Thursday evening, the Eddie McPherson Memorial Dinner Theatre began its run of an original play, “Deliver Us From Mama!” at Fort Payne First United Methodist Church.
The show continues with remaining performances planned for Feb. 8, 10, 13-15. Seating at performances begins at 6:05 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30. The play starts at 7:30 p.m. each night.
The annual fundraising event for the DeKalb County Children’s Advocacy Center was renamed last fall in memory of longtime playwright Eddie McPherson, who died Nov. 17 at age 57. Taking the reins as director is his sister-in-law Amber, who has experience directing 11 CAC plays and also rejoined the CAC team as the forensic interviewer last March.
The cast members with lead roles in the show are Brian Baine, Margaret Wallace and Amanda Taylor. Also in the cast playing multiple characters are Stephanie Fritz, Jeff White, Miranda Chambers, Ronnie Osborn, Tony Dobbs, Todd Simpson, Adam Blevins and Madison Morgan. The production staff includes David Walker, Kendall Shankles, Steve Cole, Nancy Elliot, Lynn Brewer, Lauren Everett, Leona Harwood and Lydia Randolph, with catering provided by Pat Vezertzis, Jr. of Western Sizzlin.
Representatives from the Fort Payne’s Kiwanis, Lions, Optimist, Rotary and Three Arts Club were on hand to present a $2,350 check to Executive Director of the CAC, Elizabeth Wheatley. They raised the money from last month’s Great Chili Challenge at Fort Payne High School. The five local, civic organizations come together annually for a night of friendly competition while raising money for a different cause each year.
“We are honored and deeply grateful for their thoughtfulness to choose us and their generosity to share the proceeds with us,” Wheatley said.
The funds from the chili cook-off will help accomplish some of those needs, including the replacement of water-damaged carpet, new flooring in the conference room and kitchen area, a new office and work on the interview room.
“We put all our efforts into serving abused and at risk children, so this was a special drive to take care of those needs that we have here in our building,” she said.
“We appreciate those involved realizing our need for that, and they are helping us out to accomplish those needs.”
Before Thursday’s performance, new CAC Board Member Amanda Baldwin addressed the crowd from the stage, telling the poignant story of a mother who turned to the CAC for help during a personal family crisis. Baldwin surprised the audience by revealing that she was the mother described in the story. She expressed her gratitude for the assistance CAC provided in her time of need.
The DeKalb County Children’s Advocacy Center operates a main office, The Gathering Place and the Thrifty Outfitters Store.
The organization provided 200 forensic interviews between October 2018 and September 2019. Staff provided 2,964 individual therapy sessions for 703 children, taught 302 parent education classes and served 230 children with 1,141 supervised visits. CAC began in 1993.
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.