MANecdotes: Stories About Fatherhood Show Aims To Raise Funds For Family Service Agency

By On June 17, 2020

Although the show has graced The Colony Theatre stage in the past, this year, MANecdotes – Tales from the Trenches about Fathers and Fatherhood moves to an online format, while still raising funds for Burbank’s Family Service Agency. The show will go live on Sunday, June 21, at 5:00 p.m.

Storytellers include Rick Hall, Ty Fance, Lisa Gopman, John Crane, Wendy Hammers, Dan Freedman, Barry Segal and Eric Conner.

As JAM Creative producer/director Suzanne Weerts says, “Only ONE $20 ‘seat’ per household needed! And there are also opportunities for people to give a little more to support FSA and receive GUEST PRODUCER credit – as long as they make their donation by June 18th!”

“The stories range from finding out that a military veteran father was also a Golden Glove Boxer, to the story of a dad whose persistence scored a pretty exceptional financial aid package from USC,” explained the show’s producer/director Suzanne Weerts.”One storyteller shares his once-in-a-lifetime father, son and grandson trip to Fenway Park while other tales are about dads trying to do right by their kids, but leading to embarrassing situations.”

The 2020 “MANecdotes” show will run online Sunday, June 21, and raise funds for Family Service Agency. (Image Courtesy Suzanne Weerts)

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of Family Service Agency’s annual April CareWalk, the FSA faces struggles in funding its ongoing services that provide mental health care for the Burbank community and support for victims of domestic violence.

Burbanker and New York Film Academy writing teacher/ Burbank Cultural Arts Commissioner, Eric Conner, with his father. (Photo Courtesy Eric Conner)

“Our younger son has benefited greatly from Burbank Family Service Agency’s services, both at Roosevelt Elementary and at their location,” commented Conner, who also serves as Burbank Cultural Arts Commissioner. “It’s one of the real gifts of living in Burbank and I’m excited that our performance will help raise money for this organization.”

“Sharing a story in a community of storytellers, makes the world a sweeter, smaller place and I believe we all need that right now,” said Hammers. “Excited to be part of this wonderful production.”

“Suzanne’s storytelling shows are always high-quality and well-produced,” commented Fance, who marks his third show for JAM Creative. “She clearly cares about the art of storytelling and the audiences are always appreciative. The fact that the show’s proceeds support Family Service Agency is a fantastic bonus.”

“I love how stories connect us and make us feel less alone in the world when we share the challenges and foibles of the human experience,” commented Weerts. “Lately, due to the pandemic, I’ve been feeling disconnected from friends and from the constant buzz of our usually robust community. I imagine a lot of people feel similarly and I hope our show is a little over an hour of welcome escape.”

Weerts hopes MANecdotes will encourage people to listen more and ask questions, to communicate more with friends and family they may not be seeing as much during this time of pandemic.

“My father and I are talking more frequently because he lives alone, across the country,” she said. “One day recently he mentioned that his days feel so meaningless, so I asked him to reflect on the top five accomplishments in his life. We talked for over an hour as he reflected on his life and shared some stories I’d never heard.”

JAM Creative and MANecdotes director Suzanne Weerts with her father, Bill Lowe. (Photo Courtesy Suzanne Weerts)

“This is the second MANecdotes show we’ve hosted and the first one we’ve done virtually,” Weerts also said. “I am grateful to local Realtor, Alisa Cunningham, for coming on board as a sponsor with our on-line format and to GatheringUs and Burbankian Lauren Zalansky Conner for helping with the production.”

“Viewers are invited to sit down with their dads in their hearts or in the room with them, or to get a seat with your father, share the link and watch together even if you’re far away! Those whose fathers are no longer with us are invited to consider their own stories, either funny or tender, and think about what they would want to share.”

John Burroughs High School Class of 2020 graduates Yoni Fogelman and Nic Skrabak have contributed the music for the show.

“Family Service Agency is so important in our community and makes a difference in countless people’s lives every year, from the students in our schools, to veterans and homeless individuals to supporting survivors of domestic violence,” Weerts added, noting her storytelling shows have raised over $20,000 for local non-profits over the past four years.

“The pandemic has forced the staff there to redefine their approach to mental health services and, because the need is so great, they are doing more with less. I am so hopeful that this show will give our community the chance to come together, be entertained AND help support a very worthy cause.”

More information on Burbank’s Family Service Agency can be found online here: https://familyserviceagencyofburbank.org/.

Tickets are available here at JAM Creative Group’s website: https://jamcreativegroup.com/index.html. Everyone who buys a ticket will be sent the link for the show on Father’s Day, June 21.

For those who aren’t able to watch the show as it airs at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, JAM Creative encourages people to still buy a ticket. All ticket holders will receive a link after June 21 to watch the show at viewers’ leisure.