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Improv group performs for CCP fundraiser

Improv group performs for CCP fundraiser

September 22nd, 2018 by Samantha Pogue in Local News

From left, Ellie Bonilla, Dianna Jensen, Josie Rugen and Krescenz Hundley of Off the Cuff Improv Group of Mid-Missouri perform at Talking Horse Productions in Columbia.

Capital City Productions has adopted a slogan: Putting community back into community theatre one special moment at a time.

The organization's Pay It Forward program has raised more than $7,200 for 20 local organizations since 2016, and it plans to expand community involvement efforts and partner with local schools and groups to offer educational theatrical experiences for children and adults.

With a full line-up of shows set for its 2019 season and future projects in the works, Capital City Productions is living up to its slogan.

For the first time, the 501(c)(3) organization will hold "put the community back into community theatre" during a Capital City Productions fundraiser from 6-10 p.m. Sept. 28 at Shikles Auditorium, 1200 Linden Drive in Jefferson City.

The fundraising evening will showcase the talents of Off the Cuff Improv Group of Mid-Missouri, a popular improvisation comedy group that has hosted its own shows and packed the house at many local fundraisers.

Even though many of their shows can have themes, the basis of Off the Cuff's performances involve 10-12 performers and are done in the style of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" Now hosted by Aisha Tyler and airing on the CW Network, "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" throws regular comedians such as Wayne Brady, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie, along with special guest comedians and celebrities, into fun games and skits where they have to think and act on their feet.

President Nate Grey said Capital City Productions has gotten into the spirit of the show as well.

"We got them a bunch of big props like a big fly swatter and a pig gym bag," Grey said with a smile. "They will also have a couple of special guests that will assist with skits."

Grey said they have already sold more than 90 tickets, with an occupancy of 166 for their dinner theater and typically seating 160 guests at 20 eight-person tables. They stand to make more than $1,700, with proceeds going back into the organization's general fund.

"There is nothing specific we have assigned the raised money to go to, but there are plenty of things it can help with," Grey said. "We do have several things we have done recently where that money could replenish it and have a wish list for items for the future."

During the last 11 years, Capital City Productions has worked with the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department to maintain, repair and improve the building. CCP has paid to install lighting in the stairway from backstage down to the Mezzanine level, install and painted drywall for the lobby area, caulk and seal windows to prevent further damage from birds and bats, install new insulation and a balcony in the back of the theater, add outlets to the outside of the building, install hardwood floors and carpeting on the main level, and most recently upgrade all electrical and installed additional outlets as a result of a fire marshal inspection.

"We would like to purchase a one-man lift to help set up our new lights, which is on our wish list," Grey said. "We are still redoing our dressing rooms, upgrading little by little. We also would like to change our florescent lighting to LEDs in our hallway."

While attending the fundraiser Friday, guests can see another addition coming soon to Capital City Productions — new, comfortable chairs. Grey said the organization purchased 20 chairs to use for their events, which have 5-inch-thick foam cushions and are embroidered with the CCP logo.

"We bought the first 20 for the lobby for everyone to try them," he said. "We are starting a chair rally, where we will ask contributors to donate a chair for us to have 160 new ones for our shows and events."

Grey said donors can purchase a $50 chair through the organization and comment on who it is for. After enough money is raised, CCP will buy them all.

Grey said additional plans include solely establishing or possibly partnering with PACE Youth Theatre in Columbia to start a youth theater program under the CCP umbrella.

Luann Madsen, CCP board member and frequent choreographer for the organization's shows, has started free tap lessons at 6 p.m. and theater dance at 6:45 p.m. every Tuesday at Shikles Auditorium.

"The class is free, and the participants give an hour back of their time to the theater, such as ushering, helping clean or paint," Grey said.

There will be many opportunities for those interested in supporting the nonprofit organization's volunteer dinner theater during its upcoming shows. Remaining in CCP's 2018 season is "Cabaret," showing Oct. 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27, and "Christmas, My Way," a Frank Sinatra Holiday Bash, Dec. 6-8, 13-15 and 20-22.

In 2019, Capital City Productions will present "Million Dollar Quartet" in February, "Jesus Christ Superstar" in April, "Mamma Mia!" in June, "Cinderella" in August, "The Addams Family" in October and "Plaid Tidings" in December. They also have announced securing the Missouri premiere of "The Bodyguard, The Musical" in February 2020, Grey said, noting 2019 season tickets are available now.

The fundraiser featuring Off the Cuff Improv of Mid-Missouri will include a buffet dinner from Argyle Catering, which includes golden encrusted chicken parmesan Italiano; savory sautéed stuffed pollock; gourmet broccoli and rice casserole; fire-roasted mix vegetables; herb-seasoned baby bakers; crisp spinach salad with a raspberry bacon dressing; fresh wheat and white rolls; homemade peach or cherry pie; and coffee, tea and lemonade.

Tickets cost $38 per person, which includes dinner and the show.

For more information or to order tickets, call 681-9612 or visit