A Variation on the Theme

 

The Robert and Judi Newman Foundation presents the must-see musical, Together, that will live in your hearts forever.  Well-known in the Denver theater community are: Linda Suttle, director; Lee Ann Scherlong, music director; and Gina Eslinger, choreographer.  Twenty-six talented cast members, ranging in ages 9 – 88, beautifully depict the “real-life” work of the organization.  The enchanting, heart-warming musical, written by Bessie’s Hope co-founders, Sharron Brandrup and Linda Holloway, along with Kim Fennelli, is about a group of kids who become friends with a group of nursing home elders.  A statement reflecting social justice and our society’s need for intergenerational relationships is inter-twined in the laughter, entertainment, and inspiration.

In Together, the audience will see intergenerational relationships unfold, with the principal one being between an elder gentleman, who was a professional baseball player, and who has no family, and a boy, who dreams of being in the major league, and who doesn’t even know where his dad lives.  Peter Leeds, who plays the former baseball pro, has enjoyed a lifetime of acting in theaters throughout the country, including Broadway for a number of years.  One of the Broadway highlights was being part of the original cast for The Music Man.  Leeds says, “I’m enjoying playing Charles in Together, and I believe in the message of the musical.”

This is the primary fundraising event for Bessie’s Hope this year, so by attending, you will also experience knowing that you are supporting the only organization in the country doing what they do.  During their 22 years, this small organization has served over 50,000 youth and elders from Colorado Springs to Longmont.  Their work enhances the lives of nursing home and assisted living elders through their volunteer programs that engage youth groups, families, individuals, corporations and civic organizations.  All volunteers receive education and training in order to have meaningful interaction with elders of all lev-els of cognitive functioning, including advanced Alzheimer’s Disease.

Nationally, sixty percent of nursing home elders receive no personal visitors, and they have so much to offer all younger generations…..  wisdom and wonderful stories from a different world.  At the other end of the age spectrum, the at-risk youth who participate with Bessie’s Hope from residential treatment centers for troubled teens and other programs benefit as much as the elders. They often are transformed right before your eyes, as respect and compassion are awakened in their hearts.  Both age groups feel valued and needed by the other, and the ripple effect throughout the communities is infinite.

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