For the past several years, the spring musical put on by the Southeast Arkansas Concert Association has proven to be a tremendous success, with all of the public performances sold out and hundreds of area schoolchildren being treated to matinee performances during the week.
The musicals, which are always double- and even triple-cast to give everyone who wants to participate the ability to do so, provide early exposure to the arts for dozens of area youth, many of whom have their first on-stage experiences as part of the cast. Some children who were too young to participate in the first few years of the productions, but were enchanted while watching their friends or older siblings on stage, have now grown old enough to join the company.
Exposure to the performing arts is one of the Seark Concert Association’s primary goals, and the Fine Arts Center on the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus has been home to the vast majority of Seark productions through the years. In celebration of that partnership and appreciation of the university’s support of Seark, the organization will be hosting a fundraiser to help update the facility so that the productions can remain top-quality.
“We have had a great partnership with the university for 40 years,” said Seark President Thomas Bedward, “and we want to celebrate and strengthen that relationship by doing what we can to help meet some of the Fine Arts Center’s needs.”
The fundraiser, to be called Genie’s Wishing Bash, takes its name from a main character in this year’s musical, Disney’s Aladdin Jr. Genies are known as granters of wishes, and there are several items on the Fine Arts Center “wish list,” including new lighting and sound equipment and curtains.”
“We at Seark Concert Association have been dreaming happy dreams of bringing the arts to the citizens of southeastern Arkansas for over 40 years now,” said Susan Akin, chairman of Seark’s SMARTS (Schools Majoring in the Arts) program. “Since our founding in the 1970s, UAM has lent their kind support to our organization and its events by opening their facilities to us. We’re hoping to say ‘Thank you’ by raising $40,000 for renovating the production quality of the FAC and updating its equipment to current standards.”
Genie’s Wishing Bash will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 5. Tickets to the opening-night event are $100. Attendees will be treated to an array of appetizers and get to see the show days before it opens to the public. Their donation will help ensure quality community theater experiences for Southeast Arkansas for years to come.
Tickets may be purchased at searkconcert.org or by calling 870-460-1888.