Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Good Cause for a Great Person

The Woodshed Bar and a new, local band, VIVIAN'S WAY, are coming together this weekend for a common goal: raising money for a good cause and a great person.

Sam Wessels, twenty-two years old, was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Being positive and strong-minded, however, he's determined to beat it and he's already making a smooth recovery. Sam is a senior in the Actor Training Program at the University of Utah and through his parts in the ATP's plays he has touched many students, teachers and members of the community. Sam is so dedicated, he's been able to retain an academic scholarship since he entered the "U." Friend Shanna Jones says, “Sam is extremely passionate about the arts and learning; he is not only witty, but has always been immensely generous to all those around him.”

On top of being an actor, Sam is a playwright. He currently has three new musicals, one of which, Notes On A Sunday, will be performed at the "U" this March. Sam plans on moving to New York and is resolved to become a composer for musical theatre. His family and friends are doing everything they can to ensure that Sam gets well quickly and can fulfill that dream.

In a dialogue with Benny Raskin, owner of The Woodshed, Shanna Jones, (lead singer for VIVIAN'S WAY) and Marcine Lake-Bennett (manager for VIVIAN'S WAY), had the idea for a fundraiser. Marcine, having had ovarian cancer, understands how daunting the medical bills can become. Benny generously offered to provide a space and all the proceeds from the door. And VIVIAN'S WAY as well was eager to jump on board, offering their live-music talent for the night. Local Plan-B Theatre Company playwright Matthew Ivan Bennett will also be performing stand-up.

VIVIAN'S WAY is a vocally-driven band with three lead singers. The band's core has all been involved with professional theater, so the band has an enjoyable theatrical element—you can’t help but be sucked into their performance. Shanna Jones is the former lead singer of TOKEN BETTY and Daniel Simons and Ginger Bess, the other two in the trio of VIVIAN'S WAY vocal talent, were both in the local band scene in North California. The members of VIVIAN'S WAY came together with an instant chemistry.

The Sam Wessels Fundraiser, at The Woodshed Bar, will take place on Friday, January 25th, 2008 at 10:00pm. There is a $10 cover and all proceeds go to Sam Wessels.

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