Auditions For ‘Ain’t Missing Dinner!’ Begin Monday

Bob Terreberry and Dave Switala, Ain’t Missing Dinner! production consultants, are served up a meal by Shauna Anderson, Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care president and chief executive officer, and BJ Buonaiuto, Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care events coordinator. Submitted photo

Local playwright Tom Andolora and Chautauqua Hospice & Palliative Care are collaborating to bring the popular cabaret musical that he co-authored, “Ain’t Missing Dinner!,” to Fredonia and Jamestown stages in October.

Performances will be on consecutive weekends in October at First Lutheran Church in Jamestown and the Williams Center at The State University at Fredonia.

The cabaret-style performance is a mini-musical with a plot that is set at a convention for the “Chubby and Proud Support Group” at the Hilton Hotel in Savannah, Georgia. Audience members become convention goers as they arrive to “register,” then hear the “testimonials” of other conventioneers. Andolora is a Jamestown native who now resides in New York City. Another of his productions, The Spoon River Project, was produced locally in the Lakeview Cemetery over three summers. Andolora said Ain’t Missin’ Dinner is a comedy and that it was written based on his own struggles with weight during his youth.

“I’m obviously not making a judgment, and I never poke fun at being heavy,” he said. “I want people to leave with a smile on their faces.”

“Ain’t Missin’ Dinner!” was chosen as one of the top ten cabarets reviewed by the New York City Cabaret Board the year it premiered in New York.

“Most people are not as familiar with cabaret presentations,” said Andolora. “Cabaret is smaller and more intimate theatre than most stage performances.”

Andolora describes “Ain’t Missin’ Dinner!” as a musical parody with some of the musical scores being reworks of classic tunes. The idea of bringing Ain’t Missin’ Dinner! to local audiences emerged from a mix of strong Hospice and Fredonia ties. Tom Andolora is a Fredonia alum who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre in 1979. David Switala, Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care supporter and former board president, first proposed bringing the cabaret back to local stages as a fundraiser for Hospice. Switala is a SUNY Fredonia alum, as is his wife Marge, who was cast in the previous local production. Bob Terrebery, a Hospice volunteer and theater enthusiast, is also a SUNY Fredonia alum. Terreberry is playing a behind-the-scenes advisory role in the current production.

“The return of Ain’t Missin’ Dinner! represents a unique collaboration of individuals and institutions,” said Shauna Anderson, Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care president and chief executive officer. “The Fredonia connections are especially exciting with alumna working with their alma mater to produce the fundraising performances. There are Fredonia music students who have a chance to see a hilarious cabaret written by one of their own. We’re especially grateful to Kevin Kearns, Vice President for Engagement & Economic Development at Fredonia, and other administrators who are collaborating with CHPC to make this production a reality.”

Switala notes that humor plays an important role in Hospice’s end-of-life care.

“Humor helps us all be human and move forward, especially those who have suffered the loss of a love one,” Switala said. “The Hospice menu of compassion delivered with a touch of humor is a recipe that serves all well under Hospice care!”

Auditions are scheduled for the week of July 9. Detailed audition information including exact dates, times and locations will be posted at www.ChubbyandProud.com.

Volunteers are needed. Help with technical aspects, ushers and ticket sales should be directed to the Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care offices at 338-0033, ext. 218.

Performance locations and dates will be Oct. 5-6 in Jamestown at the First Lutheran Church parlors at 120 Chandler St. The Fredonia performances will be Oct. 12-13 at the State University at Fredonia in the Williams Center Multi-Purpose Room. The Fredonia performances will take place during the fall break when parking will be widely available. All performances will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Corporate table sponsorships are available for $1,000 and include 8 tickets (one table), a full-page advertisement in the program booklet, as well as online, social media and other recognition. All attendees are served dessert at intermission, which is included in the ticket price.

Reserved tables of eight may be purchased now for $200. Single tickets will go on sale Sept. 1 for $25. Single tickets will be for general admission seating. All tables and single tickets will be sold through the Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care website, www.chpc.care, or in person at the Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care offices in Lakewood.

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