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WVPT comedy show fundraiser tonight at Cosmo


Laugh, so that Aslan may sing.

National comedian and WVU alum Andy Hendrickson will headline the second comedy night fundraiser for West Virginia Public Theatre at 7 p.m. today at Cosmo in Suncrest Towne Center.

To purchase tickets for the comedy night, go to eventbrite.com and search for WVPT. You can also find links to purchase on the West Virginia Public Theatre Facebook page.

One of WVPT’s upcoming productions is “Narnia,” a musical that will play Dec. 16-22. The show will feature a massive Aslan puppet designed and built in house and operated by a three-person team. WVPT Artistic Director Jerry McGonigle said the inclusion of this puppet is made possible by fundraising efforts like the one hosted today.

“We did a comedy night about a year ago, and it went really well,” McGonigle said. “We thought this could be an interesting way to show another face of WVPT. In that spirit, we’re giving it another shot. The idea is that we’re raising money to fulfill our mission and give the highest quality productions.”

Previously, WVPT has done two shows over the holiday season, “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Adding the “Narnia” show offers audiences, especially families with younger children, another opportunity to experience live theater.

“Just keeping the lights on and the doors open is still a challenge,” McGonigle said. “COVID meant that we lost all of our audience for almost two years, and people have been hesitant to come back. So all the more reason to keep it moving forward. And sometimes that’s just a matter of money.”

The comedy show allows people who may not be as familiar with live theater to engage with a live performance in a different way. McGonigle believes that since people have a better understanding of how a comedy show works, it can make everything more accessible to a wider audience, including young people.

“There is a younger generation that comes to a comedy night who haven’t seen the magic of theater yet, so we’re hoping to expand with our audience.”

The fundraiser will also allow WVPT to bring school kids in to see “Narnia.” Right now, the theater company expects nearly 5,000 students to attend the musical. It has hosted student matinees each year, and this year will almost hit capacity. McGonigle stressed that aspect of the mission of WVPT would not be possible without fundraising.

“That is such an important part of our mission because that is the audience of the future. Those are the artists of the future.”