Every summer Signature takes a break from our usual evenings of reinvented classics and innovative new work to host a raging bacchanalian burlesque show: the Summer Hummer. Some of your favorite DC-area actors, including Bobby Smith, Maria Rizzo, Natascia Diaz, Sherri L. Edelen, and emcee Tracy Lynn Olivera sing bawdy songs, tell dirty jokes, and show some skin in this racy tradition.
But the Summer Hummer isn’t just an excuse for us to let our hair down – proceeds from the event benefit Taking Care of Our Own, an emergency fund for members of the DC theater community run by theatreWashington. Whether an actor needs help paying medical bills or a follow spot operator’s car breaks down and they can’t get to work, Taking Care of Our Own is there with grant support for theater artists on and off the stage.
Shows (and paychecks) come and go in this business; artists get paid on a contract when they’re working on a show, but they don’t always know when their next show (and paycheck) is coming. Of course, this makes long-term budgeting and planning difficult, and when an artist hits a rough patch they don’t always have savings to fall back on. Taking Care of Our Own provides necessary funds that allow members of the theater community to get back on their feet, with grants of up to $5,000 per person. A five-person panel, including Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and theatreWashington’s Michael Kyrioglou, reviews each application and administers the fund, and it’s a lean operation: nearly 100% of donations to Taking Care of Our Own go to grant recipients.
The Summer Hummer is an all-volunteer production, as well. Actors, tech crew, musicians, directors, and other special guests all donate their time to put on the show. It’s a chance for artists to give back to their community while having fun on stage in front of an appreciative audience. This year’s theme, Prom Night, is sure to bring back memories for artists and audiences, and if you attend the Summer Hummer it’ll definitely be a night you won’t forget.
Tickets are now on sale for Summer Hummer VI: Prom Night, on August 22 at 7:30PM and 9:30PM. Standard tickets $35, VIP seating $100.