Scott A. Cook



Senior audience watching a Christmas play.

Photo by Abel Gonzales

In December 2014, TheatreWorks Florida’s outreach program, TheatreCares, produced Winter Wonderettes and toured it to nursing homes and assisted living facilities free of charge as part of the NEA’s program, Arts Engagement in American Communities.

At Southern Gardens (Lake Alfred, Florida), the cast and crew became part of a true Christmas miracle we will never forget. A resident who had not responded nor spoken in six years suddenly came to life, clapping, singing, and actually speaking to the ladies on stage throughout the entire 90-minute show! The staff was tearful as they thanked us for the gift of music, love, and laughter that changed another person's life and represents all that TheatreCares is.

You can't see her face, but in the picture, she is the woman in red who is clapping with Betty Jean (Desiree Perez). This picture will forever stay within our hearts and be a reminder that TheatreCares and ALL theatrer has the power to change lives, make us better people, and bring love into places that may seem without hope.

When booking this venue, our company manager, Abel Gonzales, told me, "Of all the places we will be performing, THIS is the venue that needs us the most." Now we know why.

This SEPT 2015, TheatreCares, with the support of the NEA, returns to produce a tour of Schoolhouse Rock Live! for the underserved youth in our community and bring the arts to our children who may otherwise not have the opportunity to experience live theater.

There is NOTHING more powerful than to be doing what you love, not knowing it is about to change someone's life. Please continue to share this story everywhere.