Few of us have ever had our lives literally go up in smoke, but that’s what happened to local actor, director, and reviewer Jesse R. Gephart on Saturday, April 9th, when the 12-unit structure where he lived in the Pinnacle Apartments in North Raleigh burned completely to the ground (for details, click here). Jesse lost everything that he owned, including his two beloved — and irreplacable — cats, Black Kitty and White Kitty.
Ashley Popio created a GoFundMe page the very next day, and 416 people donated a total of $23,713 before the page closed. Ashley also encourages members of the Triangle theater community and the ticket-buying public to provide “moral support” for Jesse by buying tickets to “Master Harold” … and the boys, which Jesse directed and his company, Mortall Coile Theatre Company, is producing on April 21-24 at Sonorous Road Productions in Raleigh. (Click here and here to read our rave reviews of this show.)
Not to be outdone, Raleigh, NC-based Theatre in the Park has designated its the Thursday, April 21st, performance of its all-star production of The Elephant Man, directed by TIP founder and executive and artistic director Ira David Wood III and starring David Wood as Dr. Fredrick Treves, Ira David Wood IV as John Merrick, and Lynda Clark as Mrs. Kendal, as a benefit performance, with all proceeds going to Jesse Gephart. (Click here to read my rave review of this production).
Earlier this week, TIP wrote Triangle Review:
Jesse Gephart has been an active participant in the Raleigh theater community for many years. He has performed at several local theaters such as Raleigh Ensemble Players (REP), Raleigh Little Theatre, Theatre Raleigh, and Theatre in the Park, just to name a few. For his performance in Theatre in the Park’s production of Of Mice and Men, Jesse received an Indy Best of 2011: Best Lead Performance. In 2014, he received a Cantey Award from Raleigh Little Theatre for Best Actor for playing Otto the Official in the production of OPQRS, Etc.; and in 2016, The Triangle Independent & Community Theatre Awards nominated Jesse for best director for Hedwig and the Angry Itch [at RLT].
The cast and crew of Theatre in the Park’s critically acclaimed production of The Elephant Man announces a special benefit performance at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 21st. All proceeds will go to Jesse Gephart, in the hopes that he can begin to replace the many things he lost in the recent apartment fire.
This is your opportunity to come to the aid of a very deserving actor/director/friend and spend an evening seeing an incredible production. We do hope you’ll join us for this very special evening!
Reservations can be made by calling 919-831-6058 or clicking the following link that will take you to our website, where you can purchase tickets for this special event: Elephant Man benefit performance for Jesse Gephart.
Triangle Review hopes all of its readers will contribute generously to help one of our own rise up from the ashes. The Support Jesse Gephart GoFundMepage may be closed, but you can still support Jesse by buying a ticket for one of two current theatrical productions that are sure to top Triangle critics’ 10 best lists for 2016. We urge you to do so today.
Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail email@example.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)