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A Gathering Gathers Momentum at Rehearsal

Dancers from SMU perform tribute to Fela.
Dancers from SMU perform tribute to Fela.
Elaine Liner

If the run-through Monday night is any indication of the breadth of talent taking part in the December 6 benefit event called A Gathering, the real thing is going to be quite a show.

In the ninth floor studio at the Wyly Theatre, actors, singers, musicians and dancers rehearsed their pieces of this major collaborative effort involving a dozen arts organizations and more than 100 performers. Everyone is donating their time and talent for the event, which will split all of its proceeds among four local AIDS service organizations: AIDS Arms, AIDS Services of Dallas, AIDS Interfaith Network and Resource Center Dallas.

A Gathering: The Dallas Arts Community Reflects on 30 Years of AIDS, playing one night only at the Winspear Opera House, promises an evening of dance, drama, poetry and song commemorating milestones in the three-decade fight against the disease and the toll it has taken on the arts community. The Turtle Creek Chorale, which will perform in the show, has lost more than 180 members to AIDS and related illnesses.

Singers Damon K. Clark, Rachel Dupard, Denise Lee, Patty Breckenridge and Gary Floyd rehearse.
Singers Damon K. Clark, Rachel Dupard, Denise Lee, Patty Breckenridge and Gary Floyd rehearse.
Elaine Liner

Dallas Theater Center actors Abbey Siegworth, Lee Trull, Chamblee Ferguson, Sally Nystuen-Vahle, Steven Walters and Christina Vela will act short segments of the plays Jeffrey, The Normal Heart and Angels in America. Gary Floyd, who is co-music directing, will sing, along with local musical theater stars Denise Lee, Patty Breckenridge and Damon K. Clark.

In the rehearsal hall Monday evening, 16-year-old Booker T. student Rachel Dupard performed a breathtaking a cappella "We Shall Overcome." She'll join Lee, Breckenridge, opera singer John Holiday and the Chorale in what TITAS producer Charles Santos is calling a "diva sing off" of the tune "Lean on Me," which closes the first half of the evening.

Also on the bill: dancers from Booker T. and SMU, Bruce Wood Dance Project, CharlieUniformTango, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Opera, Dallas Wind Symphony and Texas Ballet Theater. Special speakers onstage will include Mayor Mike Rawlings, former mayor Laura Miller, news anchor Clarice Tinsley and Theatre Three founder Jac Alder.

The style of the final performance next week will be "deconstructed," says Santos, who adds that he wants the acts to flow easily from one to the next. "We want the audience to feel like they're in the studio."

A Gathering happens at 7 p.m., Tuesday, December 6, at the Winspear Opera House. Tickets range from $12 to $200 and can be purchased online at attpac.org. If you can't attend but want to support the cause with a contribution, call 214-978-2855.

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The Winspear Opera House

2403 Flora St.
Dallas, TX 75201-2415

214-880-0202

www.dallasopera.org


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