Fun for Funds takes animated turn

Rico Vasquez

Your favorite songs, dance numbers, and scenes from popular, classic animated films will come to life on stage June 12-14 as Orange Community Players (OCP) presents its 10th annual Fun for Funds: An Animated Musical Review. Audience members can expect to see nearly 30 songs performed from Shrek, The Prince of Egypt, The Lion King, Lady and the Tramp, Beauty and the Beast and more.

Tickets are $25 a seat, with the show starting at 7:37 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Hors d’oeuvres will be served before the show at 7 p.m. and dessert will be served at intermission. Wine will also be available. Food and drinks are included in the ticket price. Rico Vasquez, the show’s director and member of the OCP Board of Directors, said fundraisers for the past nine years have included a myriad of popular show tunes and Broadway themes, but with the departure of long-time director Brook Doss, OCP needed to take the show in a different direction.

“Brook was really good at what she did,” Vasquez said. “She was a really awesome director. It isn’t fair for us to hold ourselves to her standards. We decided we were going to open it up and change the theme.”

Vasquez said he and co-director Paul Burch felt like an animated theme that included many songs and scenes from Disney movies, among other animated favorites, fit the bill.

“Disney has got a ton of Broadway shows, so it’s a smooth transition,” he said. “Everyone loves Disney. It fit so well.”

“Bella Notte” and the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp will be performed by OCP at the Animated Review, Vasquez said, as well as other favorites everyone is sure to recognize.

“We can’t replicate the characters, but we’re going to try to emulate the feel of those scenes,” he said. “It’s one of the more fun shows I’ve seen just because of all the energy that is brought by the kids.”

Vasquez said the show, which includes more than 35 actors — mostly child and teen performers — will revolve around “The Circle of Life” theme from Disney’s The Lion King and will include a performance of the Academy award-winning song. “Hakuna Matata” will also most likely be heard, he said. The theme will seek to both honor past OCP contributors as well as celebrate new performers and directors.

“We really thought about ‘Circle of Life’ and how it could be applied to this theater,” Vasquez said. “The theater has its own circle of life. It has been run for (nearly a century) and there have been a lot of people that have come before us. Some people have passed away, and some people have moved on. Without those people this theater wouldn’t be here. We’re really thinking of this as a new beginning.”

The same concept could be applied to the fundraiser, he said.

“Brook built up this fantastic thing, and while we’re starting over, we’re using what she built up,” said Vasquez, who began performing for OCP at age 11 as a centipede in James and the Giant Peach.

Fundraisers like Fun for Funds will keep Orange Community Players’ “circle of life” going and will allow them to continue to present great theater to Southeast Texans for years to come.

“Every penny we make is for keeping this place together,” Vasquez said. “It’s to keep the lights on. To keep the termites out. It’s maintenance and quality of life for our actors. These are not paid actors. These people are here because they are doing something that they love.”

Vasquez said that the actors’ love for theater is what makes OCP performances so special.

“When you feel that the people who are doing it love it, then you are going to love and enjoy it as well,” he said. I will always come back and will always love it. This place is like family.”

Orange Community Players is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Donations are tax deductible.

Reservations for Fun for Funds are necessary and can be made by calling (409) 882-9137 or visiting Tickets can be paid for at the door or online, but OCP does not accept credit cards at the door.