Baldwinsville, N.Y. (NCC News)- Jonathan Gorst is back directing music after some time off. The director of the national touring Broadway show “CATS” says the pandemic has put a halt to most musical arts, but they’re back on the road trying to help any way possible.
“We were the first national tour to begin from scratch, actually rehearsing a show and putting it out on the road after the pandemic,” Gorst said. “We try to bring back the arts in general.”
Like other industries during the pandemic, music and the arts were lost. Now, this national show is spreading awareness by playing shows all across the country that fundraise money for the arts in that specific local community. The cast sings their favorite songs from the “CATS” musical as well as other Broadway shows.
This past week, their show was in Baldwinsville at the Mohegan Manor’s historic ball room. Owner of the Mohegan Manor Dennis Sick says that he has ran fundraiser events like this in the past and that he hopes this show will make other touring shows come support the Central New York area
“I’ve always been a supporter of the arts,” Sick said. “I’d love to see more emphasis on more theatre, more off off Broadway theatres in uh Central New York.”
All the proceeds went toward CNY Jazz Central. CNY Jazz Central is an organization that allows local musicians of any skill set to use their resources and stage in downtown Syracuse to help boost their aspiring careers. Executive Director of CNY Jazz Central Larry Luttinger says that everyone in big shows start local and that the organization needed this so that the next generation of talent can get their equal opportunity as well.
“If it weren’t for the local arts, there would be no arts at the national level,” Luttinger said. “Inflation being what it is, our annual overhead, our day-to-day costs for just existing in our building are skyrocketing. So, this is coming along at a very important, a very crucial time for our organization.”
All of the donations, ticket sales, raffle tickets and other fundraising options went toward their operation costs, planning of future events and expanding the resources that need to be upgraded.
Speaking of local talent, one of the “CATS” members started his career in Syracuse. Westhill High School graduate Dominic Fortunato says being able to help out the community that got him to where he is today was humbling and it brought him full circle.
“To book this job and be back to working, performing, traveling across the country, and to bring it all back is really incredible,” Fortunato said.
Although this was a one night event, it sets the stage form many other musical theatre events that may come through the area. Musical theatre isn’t for everyone but it’s an experience that is just like any other get away from everyday life. Taking a chance and coming to an event like this could open your eyes to exploring the musical and arts world while supporting this sector of life without even knowing it.