On August 17, the fourth annual Summer Hummer added $30,000 to the Taking Care of Our Own emergency fund for artists in need, exceeding last year’s total by $12,000.
A bawdy, burlesque fundraiser directed by Signature Theatre’s Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and choreographed by Associate Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner, Summer Hummer IV: Foreplay! put more than 100 dancers, actors, singers and musicians on the Signature stage for two marathon performances that ranged from stage favorites Bobby Smith and Evan Casey arguing over sexual positions in “You’re The Top,” to Donna Migliaccio relying on the ancient Kama Sutra as she sang “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.”
Ticket income was enhanced by a scantily clad Bucket Brigade that solicited on-the-spot donations, and by some classic strip numbers that inspired a stream of one dollars bills to find their way into myriad forms of questionable clothing.
theatreWashington's Vice President of Theatre Communications Brad Watkins commented, “It’s a perfect storm. You have absolutely the best performers and musicians from across the Washington area donating their time to rehearse and perform these jaw-dropping, hysterical, sexy numbers. And you have our deeply committed, theatre-savvy, generous audiences showing their support – all for this profoundly important initiative that we call Taking Care of Our Own. This year alone we’ve already distributed $22,366 to people in the theatre community who suddenly found themselves strapped, often because of medical emergencies. A night like this – there’s nothing like it.”
Eric Schaeffer, who initiated the idea of the burlesque fundraiser four years ago, added, “The Summer Hummer is one of the best nights in Washington theatre with over 100 artists contributing their talents for this bawdy, burlesque show. This year proved once again how supportive everyone is of the DC theatre community. It was a great night for a great cause and we set a new Hummer record!”
In addition to the Summer Hummer, theatreWashington solicits funds for Taking Care of Our Own through its summer-long Bucket Brigade, during which actors give curtain speeches at a rotating schedule of theatres, then pass among the exiting crowd with yellow buckets to gather donations. Distribution of Taking Care of Our Own funds are administered by theatreWashington, in association with an advisory panel of theatre leaders. Since Taking Care of Our Own began distributing funds in 2013, $43,900 has been allotted to those with proven need.