If you've ever watched the FOX TV series Glee, you already know how life-affirming it can be for kids to take the stage and sing their hearts out. Lucky for Sarah, she gets to help them do it—day and night.
Since 2006, one of her favorite groups is Artists Unlimited, a theatre company that provides a creative outlet for people who have special needs and a dream to perform.
“Our cast members have such passion for performing, and so many special talents,” Sarah says.
Sarah, of Rochester, first heard about the organization because her brother attends School of the Holy Childhood—a school for students with developmental disabilities that many of the cast members attend.
Drawn to a group that would give her brother a chance to perform, she's been the vocal director for Artists Unlimited ever since.
In her time with the group, Sarah has helped produce High School Musical, The Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, Willy Wonka, and this year's production, Annie, which opens at 8 p.m. Nov. 4 at Theatre on the Ridge. Rehearsals are underway, as captured in a recent photo essay that appeared in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
Sarah expects a good crowd for this season's production, which marks the group's tenth anniversary. To date, the organization has sold 12,000 tickets to 60 performances.
“We sell hundreds of tickets to each show,” she says. “Because people come to see a quality performance.”
That success has attracted more potential performers than any single musical can include.
“We have more interested people than we can physically fit on our stage,” Sarah says.
So, to welcome as many budding performers as possible, Sarah and her colleagues launched Voices Unlimited in 2009. It gives more people a chance to participate.
“We meet in the off-season so people who are in the shows can participate in both,” she says.
Some kids practically burst with talent, like the cast of Glee. Or the title character in one of Sarah's favorite musicals, Billy Elliot.
But there's something to be said for bringing out the brilliance of undiscovered stars. Sarah sees them all around her.
That's what really lights up her nights.
“It’s such a gift to be able to help people work toward a great performance,” she says.
A gift to the performers, too.
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Artists Unlimited, Inc. presents Annie Nov. 4-6 and Nov. 10-12 at Kodak Theater on the Ridge, 200 West Ridge Rd., Rochester. Advance sale tickets are $11 and are available at select Wegmans That's T.H.E. Ticket locations. Check your local store. Tickets are $12 at the door. For details, call 585-219-5188 or email email@example.com.