for the 6 p.m. performances on Friday and Saturday; while the 2 p.m. Sunday matinee is open to all ages. Says Piper: “Should Mother Nature cause us to cancel a performance, ticket holders may reschedule for any other scheduled performance or donate their ticket purchase to the Denver Actors Fund.” Click here to reserve your seats.

 


 

From left: Concert hosts Annaleigh Ashfor, Denise Gentilini, Beth Malone and Neyla Pekarek.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23: At 7 p.m., Julia Tobey and Eugene Ebner present an uplifting, nearly all-Colorado video concert to launch her new Sublimelight Studios, with 10 percent of proceeds going to The Denver Actors Fund. The concert will be pre-recorded and broadcast on October 23 on Sublimelight’s YouTube channel. The concert hosts are Grammy Award nominee Neyla Pekarek (formerly of The Lumineers, more recently of the Denver Center’s developing musical “Rattlesnake Kate”), Tony Award winner Annaleigh Ashford (“You Can’t Take it With You”), three-time Emmy Award-winning composer Denise Gentilini, and Tony Award nominee Beth Malone (“Fun Home.”) Performers slated to perform or speak include Elizabeth Welch (“The Phantom of the Opera”), Gregory Treco (“Hamilton”), Jason Veasey (“The Lion King”), Josh Franklin (“The Prom”), Piper Lindsay Arpan (“Spamalot”), Shannon Steele, David Nehls, Robert Michael Sanders, Megan Van De Hey, Kenny Moten, Lauren Shealy, Jalyn Courtenay Webb, Jessica Hindsley, Lynzee and Chris Jones, Adriane and Marco Robinson, Julie Payne, Natalie Oliver-Atherton, Jennifer Condreay, Paul Page, Dixie Krystals, Shirley Delta Blow, Sophia Dotson, Evan Gibley, Hannah Katz, Abby Linderman, Eden Lane and Sue Leiser. Ensembles performing include Black Iris Collective, Spinphony, The Beverly Belles and The Honey Taps. All in 90 minutes (!). The goal is to raise $75,000 by November 23 to support Sublimelight, a new arts and wellness community set to open in Denver in 2021. The studio will offer shared studio space for arts and wellness professionals, including dance, voice, acting, yoga, Pilates, photographers, videographers, massage, meditation, nutrition, acupuncture experts and more. Donations from the concert will be used to pay for initial startup costs and operational expenses. Viewers can watch from home anytime after 7 p.m. October 23. The organizers are asking for a “donate what you can” in return for watching, with a $20 minimum. Register here. Or join a socially distanced premiere party at Cap City Tavern at 7 p.m. October 23. Register here for Cap City.

 


 

NOVEMBER 20: Do you remember The Country Dinner Playhouse? More than 4.6 million theatregoers attended 200 plays and musicals at The Barn, as it was affectionately known in southwest Denver, from 1970-2007. When things were really cooking, the Playhouse drew 150,000 people every year while serving up country-style buffet to its loyal patrons. It has been 13 years since the Country Dinner Playhouse abruptly closed its doors. Among those put out of work were the beloved Barnstormers, an octet of singers who provided the theater’s pre-show entertainment as well as table service for the audience. There were more than 100 individuals who had been Barnstormers over the years, many of whom have gone on to major carers on the stage and screen. Stephen C. Turner, currently featured in Candlelight Dinner Playhouse’s scaled-down production of “Camelot” in Johnstown, has gathered a sizeable percentage of them for an upcoming online reunion concert with 100 percent of the proceeds going to The Denver Actors Fund. “This year, The Barn would have celebrated 50 years of business,” said Turner, a Barnstormer from 2004-7. “Now seems like a great time for a reunion concert. The Denver Actors Fund is a great organization that has helped many of our friends in the local theater community. We want to help them any way we can, without putting ourselves or our friends in any danger.” The concert will air from 7-8:30 p.m. on November 20. Tickets will go on sale soon for a minimum donation of $10 per viewer. Check back here for the link when it becomes available. Meantime, read more about the Country Dinner Playhouse here.

 


 

ONGOING:Waiting for Obama,” the audio version of a play that was an official selection at the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival, has been released as a (free) fundraiser for The Denver Actors Fund. A Colorado Springs family is convinced that Barack Obama is coming for their guns in the final weeks of his presidency – and they’re right.) The play features Laurence Curry, Drew Horwitz, Chris Kendall, Leslie O’Carroll, Jenna Moll Reyes, Jessica Robblee, Luke Sorge and Mare Trevathan. It was recorded by the staff of Parker Arts at the PACE Center as an in-kind donation to The Denver Actors Fund. Listen for free on all major podcasting platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Podbean. Just by listening, you will be raising revenue for The DAF! ‘Waiting for Obama’ was recorded by the staff of Parker Arts at the PACE Center and edited by Ray Bailey TV as in-kind donations to The Denver Actors Fund. The actors also donatedtheir services.

 


 

ONGOING: “Quarantine Week by Weak” is a new photographic coffee-table book by Susannah McLeod and her wife, Chloe McLeod, who chronicled their home life during the COVID19 shutdown with a light-hearteded photo series documenting their lives during quarantine. They produced more than 35 sets of humorous photos comparing the beginning of quarantine to later in the “stay-at-home” period. Susannah pulled out her camera and we started to play,” said Chloe McLeod. As popularity for the series grew on Instagram and after a feature in Westword, the couple started exploring options to publish the series as a book to benefit The Denver Actors Fund. To order, visit http://mcleod9creative.com/shop/quarantine-week-by-weak-photo-book. This project is generously sponsored by: The Albritton Family; Natalie Bowen and Jim Corbett; Dave Dyer; Julie Dyer; and Denise Gentilini and Lynette Prisner. Additional support provided by Angie Flachman and Sandy Birkey at The Publishing House and Sandra Lee Stuart.


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