RCP to hold fundraising auction

Friday, July 6, 2012
Leslie Hazelwood, left, Bob Clubbs and Emily Hornburg perform in the River City Players production of “Faith County” May 6 in the River City Yacht Club in Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

The River City Players have been down. But with the help of a supportive community, they're far from out.

Due to two consecutive years of slow ticket sales, the Cape Girardeau theater group is gearing up for its first ever fundraiser, coming in the form of a live auction of donated items July 14 at the Port Cape Yacht Club.

"We have been out in the community for weeks getting donations from local businesses that want to support their community theater, and response from them has just been outstanding. We definitely have some great and interesting items to auction off," said River City Players board president Debbie Barnhouse. "With the economy the way it's been, people have spent a lot less on the arts, our productions included. But it costs us around $1,500 to put on every show, and we need to raise funds in order to avoid cutting a show or two next season and in future seasons. It would be wonderful if we could raise $2,000 to $3,000."

The group is also getting an assist from Cape Girardeau artist Randy Hays, who helped put the fundraiser together with his Cadmium River Artists Group. Hays said he jumped at the chance to give the group a hand because they are an important piece of the local arts puzzle.

"Many times the River City Players are overlooked and taken for granted. But they are a vital part of our vibrant arts community, and to sit back and do nothing while they needed help was something I couldn't do," Hays said. "While going around and talking about this fundraiser, I have been really impressed at how much the folks in our area truly care and support the arts as a whole. It's touching."

A variety of items will be auctioned off, gift cards, alarms and spa services to glass cleaner, art and jewelry. Barnhouse said the centerpiece item is two sets of six Siegfried Reinhardt prints donated by Hays and estimated to be worth $300 to $900 per set. Reinhardt was based for most of his career in St. Louis. His best-known work is perhaps a 142-foot mural he executed at the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport illustrating the history of aviation. Reinhardt's works are housed around the world in several prominent museums, including the Smithsonian Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and is among the few Americans with work in the Vatican Museum's permanent collection.

"These are beautiful prints. We're talking about the chance to own a master's art, straight from the artist," Hays said. "It's definitely a nice way to add to or start an art collection. And in the auction setting, you're likely to get a pretty good deal."

During intermission, a one-act play titled "A Night in the Gallery" will be performed. The short production is a play off "A Night in the Theatre," a comedy from the audience's perspective that was a part of the River City Players' 2012 season. Hays is hoping the added entertainment value will ensure this year's auction returns successful results, and said it could easily turn into an annual event.

"Before now the group had been raising money through small raffles during shows. It was a fine system, but this could work much better than the raffles if the participation is there," Hays said. "We have modest expectations but hopeful hearts."

Barnhouse said the auction has broad appeal at a perfect location.

"This is going to be an exciting event, and it would be a shame for people to miss out on an opportunity to support our local theatre while having an entertaining evening out," Barnhouse said. "Combine that with Port Cape barbecue, and it's a can't-miss."

Port Cape will host the River City Players' fundraising auction at 6:30 p.m. July 14. For more information about donating items, purchasing tickets, or the event, call 335-8120. The tickets are $5 each, and a limited number will be available at the door. Pre-purchase is strongly encouraged.



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