September Song is holding its second annual Broadway Musical Revue April 21, nearly a year after financial problems caused the local theater organization's stage to go dark.
In May 2011 the organization's board of directors announced that September Song did not have the funds needed to put on a production that year, for the first time in the 37 years of the group's existence.
Joan Eichhorn, vice president of the September Song board of directors, said the organization experienced financial problems after severing ties with CHANGE, Inc. The two went separate ways because CHANGE, Inc. was no longer able to financially support the theater group, Eichhorn said.
Without funding from CHANGE, Inc. the organization was not able to handle the rising costs of putting on a theater production, she said.
"Musical theater is the most expensive kind of the arts to produce because it involves so much," Eichhorn said. "The music, the costumes, the makeup and the facility rentals all add up."
But instead of giving up and disappearing, September Song took steps to reorganize and become financially stable.
The organization created a new board of directors consisting of past and present September Song participants, as well as community members and activists, Eichhorn said.
Instead of putting on its annual September production, the organization hosted its inaugural Broadway Musical Revue. The fundraiser, held at the Carroll Arts Center in September, sold out.
A table was set up at the show to collect donations, and with ticket sales and donations September Song raised around $10,000, according to Eichhorn.
The fundraiser was such a success that the board of directors decided to make it an annual event, she said.
This year the second annual Broadway Musical Revue, "Broadway in Recital," will have two showtimes at the Carroll Arts Center instead of one, in hopes that anyone who wants to attend will be able to, according to Caroline Clare, the organization's publicity chairwoman.
The show will consist of two acts with seven songs each and a finale at the end, Eichhorn said.
The revue includes songs from "Les Miserables," "Annie Get Your Gun," "The Sound of Music," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Little Shop of Horrors" and more, Clare said.
She said the organization hopes an annual fundraiser will keep them afloat in years to come.
Eichhorn said she wants to donate the proceeds that aren't needed for the annual production to the band, chorus and drama department at Winters Mill High School as a way of giving back to the community.
Because of the community's generosity at last year's Broadway Revue, September Song is able to put on a production this year, she said.
The theater group will produce "The Wizard of Oz" at Winters Mill High School in August.
Eichhorn said auditions for "The Wizard of Oz" will begin one week after the Broadway Musical Revue fundraiser.
Eichhorn said she is still amazed by how much support the Carroll County community has given September Song in the past 38 years but especially in the past year during the organization's financial struggles.
She said she hopes the Broadway Musical Revue sells out again this year, but she will be happy no matter what the outcome, as long as September Song can take the stage again in August.
"I was pretty devastated that September Song had to go dark last year, but it was almost like a little blessing from God because it turned into a good thing," she said. "I wait and see what happens and then I just feel as lucky as the devil when it works out."