2011-05-06 / Community

RTC Rally To Support Loved Member

Peggy Vivino – photo portrait by artist Yuri Yurov. Peggy Vivino – photo portrait by artist Yuri Yurov. The opening night audience for the RTC production of “Lend Me a Tenor” was a “who’s who” of active theatre company members and alumni. Actors, directors, stage people and house volunteers who have worked with the Rockaway Theatre Company over the past 13 seasons came back to the Post Theater to honor and support RTC’s costumier Peggy Vivino in her time of need.

Vivino has been battling cancer over the past three years and the cost of this battle has been catastrophic to the Vivino family, despite the fact that much of the expense is covered by medical insurance. The RTC board decided that the best way to help was to donate all proceeds collected at the opening night performance of the first show of the main-stage season. The word went out on the Internet to members of the company past and present and the response was overwhelming.

Donations of goods and baskets poured in for a Chinese auction which was held during the intermission. Director Peggy Page purchased Viva Vivino bracelets to be sold at the fundraiser, while concession saleperson

Lori Bernstein created pink ribbon pins and bracelets for audience members. Parents of children who have worked with Peggy in the Children’s Theatre program as well the countless performers who have appeared on the RTC stage in costumes which she designed and constructed showed their love and regard for her with astounding generosity.

Audience members who laughed hysterically during Act I (this is a very funny play) were brought to tears after viewing a montage of Peggy spanning the years prior to and after the onset of her illness. On the night of the fundraiser, unfortunately, Peggy’s condition took a turn for the worse and she had to be readmitted to the hospital, but her daughter, Amy, was present and was visibly touched by the generosity of her mother’s friends and neighbors.

In the end, the evening’s proceeds far exceeded the original RTC fundraising goal. The Vivino, Golden and Kuffner families extend their heartfelt thanks to the many people who took this opportunity to give back something to a kind and talented woman who has given so much to everyone else over the years.

You can still catch the hilarious “Lend Me a Tenor,” Friday-Sunday, May 6-May 8, and Friday-Sunday, May 13-15. Call 718-374-6400 for tickets. The RTC wishes to thank Peggy Page, Lori Bernstein, Naomi Seitz, Catherine Leib, John and Suzanne Riggs, Barbara and Tom Kelly, Tony Homsey, Nancy Cregan, Channel Cutters, Susan Hartenstein, Julie Stabiner, Susan Morley, Cynthia Peithman, Maria Said and the countless others who donated so generously to this cause. Those still wishing to make a contribution can send donations to RTC-Viva Vivino, P.O. Box 950398, Far Rockaway, NY 11695.

Once again Rockaway has shown itself to be a very special community and Rockaway Theatre Company members, whether onstage, behind the scenes, or sitting in the audience must be extremely proud of themselves. Perhaps the great Irving Berlin best summed it up over half a century ago when he said, “There’s no people like show people.” Our prayers for Peggy’s speedy recovery are with her and her family.

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