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Behind the Scenes on 42nd Street

Eleven “patron producers” from Vero Beach discover the hard facts about casting a Broadway fantasy.

Carol and Peter Coxhead were two of the 11 donors who attended the Riverside Theatre auditions in New York.

Carol and Peter Coxhead were two of the 11 donors who attended the Riverside Theatre auditions in New York.

Allen Cornell, Riverside Theatre’s producing artistic director, has long wanted to stage Broadway’s classic musical 42nd Street in Vero Beach, but how to finance the half-million-dollar extravaganza was always the big question.

Last October, Cornell got his answer when former board chairman Marty Gibson proposed the idea of Patron Producers. The plan was to persuade personal friends to each donate $10,000 to help defray the production costs. Long-time Riverside devotees Judy Schneebeck and Dhuanne Tansill were then enlisted to initiate the project, and in less than a month their enthusiastic petitioning had raised $180,000.

The reward for the patrons’ generosity was Cornell’s promise to get them into the New York casting studio where they could watch the auditions for 42nd Street. Auditions of this type are usually private performances with only the casting director and the producer present.

Read the entire article in the February 2010 issue