As The Hippodrome Theatre prepared for its run of "Dirty Dancing, The Classic Story On Stage" performances, staff, producers and marketers had an additional goal on their minds: helping the Baltimore community.
In response to the unrest at the end of April, Hippodrome staff, the production company NETworks Presentations and the press firm TypeA Marketing raised more than $42,000 in donations for the Baltimore Community Foundation's Fund for Rebuilding Baltimore.
"It was heart-wrenching to watch everything going on, we all hated to see the city getting torn apart," said Mark Stephens, director of marketing for the Hippodrome. "We all just really wanted to do something positive for the city."
With this in mind, theater staff and cast members collected donations from patrons following each performance. The operations were modeled after the Broadway Cares: Equity Fights Aids collections, which generally take place at Broadway touring shows, in which cast members speak to the audience following the show and invite them to donate upon their exit.
Stephens said they were pleasantly surprised by the generosity of patrons and hope the money goes toward helping rebuild the community.
"We make no bones about the fact that there were reasons behind the rioting and unrest. There are a lot of things Baltimore needs to acknowledge and grow from, but that process can't start until funds are made available," Stephens said. "We wanted to help give Baltimore the funds to grow."