April 24, 2017
Arts & Entertainment
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  • Kelly Terranova, who has appeared on such programs as “The Today Show” and “House of Cards,” closed out the evening.
    Photo by Leslie Dolsak
    Kelly Terranova, who has appeared on such programs as “The Today Show” and “House of Cards,” closed out the evening.
  • Julie Fox, an alumna of CTA, opened the evening with jokes about what children’s theater was like when she was a kid.
    Photo by Leslie Dolsak
    Julie Fox, an alumna of CTA, opened the evening with jokes about what children’s theater was like when she was a kid.

Laugh For A Cause

Leslie Dolsak
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April 7, 2017

Comedy Night At CTA Generates Funds And Awareness For Youth Arts

Children’s Theatre of Annapolis (CTA) hosted its third annual Comedy Night on April 1. The full house was composed of parents, alumni and friends of CTA, who were all in stitches. Comedy Night is the nonprofit’s biggest fundraiser, complete with a silent auction representing more than $11,000 in donations from more than 200 donors, mystery boxes, and open bars of all forms (candy, bubbly and sundaes).

For Paul Baca of Annapolis, “CTA has been a family.” In fact, the theater greatly influenced his three children. “My youngest is at American University majoring in musical theater. And it helped my two sons out socially.” Baca’s wife, Holly, is CTA’s executive producer, making their experience truly a whole-family one.

Proud CTA alumna comedian Julie Fox headlined the show by talking about her childhood memories at the theater. “Oh, my gosh, I’m freaking out,” she said. “It’s so fancy now. When I was a kid, we performed in the back alley there.” Fox performed with CTA before the facility was built in the early 2000s.

Since her CTA days, she has been a finalist on Nick at Nite’s reality TV show “Funniest Mom in America.”

Fox polled the audience of primarily couples to see who was married in Maryland. “Who took the vow to love, honor and Old Bay?” Fox teased. Also taking the stage was Michael Aronin, seen on “Last Comic Standing” and “The Howard Stern Show.” He wooed the crowed with self-deprecating humor mainly directed at living with cerebral palsy.

The third comic of the evening was Kelly Terranova, a man whose appearances have run the gamut from “The Today Show” to “House of Cards.”

Funds garnered during Comedy Night benefit essentials and enhancements. “It allows us to offer more, like Intro to Directing; to purchase the rights to plays; and to offset the costs of costumes and sets,” said Jason Kimmell, CTA theater operations manager. Kimmell, who has been on CTA’s artistic staff for a decade, said the annual Comedy Night continues to improve productions by funding special items like flying effects, a requisite for “Mary Poppins” and “Peter Pan.”

Every year, CTA opens its doors annually to 2,000 to 2,500 children ages 5 to 18 for acting, singing, dance, production and set design. The reach goes beyond Anne Arundel County, drawing some as far as Prince George’s and Howard counties.

“They may not be the athletes. They may be different from other kids,” said Michelle Lucente, CTA executive director. “This is a safe place for them to call home. It’s their family.”

Tiffany Shannon knows this well. She works one-on-one with the children and was the recipient of the CTA’s Excellence in Teaching Award. “I’ve had some [kids] grow up with me, take my classes, assist me, then go on to double major in theater,” she said. While some of her students have appeared on commercials or shows on Nickelodeon, Shannon said it’s the confidence they gain that’s most rewarding.


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