“Steel Magnolias” launches Denver Actors Fund’s “Tap Shoe Initiative”


By John Moore
Aug. 4, 2013

Senior Housing Options last night became the first area theater company to designate a performance as “Denver Actors Fund Night,” in effect launching its new Tap Shoe Initiative.

Senior Housing Options’ resource development coordinator Jane Prancan made a pre-show curtain speech introducing the Denver Actors Fund to Saturday night’s “Steel Magnolias” audience, asking that they toss their spare change into a piggy bank she had set up in the lobby. In an additional show of support, Prancan announced that all intermission drink sales would go to the Denver Actors Fund.

That was all the more generous of a gesture given that “Steel Magnolias” is itself a fundraiser. Every summer, a play is staged in the lobby of the Barth Hotel that raises money for programs that provide services to more than 500 economically disadvantaged seniors in the metro area. “But without our actors,” Prancan told the crowd, “we don’t have a show.”

Prancan’s efforts netted the Denver Actors Fund an easy-breezy $115.80, which brings the balance of this brand-new nonprofit funding source to $3,268.46. The hope is that all metro companies will participate in the Tap Shoe Initiative as a way of helping to replenish the Denver Actors Fund as grants go out to help actors.

I founded the Denver Actors Fund three months ago as a modest new source of relief for when members of the local theater community (on stage or off) find themselves in immediate, situational medical need. As part of ongoing fundraising efforts, board president Chris Boeckx conceived of the “Tap Shoe Initiative,” which asks every metro theater company to create their own signature piggy bank – the Fund’s own change collector is a tap shoe signed by Tommy Tune and donated by Rick Madden.

The companies are being asked to give their “tap shoes” (or whatever they conceive) a permanent backstage home where it can collect change from actors, crew and visitors throughout the run of a show. In addition, companies are asked to designate one night per year or run (as often as they deem appropriate) as “Denver Actors Fund Nights,” were the shoe is moved out into the lobby, and the audience on that given night is asked to chip in.

Here is more information on the Denver Actors Fund.

Here is more information on the Tap Shoe Initiative.

We are grateful to Jane Prancan for taking such immediate action in response to our call for participation, which only went out to theater companies last month. “Steel Magnolias,” featuring Denver Actors Fund volunteer council member Rhonda Brown, plays Thursdays through Saturdays through Aug. 24 at the Barth Hotel, 1514 17th St. Call 303-595-4464, ext. 10, or go to Senior Housing Options’ home page.

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund

The new Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need. To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please go here (with our humble thanks):

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By John Moore

Award-winning arts journalist John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the United States by American Theatre Magazine during has 12 years at The Denver Post. Hen then created a groundbreaking new media outlet covering Colorado arts an culture as an in-house, multimedia journalist for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He also founded The Denver Actors Fund, a nonprofit that has raised more than $600,000 for theatre artists in medical need. He is now a journalist for hire as the founder of Moore Media Colorado. You can find samples of his work at MooreJohn.Com. Contact him at culturewestjohn@gmail.com