Denver Actors Fund in Action: Becky Toma

BeckyTomaNote: At the Denver Actors Fund, anonymity of aid recipients is presumed and fully protected, unless and until the aid recipient wants to have his or her story be told.

Aid recipient No. 3 and No. 41: Becky Toma

Updated Jan. 8, 2017:

Who she is: For years, Becky has been a busy props designer and P.R. freelancer for clients that include schools, local theatre companies and Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret. Shows she has designed recently have included: “A Christmas Story, The Musical” at Town Hall Arts Center; “Urinetown” for the Wolf Academy at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center; and “Einstein” for the JAAMM Festival at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center. She is currently prepping “Bonnie and Clyde” at Town Hall and “The Jungle Book” for the Denver Children’s Theatre at the Mizel. When she was injured in 2013, Becky was in the process of designing and building props for two more local theatre productions. “Friends and some of my fellow theater professionals jumped in to help me complete the shows,” she said . “I built a number of props from my hospital room. Staff and residents found this very entertaining as props came and went from my room!”

becky-toma-quoteHer medical story: Becky fell and fractured her knee (the tibial plateau) on Nov. 15, 2013. Doctors hoped  her knee would mend over time without surgery, but that meant she would have to get around in a wheelchair for months. Eventually she needed a pricey surgical procedure to break up the build-up of scar tissue, and from there the costs both expected and unexpected piled up. There was a stay at a rehab hospital for several weeks, followed by doctors visits, physical therapy, the rental of a wheelchair ramp at her house, in-home equipment and more. She missed a lot of work, and her insurance  only covered so much. So she set up a payment plan. But after more than three years of faithfully whittling down her debt through monthly payments, Becky still owes Kaiser Permanente $1,701.35 for a fall she took more than three years ago.

How we helped Becky then … and now: On Jan. 7,  2014, the fledgling Denver Actors Fund was thrilled to make Becky just our third financial-aid recipient by issuing her a check in the princely amount of $294.06 to specifically pay for her wheelchair rental. Three years and one day later, we are all the more tickled to send her a check for $1,701.35 to once and for all pay off the amount she still owes to Kaiser Permanente.

A message from Becky: “I am so very grateful to the Denver Actors Fund for coming to my aid in paying off the remaining debt from my knee injury three years ago. What a gift! I have struggled every month for the past three years to pay this “extra” bill, and now that weight will be lifted. To all those who continually support the Denver Actors Fund, believe you me, it’s a blessing times a thousand! Thank you Denver Actors Fund and everyone in our theatre community.”

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Download the brief form by clicking here

 

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 situational medical need. To date, the Fund has allocated more than $76,000 to local artists. 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 YO CAN HELP US:

To donate to the Denver Actors Fund, please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks).

To donate by mail, please 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!
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134 women (and a few token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all supporting the Denver Actors Fund. $20 per poster (20×28). To order, email your quantity to denveractorsfund@gmail.com

Visit our online merch store: T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

Why it matters: Watch this video:

Bonus photos: My night with Phamaly’s “The Foreigner”

OPENING 13C
Director Edith Weiss, who had to miss the opening performance of Phamaly’s “The Foreigner” on Jan. 19 because of illness, texted her final words of encouragement to her cast via actor Jeremy Palmer’s cell phone. Photo by John Moore.

 

By John Moore
Jan. 20, 2013

Here are some bonus images from my night visiting the cast of the Phamaly Theatre Company’s “The Foreigner,” playing through Feb. 2 at the Aurora Fox, 9900 E. Colfax Ave. (303-739-1970); and Feb. 22-24 at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd. (720-898-7200). Or go to www.Phamaly.Org. Photos by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. Thanks: Bryce Alexander, Gloria Shanstrom, Chris Silberman.

To see the official 2013 photo series bringing you one intimate, iconic snapshots from more than a dozen Colorado opening nights (so far), click here.

Click here to subscribe to the CultureWest.org Monthly E-Newsletter

 

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Actor Kathi Wood, who plays Georgia innkeeper Betty Meeks in “The Foreigner,” is interviewed before the opening-night performance by video blogger Carri Wilbanks of CatchCarri.Com. Check out her Phamaly report here.


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Daniel Traylor, left, has been paired opposite Jeremy Palmer in several Phamaly productions including “The Diviners,” also at the the Aurora Fox.

 

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Actor Kathi Wood left words of encouragement on the men’s dressing-room mirror with her lipstick. Her message: “Yay! We did it! Way to go. Love, Kathi.” That’s actor Michael Leopard in the lower mirror. 

 

OPENING 13B

Actors Jaime Lewis, Daniel Traylor, Trenton Schindele, Don Gabenski and Jeremy Palmer make final dressing-room adjustments before the opening performance.

 

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Veteran Phamaly actor Don Gabenski, who has written several comedy sketches about his life with cerebral palsy, waits out the opening curtain in the Aurora Fox green room.

 

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Cast and crew were presented named spoons as opening-night gifts. The character of Betty collects unique spoons in “The Foreigner.” The spoon above was named for property master Becky Toma.

 

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 It may be winter, but the Aurora Fox dressing room was hot enough to require a fan for actor Daniel Traylor.

 

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Actor Kathi Wood, below, puts a unique spin on the character of innkeeper Betty Meeks, who is written to be played by a white woman. Now as a black Georgia innkeeper under threat by the Ku Klux Klan, Betty’s wall includes a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr., above.

 

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Longtime Phamaly favorite Jeremy Palmer plays Charlie Baker, a socially awkward Brit so afraid of social interaction his friend tells guests at the local inn that he speaks no English. 

 

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 Actor Don Gabenski.

 

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 Actors Daniel Traylor and Lyndsay Palmer, wife of Jeremy Palmer.

 

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Actor Jaime Lewis, who contracted polio in 1961, plays the bumbling head of a Georgia chapter of the racist Ku Klux Klan.

 

OPENING 13D

Jeremy Palmer leads the Phamaly cast and crew in a pre-curtain ritual they call “Zap.” As if there weren’t enough energy in the air already, members of the circle are told to buzz. The vibration builds, the cast screams “ZAP!” in unison, and then there is nothing but sudden, solemn silence. The next spoken word is not to be uttered by anyone until the actors hit the stage.