Sheridan College theatre producer, students help raise $41,000 for entertainers impacted by COVID-19
Places, Please, a 24-hour virtual telethon spearheaded by Sheridan College’s Michael Rubinoff, has raised more than $41,000 in support of members of the entertainment industry impacted by COVID-19.
Many of Canada’s top artistic directors, performers, writers and composers made appearances during the online fundraiser, which began Wednesday at 2 p.m. eastern and concluded Thursday. Notable guests included multiple Tony and Emmy award-winning actress Andrea Martin; David Hein and Irene Sankoff, writers of the Rubinoff-conceived international hit musical Come From Away; Louise Pitre; Canada’s first lady of musical theatre; veteran actor Thom Allison; Broadway stars Petrina Bromley and Astrid Van Wieren; and Canadian ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ star Trish Lindstrom.
The telethon was co-hosted by Rubinoff, the founder and Producing Artistic Director of Sheridan’s Canadian Music Theatre Project; Ashley Botting, an alumna of The Second City and a two-time Canadian Comedy Award winner; and Nick Green, an award-winning Toronto playwright.
The $41,028 raised by the telethon will go directly to the Actors Fund of Canada (AFC), which provides compassionate and confidential support to assist Canadian entertainment professionals when they are at their most vulnerable to maintain health, dignity and ability to work. The organization anticipates it will expend 70 per cent of its average yearly emergency financial aid budget on meeting requests for help that have come in just during the last nine days, due to show cancellations and theatre closures caused by COVID-19.
“It was incredible, and it brought our theatrical community together in a really beautiful way. I am just so appreciative of everyone who participated and selflessly shared their talents to support this wonderful cause,” said Rubinoff, who thought of the idea for a virtual telethon and involved nine students Sheridan’s Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance degree program in the organization and execution of the event. “We also could not have done it without the support from Sheridan. My students who were involved are the heroes on this. They were extraordinary.”
Music Theatre Performance degree students Izaha Cochran, Taylor Garwood, Taran Kim, Beth Monaghan, Kaitlyn Post, Matt Reid, Aaron Ryder, Danie Dixon and Oliver Moriarty each produced segments during the telethon. Sheridan Music Theatre Performance advanced diploma alumna Erika Santillana was the supervising producer; Moriarty and Mitch McAnally, Rubinoff’s assistant, were technical producers; and York University/Sheridan College Program in Design graduate Daniel Malen created logos and graphics.
“I am constantly amazed and inspired by the creativity, ingenuity and compassion displayed by our staff, students and alumni,” said Dr. Janet Morrison, Sheridan’s President and Vice-Chancellor. “This has also been a tremendously valuable learning experience for all involved, reinforcing the importance of agility, resilience and imagination — all values we strive to instill in the entire Sheridan community.”
Sheridan College’s Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance degree provides students with theoretical and practical training in the core disciplines of acting, singing and dance. Upon graduation, many students immediately find representation by major agents and/or contractual employment, often in major Toronto, West End and Broadway commercial resident productions or national musical tours.
Pictured top right (from top left, clockwise): Michael Rubinoff, founder and Producing Artistic Director of Sheridan’s Canadian Music Theatre Project; Nick Green, an award-winning Toronto playwright and Ashley Botting, an alumna of The Second City and a two-time Canadian Comedy Award winner.