Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Night with Rita Rudner and Jennifer Hudson

This past Tuesday, our local arts venue, the McCallum Theatre held their annual fund raising Gala event. Its an important event for our theatre to generate support and funding to kick off its season each year. Tickets included dinner at one of several local restaurants followed by a performance by comedienne Rita Rudner and Oscar-winning singer-actress Jennifer Hudson. Rita Rudner is a friend of our theatre; before she started her show in Las Vegas, Rita lived in the Palm Springs area, and was a former spokesperson for us. Rita was quite funny, she performed for over 45 minutes, and kept the crowd laughing heartily. She weaved in several local references, holiday stories along with some really funny jokes from her Vegas act. She is a class act, appropriate for any audience and a lot of fun, I'd recommend seeing her if you ever get to Las Vegas.
This was Miss Hudson's first public performance in our desert, although I had the privilege of hearing her perform at a private house party in Palm Springs a few years ago. Jennifer Hudson is still quite young, having gained initial notoriety from competing on American Idol a few years ago. She is hard at work building her career, recording several albums, and performing in films such as Dreamgirls and Sex in the City. Listening to Jennifer Hudson perform and hearing her speak its clear she is a very sweet young woman. Very personable and appreciative of her audience. After her first song, One Night Only, she greeted us by saying "I'm so happy to be here signing for y'all tonight". It was very genuine and down to earth.

Miss Hudson is still early in her career, developing a stage act of her own and finding her comfort zone. Yet she can clearly sing. She showed tremendous range and emotional depth with songs like “Invisible,” “I Love U I Do” and a commanding version of “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going.” Despite a tough economy, the evening was a success, raising over $900,000 that evening. In addition to running the theatre, the McCallum's Education department has now worked with 40,000 students to teach music programs and fostering an interest in the arts.

There have been countless studies about the positive impact music and the arts has on kids. We're lucky to have a generous community that supports our theatre and the education programs to ensure our children have a place to learn and appreciate the arts for generations to come.
-Rick Rockhill


WAT said...

I'd go see Rita Rudner. She is sarcastically dry, but funny I suppose. She still does Vegas right? I would think so.

Jeni said...

Oh my -Rita Rudner! I'd love to see her someday!
I agree too with you completely on the importance of supporting the Arts in one's community -and all over too, for that matter. So many folks don't see the ultimate value of drama, music, art, etc., but it is most certainly something of great importance in all our lives whether some folks care to recognize it as such or not.
Peace, Merry Christmas and of course, God Jul!


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