CAC renames biggest fundraiser to honor Eddie McPherson

Pictured is Eddie McPherson making closing comments after last year's play.

DeKalb County Children’s Advocacy Center Executive Director Elizabeth Wheatley has announced that the CAC’s annual Dinner Theatre Fundraiser has been renamed the Eddie McPherson Memorial Dinner Theatre in memory of Eddie McPherson, who died Nov. 17 at age 57.

The Lookout Mountain native wrote, directed, and acted in the plays for the CAC and contributed 25 years of his theatrical talents to the cause.

Last year’s play, “Happy Birthday, Mama,” was a tribute to McPherson’s mother. The plot of the humorous play took shape when McPherson learned of his mother’s dementia diagnosis.

In hindsight, “Happy Birthday, Mama,” was also performed as McPherson’s final curtain call with the CAC as Wheatley said his writing career had “taken off” and his talents were needed elsewhere.

Wheatley said McPherson and the CAC had made arrangements six months ago for a new playwright to take over.

“I hate to use an old cliché, but the show must go on,” Wheatley said.

A McPherson presence will still be felt in the play’s 26th year as McPherson’s sister-in-law is the director.

“This year’s play is called, ‘Deliver us from Mama,’ and the cast has already been set,” Wheatley said. “Amber McPherson will be directing the play. She was working here [at the CAC] when we first started doing the dinner theatre and she directed it for several years.”

Wheatley said two years ago, Eddie had taken a job at a performing arts school and wasn’t able to be in the play that year because the school’s big production was taking place at the same time as the CAC play. Wheatley said Amber was the director that year, so she is no stranger to the stage life.

The cast members with lead roles are Brian Baine, Margaret Wallace and Amanda Taylor.

Performers Dennis Benefield, Rhonda Blevins, Miranda Chambers, Ronnie Osborn, Tony Dobbs, Todd Simpson, Adam Blevins and Madison Morgan will be playing multiple characters.

Wheatley said renaming the event the Eddie McPherson Memorial Dinner Theatre is the CAC’s way of honoring McPherson and all of the work he put into the organization’s biggest fundraiser.

She said although the fundraiser has a new name, it will still benefit the CAC.

Performance dates are Feb. 6-8, 10, 13-15. Seating begins at 6:05 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30. The play, which will be at Fort Payne First United Methodist Church, will begin at 7:30 p.m. each night.

Front row tickets are $35 each, second row tickets are $30 each, and third and fourth row tickets are $25 each. Fort Payne First United Methodist Church is located at 206 Grand Ave. NW.

Call 256-997-9700, or go to 104 Alabama Ave. NW to order tickets.

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