03/10/13 — Plans firmed for play, benefit for homeless animals

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Plans firmed for play, benefit for homeless animals

By Steve Herring
Published in News on March 10, 2013 1:50 AM

Charles doesn't like animals, and he is certainly not happy with the fact that he has to take his little sister, Lacie, to a parade celebrating them.

What Charles didn't count on was that a journey through Wonderland with Lacie, or that while trying to get home, he would gain an appreciation and love for the animals after they save their lives.

That is the premise of the family-oriented musical play, "Animals of Wonderland," to be presented March 30 at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Goldsboro.

All proceeds from the play, presented by the Heritage Dance Foundation, will benefit the Wayne County Humane Society and the Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center.

The matinee will be at 2 p.m. and the evening performance at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children. During the matinee only, an adult who purchases a $25 ticket will be entitled to a free child's ticket.

The play, written by Dr. Charles Zwerling, founder of Heritage Dance Foundation, includes subplots involving Lacie being mistaken for Alice, and it is up to the audience to figure out if is she or isn't. For the adults, there are numerous political satire references.

Characters will be in animal costumes and children in the audience are encouraged to wear animal costumes or their Easter outfits if they choose. Photo opportunities with play characters will be available so parents are encouraged to bring their own cameras.

A "Morning Wonderland" will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Center Street Jam area downtown. Featured will be free arts and crafts, face painting for children, free horse-drawn trolley rides, unique animal products, dog demonstrations, pet professionals to answer questions, local shelter and rescue groups, food venders, photos with bunnies for Easter, animal costume contest, a place to make food donations for the Humane Society and more.

"The animal shelter, we want to help them fund some spaying and neutering because that is a huge expense," said Dr. Debbie Grady, one of the event organizers. "Also, we are looking at having some areas, I guess you could call them runs, where we can fence in and concrete where the animals can be let out a little bit during the day to play. Right now they have to be taken out by a staff member with a leash. The manpower required would be phenomenal to take dogs in and out all day."

Funds raised will also assist twith the Wayne County Humane Society's spaying and neutering program, she said.

"We have a huge need here for spaying and neutering," Mrs. Grady said. "I was blown away by the number of animals that come through the center. That is another reason we are doing this event, not just to fund these projects, but to also educate and help people understand the problem that exists with this many animals euthanized. It is sad."

People will be able to adopt animals during the event.

"I will have adoption information, responsible pet ownership stuff," said Vickie Falconer, Wayne County animal control director. "I probably will have some animals down there to do an actual adoption event. I will have all of the paperwork for them to do an adoption. They will go out with their microchip and rabies (vaccination).

"I usually discount the price of an adoption because it is an event. So it will probably drop down to $25 instead of $50. I haven't set it, but that is usually how it goes."

A smaller booth will be inside the theater during the production for people who need information, she said. There also will be a jar for donations including items like pet toys, dog and cat food.

The day will be for adoptions only.

"I am not taking animals (in)," Mrs. Falconer said. "Any time I do an event, people want to bring me animals, but I am not taking any in."

Tickets may be purchased online at www.goldsboroparamount.com or in person at the Paramount Theatre and are tax deductible.

For more information, including vendor forms, contact Mrs. Grady at debbiegrady@att.net or 919-222-8320. Also, ads are being sold for the program for the play. Ads in memory of deceased pets will be accepted. People may contact Mrs. Grady to purchase an ad.

In case of inclement weather, the morning events will be held in the Zwerling Performing Arts Center in the old Acme Theatre.