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Raise the Roof: RPCT raising money with live stream showcase

LAPLACE — River Parish Community Theatre is establishing storage space and saving a historic building in the process.

The generous donation of the original RTC building in Reserve provided a home base for River Parish Community Theatre to store props and costumes between shows. RPCT representatives replaced old flooring, carpet and tiles, but one challenge still remains — the immense costs of replacing the leaky roof, totaling more than $70,000.

The community can help RPCT “Raise the Roof” by tuning into a live stream showcase fundraiser beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 22.

Talented local performers will host a night of entertainment through a live stream on Facebook and at www.riverparishtheatre.org. While the performances take place, the public is encouraged to make telethon-style donations. Phone lines are being set up, and a number will be announced closer to the start of the event. The public may also direct donations and pledges online using PayPal.

Prizes will be given for donations over $100.  The live stream will allow the public to see some of the acts originally performed in front of a limited audience at the 2019 Taste of Broadway fundraiser. It will also deliver new and exciting acts from local talent.

Sean Roussel, RPCT president, said this is a great way for community members to show appreciation if they enjoyed the summer productions in recent years. Since 2015, RPTC has produced The Addams Family, Shrek, Annie, Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins. These shows captured the heart of the public while providing a creative outlet for the talented performers of the River Parishes.

“We reached out to some corporations. We’re looking for some grants. We’re going to do a variety of things to get the money because this is such a valuable tool. It’s well worth the effort to raise the money and get that roof fixed,” Roussel said.

RPCT first acquired use of the historic RTC building through an agreement in 2019. The arrangement changed this summer when RTC offered to donate the site permanently, giving the group much-needed storage space.

“This was a wonderful gesture from RTC,” Roussel said. “We have no facility. We’re just an organization that performs at St. Peter, and we have to find places to try to keep various things like props, sets, equipment and costumes.”

Roussel added, “That’s a historic building in St. John Parish. It’s the original Reserve telephone headquarters in the middle of one of Reserve’s most quaint neighborhoods, and we want to make sure it’s a viable building. We won’t be in there conducting day-to-day business. It will be quiet, but it will be maintained. It’s really a win-win. We save a historic building in the parish, but we also find somewhere to locate our operations on a permanent basis.”

Jaret Treas and his wife have been lifelong members of the local theatre community. Their teenage daughter is also active in the arts and has starred in River Parish Community Theatre productions.

“The arts are definitely important for the local community. Due to the current situation in our state from COVID-19, we have restrictions on being able to get together. This event is going to allow people to experience entertainment from their homes. They don’t have to get out or get to a public environment to be able to enjoy it,” Treas said. “It’s also a way for us to be  able to showcase our talents. We have a lot of talented people in our local community, and it allows us to be able to provide an avenue so we can raise money. When we get back on stage and put productions together, we’ll be able to fund those events. It’s a win-win for everyone, and we’re hoping it will go smoothly and that we will get a lot of participation.”

River Parish Community Theatre will have the support of a new ad-hoc committee made up of state representative Randall Gaines, Parish President Jaclyn Hotard, Sheriff Mike Tregre, Assessor Lucien Gauff III and District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut.

The Live Stream Showcase is a return to the stage for RPCT performers who were not able to organize a summer production due to COVID-19. The Taste of Broadway fundraiser, originally scheduled for August, was also cancelled in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

For more information about the Aug. 22 showcase, please visit www.riverparishtheatre.org or like @riverparishct on Facebook.