Denver Actors Fund in Action: Patrick and Melissa Sawyer
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.
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.
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:
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HOW TO APPLY FOR AID:
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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
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