Langley High School senior Daniel Jolles wanted to do something to help his summer drama teacher Patrick Gendusa, so when the opportunity arose to participate in the Cappies-hosted fund-raiser Katrina Aid, Jolles was more than happy to come up with an act. Gendusa, a resident of the French Quarter in New Orleans, was dislocated after his home was destroyed.
"He [Gendusa] has been living with his uncle and he said that the door to his house was wide open and that it had definitely been looted," said Jolles. "So he's really down right now and I'm just trying to help out."
Jolles had not originally planned on being a part of the show.
"We had another group doing it and then it just sort of happened. They pulled out and I said I would do it," said Jolles.
Jolles attended the Virginia Governor's School this past summer where he met Gendusa. The Governor's School is an intensive one-month program which rising juniors and seniors may apply for in order to participate in a focused study in their area of expertise. Jolles spent a month in the school's theater program, and Gendusa was his teacher.
ON SATURDAY, Sept. 24 at Hayfield Theater in Alexandria, the Cappies are hosting "A Night of Song and Comedy" in order to raise money for the Northern Virginia Community Foundation's "Fairfax Families Care" fund. All proceeds from the show will be used to benefit families who have recently arrived in Northern Virginia after having been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
"It started out with a gathering at my house and my wife Janie's house," said Cappies founder Bill Strauss. "We had an idea to try to do something for the families involved in the second stage relief effort... we decided in the beginning that we wanted to have the kids involved because Hollywood actors and Broadway actors do fund-raisers. So we invited each school to submit one act."
Both Langley and McLean High Schools have students participating in the fund-raiser. Daniel Jolles will be performing a monologue from "Cyrano de Bergerac." He chose the monologue because he was already working on it for his application to New York University. In addition, twelve students from McLean High School will be performing a song and dance excerpt from James Thurber's "Thurber Carnival."
McLean High School Theater director Denise Perrino said that when she proposed the Cappies project to her upper level drama class, "they immediately wanted to do it." So Perrino and her students chose the "Thurber Carnival" excerpt because it was one of the few things that would accommodate all twelve students.
"But it was a nice problem to have," said Perrino. "It's a great group of people and I am very excited."
She added that she found it particularly impressive that her students arranged the performance themselves as she had to fly to Atlanta for a theater conference during the weekend of rehearsals.
"They arranged it and went out without me," she said.
<lst>Admission is by donation of $10; larger donations are also welcome. Tickets can be ordered by calling 703-924-4759 or through the Cappies Web site, www.cappies.com. Donations are tax deductible, as gifts to the Northern Virginia Community Foundation, for Fairfax Families Care.